The aim: The prevention or the bringing down of blood pressure to its normal level.
The claim: A balanced diet is essential in reducing blood pressure. It can also help a person to lose weight.
The theory: Fiber, protein, calcium and potassium are essential nutrients for the prevention of hypertension. It is easy to achieve this as there is no need to monitor all those nutrients. All that you are required to do is to eat low-fat dairy, lean protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits; and avoid red meat and fattening food which contains lots of calories. Of course, you have to remember to take less salt.
Are there cardiovascular benefits?
Dash or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension has been proven through a number of studies that it can bring down blood pressure in order to prevent stroke, heart disease as well as heart failure; all of which result from blood pressure that is exceedingly high. Studies on DASH have indicated that HDL cholesterol, the cholesterol which is good for your heart, can be increased while LDL cholesterol, the cholesterol which is bad for your heart, can be decreased with the diet. Besides this, the level of triglycerides, the fat which can trigger heart disease, is also lowered. It is generally accepted by the medical profession as a diet which is good for the heart since it encourages the consumption of vegetables and fruits while discouraging salt, sugar and saturated fat.
Can DASH be used for the prevention or control of diabetes?
According to a small number of researches, it is possible that DASH can be used to control, if not prevent, diabetes. Most consider DASH as the right diet for diabetes and hypertension prevention or management. After all, the ADA (American Diabetes Association) advocates its dietary suggestions.
It is a well known fact that excessive body weight often leads to type 2 diabetes. So, a diet, such as DASH, which can help to reduce weight and have the body stay lighter, will definitely be the right move towards the prevention of diabetes. Reduced calorie intake together with DASH has been known to lower the risk factors linked to metabolic syndrome which raises the possibility of getting heart problems and diabetes.
According to a 2011 edition of Diabetes Care, a study on the effects of DASH on a small group of type 2 diabetics found that the participantsâ fasting blood sugar and the levels of A1C, which is a measurement of blood glucose over a period of time,Â were lowered after two months.
DASH is also favored by many as it cannot in any way oppose any of your doctorâs recommendations since it has no particular meal plan or fixed meals.
The DASH Diet -Video Guide
What about health risks?
DASH presents no health problems. Nevertheless, if you have other health problems, it is best to consult your doctor concerning its suitability for you.
Does DASH conform to the governmentâs dietary guidelines?
Fat. Similar to the suggestions of the government, your daily calories from fat in the DASH amounts to between 20 and 35 percent.Â When it comes to saturated fat, you are required to take much less than the governmentâs recommended limit of ten percent.
Protein. Protein intake in DASH is inside the range suggested by the government.
Carbohydrates. Carbohydrate intake is also similar to the suggested amount.
Salt. Most Americans consume too much salt. 2,300 mg. is the suggested daily limit. However, for African-Americans, Americans older than 50, or people with health problems such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes or hypertension, the limit is 1,500 mg. No matter what your salt limit is, there are particular meal plans provided by DASH.
Other essential nutrients.
The following nutrients, which the 2010 Dietary Guidelines listed as ânutrients of concernâ, are those which American are possibly deficient in.
Fiber. DASH supplies more than sufficient the amount suggested for daily adult consumption which is between 22 and 34 grams. Fiber improves digestion and helps you eat less.
Potassium. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines claims enough potassium consumption can reduce the possibility of getting kidney stones, reduce bone loss and overcome the ability of salt to increase blood pressure. However, it is difficult to eat sufficient food to obtain the suggested 4,700 mg. of potassium daily. Even with bananas which are rich in potassium, eleven have to be eaten each day to get that amount. So, most Americans are deficient in potassium. DASH is one of a small number of diets which comply with the recommendations of the government with its 4,900 mg.
Calcium. Most of us know the importance of calcium in the building and maintenance of bones. Few realize its importance in the proper functioning of muscles and the construction of blood vessels. Yet, most Americans are deficient in calcium. Dash certainly provides sufficient calcium; even for people above the age of 50 and women who have been advised by the government to take between 1,000 mg. and 1,300 mg. each day.
Vitamin B-12. More than sufficient vitamin B-12 is recommended by DASH. It is an essential nutrient and adults require at least 2.4 mg. per day.
Vitamin D. To reduce the possibility of bone fractures, adults are advised to consume 15 mg. of vitamin D by the government. If you do cannot obtain sufficient sunlight to get this amount, you need to eat food rich in this nutrient or take a supplement. DASH provides less than what is recommended. This can be overcome with a cereal fortified with vitamin D. You can get more than what has been recommended with sockeye salmon; merely 3 oz. of this fish will supply you with nearly 20 mg.
DASH does not recommend any supplement.
Is the diet expensive?
Whole grain products, fresh vegetables and fruits are usually more expensive than those processed foods containing a lot of sugar and fat that is consumed by many Americans.
Does DASH allow preferences and restrictions?
There are no restrictions and you can have your own preferences.
Vegan and vegetarian
Vegans and vegetarians will find DASH suitable for them. However, since no particular meal plans or guidance is offered, you have to find out for yourself whether the required nutrients are available in the food you eat.
Food recommended by DASH is gluten-free.
Much guidance is available in DASH for people who have to consume less than 1,500 mg. of salt.
There is no restriction on the use of kosher food.
There is no restriction on the use of halal food.
Is there a need for exercise?
Exercise is recommended for people who need to achieve weight loss.
Move gradually, from a quarter of an hourâs walk every morning and evening to a longer, faster walk as you get stronger. Do those activities which you enjoy, have a target and aim for it consistently. Gardening and swimming can be suitable activities.