The DASH Diet is a healthy eating plan designed to help lower blood pressure without taking medication. DASH is an acronym “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” It has been proven to lower cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and be an effective way to lose weight, thanks to the healthier lifestyle it promotes. Research on the DASH plan was sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and numerous studies have revealed that DASH can reduce the risk of several diseases, including certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, heart failure, stroke, and kidney stones. As a result of its many health benefits, the U.S. News & World Report has ranked the DASH Diet as the #1 diet in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
What is the DASH Diet’s Eating Plan?
DASH is high in fiber and low to moderate in fat. Followers of DASH eat a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and either low-fat or nonfat dairy. The diet also includes lean meats, fish, poultry, whole grains, nuts, and beans. Think of it as an easy-to-follow, Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet. DASH is designed in a way that is flexible enough to meet the lifestyle and food preferences of most people. The original DASH plan was developed specifically to lower blood pressure, but now there is also a weight loss option available.
DASH Diet Action Plan:
The DASH Diet Action Plan is the original DASH diet plan. Each meal and snack includes protein to help avoid feeling hungry in between meals. Meal plans are adjusted for 1,200, 1,600, and 2,000-calorie diets. Here are some sample meals for the DASH Diet Action Plan:
Oatmeal mixed with Applesauce
Light or Nonfat Yogurt
Jam on a Whole Wheat English Muffin
Pineapple or Orange Juice
Waldorf Chicken Salad
Roasted Chicken Breast
Tomato Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Apple Crisp Topped with Frozen Yogurt
Snacks include foods like light string cheese, nectarines, almonds, and kiwi.
DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution
The plan developed for weight loss is the DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution. Its goal is to help followers reprogram their eating habits by teaching them to center their meals around bulky, filling low-calorie vegetables and protein-rich foods. Fruits, dairy, nuts, beans, and seeds serve as healthy supplements to meals and snacks. There are two phases to the DASH weight loss plan. The first phase is turbocharging weight loss and the second phase is eating an abundance of healthy foods. Here is a sample meal plan from the first phase:
Southwestern Style Mini-Egg Beaters
Low-sodium Tomato Juice
Turkey and Swiss Cheese roll-ups
Raw Snow Peas
Sugar-free Orange Jello
Side Salad with Italian Dressing
Sautéed Carrots and Onions
Sugar-free Lime Jello
Snacks include grape tomatoes, light cheese, baby carrots, and guacamole.
DASH is a great option for anyone who is looking to get live a healthier lifestyle. There’s something for everyone, too. In addition to the original weight loss plans, DASH also offers vegetarian options. Check out all of the different options and more sample mean plans at dashdiet.org.
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