The DASH diet is a diet that I, and many of my colleagues, recommend to patients. The DASH Diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and it can be a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle when combined with physical activity, limiting salt intake, minimizing alcohol use, quitting smoking and keeping a healthy weight, etc.
With so many diets and eating plans on the market, it can be difficult choose which one is right for you.
One of the wonderful aspects of the DASH Diet is its potential health benefits. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded trials that found that the DASH diet can help lower high blood pressure and lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol. This is very important since high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be risk factors for heart disease.
The DASH diet requires no specific foods and promotes the following guidelines for meal choices:
- Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils.
- Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils.
- Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.