The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a heart-healthy eating plan that has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the DASH diet is a comprehensive approach to healthy eating that is based on eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods in moderation. In this article, we will explore what the DASH diet is and what foods are suggested as part of this eating plan.
What is the DASH Diet?
The DASH diet is a balanced eating plan that is low in salt, added sugars, and unhealthy fats, and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. It was developed to help people with high blood pressure, but the eating plan can also help to lower the risk of other chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The DASH diet is not a weight-loss diet, but rather a way of eating that emphasizes the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods. The diet provides 2,000 calories per day, with the exact amount of daily servings of each food group based on an individual’s calorie needs.
Foods Suggested on the DASH Diet
The DASH diet encourages the consumption of a variety of nutrient-rich foods that are low in salt and unhealthy fats. Here are some of the foods that are suggested as part of the DASH diet:
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of the DASH diet, as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The DASH diet recommends eating at least 4-5 servings of fruit and 4-5 servings of vegetables each day. Some examples of fruits and vegetables that are suggested on the DASH diet include:
- Berries (such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
- Citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruits)
- Melons (such as watermelon and cantaloupe)
- Leafy greens (such as spinach and kale)
- Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower)
Whole grains are an important part of the DASH diet, as they are rich in fiber and provide slow-release energy throughout the day. The DASH diet recommends eating at least 6-8 servings of whole grains each day. Some examples of whole grains that are suggested on the DASH diet include:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole grain pasta
Lean proteins are an important part of the DASH diet, as they provide essential nutrients and help to maintain muscle mass. The DASH diet recommends eating at least 2 servings of lean protein each day. Some examples of lean proteins that are suggested on the DASH diet include:
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Fish (such as salmon and tuna)
- Beans (such as black beans and lentils)
Low-Fat Dairy Products
Low-fat dairy products are an important part of the DASH diet, as they are rich in calcium and other essential nutrients. The DASH diet recommends eating at least 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products each day. Some examples of low-fat dairy products that are suggested on the DASH diet include:
- Skim milk
- Low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat cheese
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