What is the DASH diet? Well it literally stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet is a low salt/sodium diet designed for those people who have high blood pressure, as a natural way to lower it. It has since been proven as an effective way to lower blood pressure as well as cholesterol, heart disease, stroke incidence, diabetes, kidney disease and to assist in weight loss. The main reason people are raving about this eating plan is that it provides you with an easy-to-follow-plan that relies on mainly fruits, vegetables and proteins, all fresh and wholesome foods. It is ideal for the entire family (adjusting the portions appropriately for those individuals who are wanting to lose weight). So as well as being low in sodium, which is a huge factor to lowering blood pressure, this diet is high in fibre, low in fat and rich in important minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
The main point of this diet is the sodium or salt content. Almost 30% of Australian adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and changing their dietary habits can help to lower their blood pressure. Although many Australians have stopped adding excess salt to their meals, they are still over-consuming processed foods, packaged foods and restaurant foods, all containing a high salt content. The current recommendation for daily sodium consumption for a healthy individual with no health concerns is 2300mg/day. Those with hypertension or other heart-related health problems should be aiming for a figure of 1500mg/day. The only way to achieve these values in your everyday eating is to consume fresh, wholesome foods in your diet. The less processed the better and this is what the DASH diet is based on.
The DASH diet action plan is a comprehensive book you can purchase which contains all the info and recipes for a 28 day meal plan, with varying calorie levels to cater for different people. It also provides you with information about how to eat out, how to read food labels, making good food choices and staying on track with your goals. The key feature of the book is being able to provide for you a high fibre, low calorie, well balanced meal of appropriate portions to help you achieve successful weight loss and lowering blood pressure levels. On a 2000 calorie diet you should be aiming to consume 7-8 serves of grains, 4-5 serves of fruits, 4-5 serves of vegetables, 2-3 serves of low-fat dairy, 2 serves of lean meat/poultry/fish, 4-5 serves weekly of nuts/seeds/legumes and very minimal fats or sweets.
Alongside with these amazing results this diet has achieved for high blood pressure patients, it has also shown to assist in weight loss. If you have any weight concerns or have high blood pressure please talk to your Doctor and look at adopting an easy and healthy approach to your eating.