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Pharmapassport / diets  / DASH Diet: The Basics of a Diet Plan

DASH Diet: The Basics of a Diet Plan


The word diet inscribed on a measuring tape wrapped around a healthy smoothie

DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. Since that’s such a mouth full, DASH works just fine for me.

The DASH Diet Guidelines Explained

H stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. Since that’s such a mouth full, DASH works just fine for me.
Here’s what the DASH diet recommends for daily intake:
• 2 to 3 servings a day of low-fat dairy. This could be a cup of milk or low-fat yogurt.
• 6 to 8 servings of whole-grains. A serving counts as a slice of bread, an ounce of dry cereal, or a half-cup of cooked rice or pasta or cereal.
• 4 to 6 servings of lean meat, poultry, or fish. That means one ounce of cooked lean meat, or one egg.
• 4 to 5 servings of fruits. This is an apple, an orange, a quarter-cup of dried fruit, a half-cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, or a half-cup of fruit juice.
• 4 to 5 servings of vegetables. Look for a cup of raw, leafy vegetables, or a half-cup of cut-up raw or cooked vegetables.
On top of these daily recommendations, the DASH diet also includes 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, or legumes a week. That could be one-third of a cup of nuts or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
Lastly, people on the DASH diet should only have 2,300 mg of salt in a day, and just 5 tablespoons of added sugar a week.
Does this diet work? After 8 weeks of being on the DASH diet, experiment participants had their blood pressure measured. By-and-large, their blood pressure was significantly lower. For just 8 weeks of being on the diet, that’s a big deal.
DASH Diet Guidelines Made Easy
Such a structured approach to food and eating isn’t for everyone. Instead, here’s a quick way to think about the DASH diet.
• First, think of your dinner plate as divided into quarters.
• Non-starchy vegetables should make up a bit more than a quarter of your plate. When taking veggies for dinner, take a good amount.
• Grains should also be a little more than a quarter. This could be pasta, for example.
• Fruits should take up just under a quarter of the space. An apple would do nicely.
• Meat and protein should take up the last less-than-a-quarter of room. That means don’t always go for the ‘big piece of chicken.’
• A bit of dairy can be added with pasta sauce, a side of yogurt, or a glass of milk.
It’s safe to start out with rough guides like this when you want to ease yourself into eating better, slowly.
Why Follow DASH Diet Guidelines or Mediterranean Diet Guidelines?
Obesity and diabetes are growing concerns in the United States. Not only is it costing people health, but money as well. A big portion of funding goes to trying to control these preventable health issues.
When it comes down to it, health care can start on your plate.
Just eating more fruits and vegetables can help your body get more nutrients and feel fuller, faster, for longer. The fiber in fruits and vegetables help with that. With fruits, you also reap the benefit of a sweet taste.
Much of obesity and diabetes can be helped by just limiting access to refined sugars and processed foods. It’s easy to pick up pop, chips, and deep-fried foods; and cheap, as well. In the long run, the health costs just aren’t worth it.

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