The DASH Diet is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet has become quite popular over the years and has been developed specifically to help individuals control hypertension. Hypertension is a major disease in the United States and around the world and one of the primary causes of heart disease. The DASH Diet was not only developed to control hypertension, but has received the recommendations of several health institutes including the NIH (National Institute of Health).
Major Goals of the DASH Diet
One of the major goals of the DASH Diet includes the lowering of sodium in one’s daily diet. Since sodium has been shown to increase hypertension, by limiting one’s sodium intake each day to less than 3,000 mg and optimally less than 2,000 mg, one can help control their hypertension.
In addition to a low sodium diet, it is recommended that the foods one eats are not processed. Processed foods are not only generally high in salt and preservatives, but also high in fat. Choose healthy foods such as nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and of course lots of fruits and vegetables. Stay away from foods with high fat and cholesterol- specifically red meat. Other foods that should be avoided include sweets and dairy products that are high in fat and cholesterol.
Benefits of the DASH Diet
Generally speaking, those that followed the DASH Diet did see a substantial drop in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Other benefits included losing weight and the general increase in energy due to healthier eating habits.
Studies have been conducted on the benefits of the DASH Diet and the results are available by accessing the NIH website. As always consult with your physician first before starting any diet program.