The DASH diet: Is it right for you?
When it comes to lowering the risks of high blood pressure or developing heart disease, following a heart-healthy diet is one of the key components.
One such diet is called the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — but don’t worry — it’s not as complicated as it sounds!
The theory behind the DASH diet is to focus on eating plenty healthy, natural foods and to cut out all the processed and sugar-filled foods that we tend to overindulge in. The DASH diet recognizes fruits and whole grains as good food, while cookies and canned fruit in syrup are not.
Sticking with whole and natural foods will not just help you lose weight, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Foods in their natural state are full of vitamins and minerals that enhance your well-being and health in a variety of ways. To keep blood pressure in a healthy range, getting enough potassium, calcium, fiber and protein in proper amounts is crucial, and getting them from a food source is always preferable to supplements.
The nice thing about the DASH diet guidelines is that you don’t have to pay too much attention to how much of each nutrient you’re getting, as long as you stick with the overall guidelines of clean and varied eating.
Some nutrient-dense foods that you can incorporate through following the DASH diet guidelines include lean proteins like eggs and chicken; healthy fats like olive oil, almonds and avocados; unprocessed grains like oatmeal and brown rice, and all your favorite fruits and vegetables like broccoli, kale, green beans, bananas, peaches, watermelon and grapefruit.
Studies suggest the DASH diet can be an effective strategy to lower blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. Lowering blood pressure into a safe range lessens the chance of experiencing heart disease, stroke, or even heart failure.
A heart-healthy diet can lower the blood pressure by increasing the amount of “good” cholesterol (HDL) in the blood, at the same time that it reduces that amount of “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Heart disease is a widespread problem — which is why there is so much attention placed on it. But with education and healthy habits it is quite easy to improve you cardiovascular health.
Transitioning into a DASH diet plan can be simple or a little more complicated depending on your current eating habits, but the results can be seen rather quickly. Eating more protein, healthy fats, and fiber is going to keep you feeling full longer which can reduce the amount of snacking you do between meals.
When you eat sugar-laden food, you get hooked on the energy bump it can provide, but the subsequent ” sugar crash” makes you crave more to keep your energy in normal ranges. Cutting your sugar intake alone will help improve your overall health as well as potentially shrink your waistline.
No matter what diet you choose, eating whole, fresh foods is a must. Your body with thank you for it.
If you are interested in learning more about the DASH Diet there are a variety of books available on Amazon.