The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It refers to an eating plan that researchers have found to be effective in preventing hypertension in individuals. It involves the uptake of foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are essential in lowering blood pressure. This diet also promotes the reduction of foods rich in sodium. A high sodium level in the body is implicated in raising blood pressure by promoting water retention in the kidneys. The diet involves the intake of a flexible eating plan of locally available foods, which are also in line with the nutritional requirements of effective eating for proper health(Nutrition and healthy eating, 2020). Therefore, who would not want optimal health free from diseases?
I have never heard of the DASH dietary plan before. I do not suffer from hypertension, and there is no history of hypertension in my family. However, I would advise my colleagues to practice the DASH diet due to its numerous health benefits. In addition to lowering blood pressure, the DASH diet has other added benefits to a person’s well-being. Firstly, the DASH diet encourages the low intake of fats and lipids in the diet, resulting in weight loss. Reduction in the body’s weight is further instrumental in clients with hypertension. It would decrease the blood vessels’ thickening due to fat depositions, leading to lowered blood pressure. However, weight loss may not always be the case at the beginning of this eating plan. Researchers have found that loss of the body’s weight results in a considerable reduction in the body’s systolic and diastolic blood readings(Nutrition and healthy eating, 2020). This is specifically important in the management of hypertension and heart diseases.
Secondly, the DASH diet reduces the number of carbohydrates in meals. An adequate amount of sugars in the diet is necessary to provide vital energy to sustain the body’s metabolism. However, a high intake of refined carbohydrates has been shown to interfere with the cells’ sensitivity to insulin, resulting in blood sugar spiking. Furthermore, excessive sugars in the diet enhance the rate of growth of cancerous cells. Therefore, this diet plan’s utilization is imperative in reducing the chances of acquiring breast and colorectal cancers, which have a higher incidence in people with diabetes (CT Style, 2015). Moreover, the uptake of fruits and vegetables is rich in antioxidants that eliminate free radicals that cause damage to cells.
Components of the DASH Diet
This diet plan provides guidelines on the standard amount of calories to be consumed per eating plan. In this dietary plan, the daily sodium requirement is between 1500mg to 2300mg per day. These requirements are in line with the recommendations of the American Heart Association. This plan promotes a high dietary intake of low-fat meals, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The intake of fish, poultry, and legumes is also encouraged a few times a week. Furthermore, a low intake of red meat, saturated fats, and nuts a few times a week is advised by nutritionists enabling the implementation of this meal plan. This diet plan may have several differences in the number of individual nutrients consumed per day (CT Style, 2015). However, the average weekly dietary intake should be close to the recommendations.
A Sample DASH Recipe
The breakfast comprises of a whole wheat bagel with two tablespoons full of peanut butter without salt additions. Furthermore, the breakfast plan consists of eating a medium-sized orange, 1 cup of milk free from fats, and a cup of coffee free from caffeine. The lunch plan consists of a salad made from 4 cups of fresh spinach leaves, a section of half canned mandarin oranges, and a third of slivered almonds. This diet also suggests the intake of a cup of milk free from fats, 12 wheat crackers with significantly lowered sodium levels, plus two tablespoons of red wine vinaigrette. The dinner comprises of herbal iced tea, a half cup of brown rice with vegetables, two teaspoons of olive oil, and a half cup of steamed fresh green beans. Additionally, a cup of fresh berries with chopped mint and 4 ounces of cod, which is baked and herb-crusted, complete the dinner plan.
Moreover, snacks consisting of a cup of low-calorie yogurt free from fats and four vanilla wafers can be taken as snacks anytime throughout the day to supplement the definite meal plan. The adherence to this recipe will ensure that an individual gets 2015 total calories consumed with reduced cholesterol, fats, carbohydrates intake(Nutrition and healthy eating, 2020). There is also an adequate consumption of the required amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and proteins necessary to reduce blood pressures.
Having optimum health is an important way of ensuring the proper well-being of an individual. The DASH diet is an example of a nutritional plan that ensures adequate nutritional supply for good health. This diet is essential for reducing blood pressure, offering protection from cancers, and promoting weight loss. Additionally, this dietary plan satisfies the standard dietary requirements of nutritionists for healthy living. It also ensures that individuals achieve the necessary dietary needs for optimal functioning. Therefore, individuals must practice patience after adopting the DASH eating plan before seeing any visible weight loss changes. Consistency is the key to reaping the maximum nutritional benefits from this dietary plan.
CT Style (2015). Stop hypertension with the DASH diet (video).
Nutrition and healthy eating: Sample menus for the DASH diet (2020). Mayo Clinic.