DASH Diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is not like any other fad diets in the market. Instead, it is a dietary approach designed specifically for the people suffering from hypertension. However, as it is a low-calorie diet plan, it is being used by that seeking weight loss who found it as successful on that. It is for the reason that the diet is recommended to weight conscious for sake of losing weight. The Dash diet was originated to help the people lower their blood pressure. Moreover, this diet is beneficial for the people who are susceptible to the condition of high blood pressure.

How does the DASH diet work?

The main emphasis of the DASH diet is on reducing the intake of sodium that is common salt. Dieters are advised about taking two levels of sodium – 2400mg down to 1500mg. Although basic DASH diet plan recommends eating a diet of 2000 calories in a day, it also recommends other plans of 1600 calorie and 3100 calories a day too. This is a balanced diet plan which is but low in salt as well as saturated fat. It limits cholesterol and intake of total fat.

It is known that excessive intake of salt induces higher levels of blood pressure. Some of the food types carry salt in the natural form and during food preparation some more salt will be added. The DASH Diet works towards reducing the total intake of salt to a certain limit. It has proven diet to reduce the blood pressure pretty quickly; as 2 weeks time; however the DASH diet works best in those people with moderately high BP where medication isn’t called for. But in those with severe hypertension the diet enhances the drug response.

Foods to eat or not to eat in the DASH diet

The main emphasis of the DASH diet is to cut on the salt and fat intake. This diet has 3 plans 1600 to 3000 calories and the 2000 calories one. The foods include fruits, vegetables, low-fat and/or fat-skimmed milk and other dairy products, lean meats, whole grains, nuts, fish and poultry. The food types included in this diet are rich in protein, fiber and minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium.

There are certain food types which are avoided during this diet plan. These include high-calorie sweets, added sugars, sugar-containing beveragesa and red meats.

Pros and cons of the DASH Diet

As compared to other diet plans, DASH diet is appreciated by even physicians as quite a healthy diet. It involves taking foods which are rich in various nutrients useful for the body and avoiding those that do harm to the body. The fruits, vegetables and whole grains recommended in this diet contain vitamins, minerals and certain other health elements like beta-carotene, lycopene and isoflavones. Eating this diet, you can protect your body from certain health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, stroke and osteoporosis. This diet results in overall health of the body. This diet results in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol level which reduces the risk of heart disease.

This diet plan is supported by clinical studies which showed positive results. Following the DASH diet is also quite inexpensive and easy. You are just required to pay frequent visits to your supermarket for grocery supplies.

Furthermore the DASH diet is recommended by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and The American Heart Association.

The diet is also included in the 2005 dietary guidelines for Americans as well as the US guidelines for treating hypertension. Follow of the DASH diet with regular exercise can reduce insulin resistance.

Although there are no negative side effects of following the DASH diet, you need to consider your health condition before taking up with this diet. As high potassium content included in this diet people with kidney disorders are warming against following this. It also involves high intake of dairy products so this is not for people with lactose intolerance.

Dash diet expectations and tips

With the help of the DASH diet, you can expect to lower your blood pressure by a few points in just one or two weeks. Additionally, consuming the DASH diet for a long time can reduce the risk for stroke and heart disease. However, you should not stop taking your medicines prescribed for lowering the hypertension. You need to talk to your doctor first in this regard.

While purchasing foods, keep an eye on the salt content of them, read the labels. It is advisable to support this diet plan with moderate exercise for at least five days a week.