DASH Diet

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. With its success of lowering blood pressure without the use of medications, the DASH diet gained popularity and has gone through a few improvements and variations, as well. 

Like the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet is not a fad diet, but more of a lifelong approach to healthy eating. Along with the benefit of lowering blood pressure, the DASH diet is good for lowering cholesterol and for making it easier for people to lose weight.

Additional benefits to the diet include supporting overall heart health and reducing inflammation. The benefits come from a key component of the diet, which is ensuring key nutrients are included. 

In the case of lowering blood pressure, this is done with the DASH diet because of the inclusion of the nutrients potassium, calcium and magnesium from dietary sources.  


Types of Foods & Suggested Servings

Generally, the DASH diet is rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dairy. It also allows for grains (mostly whole grain products), lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts and beans. 

In a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, the recommended servings of these foods are: 

Grains: 6-8 servings a day

Vegetables: 4-5 servings a day

Fruits: 4-5 servings a day

Dairy: 2-3 servings a day

Lean meat/poultry/fish: 6 servings or less each day

Nuts, seeds & legumes: 4-5 servings a week

Fats and Oils: 2-3 servings a day

Sweets: 5 or less servings each week.


The goal of this diet is to be high in fiber and low to moderate in fat. 

Another key component of this diet is that if follows US guidelines for sodium content, along with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. In the standard DASH diet, you can consume up to 2,300mg of sodium a day.

There are a few different versions of the DASH diet, like the weight-loss version that is lower in calories or the lower sodium version where you can only consume 1,500mg a day.

All in all, it is a flexible eating plan, and some have even nicknamed it the Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet. 


Sources: 

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash

http://dashdiet.org/what_is_the_dash_diet.asp

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456

 

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Dr. Robert Sheeler

About Dr. Robert Sheeler

Robert Sheeler, M.D. is Board Certified in Family Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Holistic Medicine and Urgent Care. He is certified in Functional Medicine by the Institute for Functional Medicine and as a Headache Specialist through the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialists.

His special interests include food and nutrition, Functional Medicine, headache care and Integrative Medicine. In addition, Dr. Sheeler is a certified teacher of Evidence Based T’ai Chi and Qi Gong and has studied numerous mind-body disciplines.