The DASH diet plan is an American bestselling diet and is actually healthy balanced and nutritionally sound, suitable for
practically anyone. Standing for ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’ the
DASH diet was originally developed as an eating style to help lower blood
pressure. It emphasizes consuming only specific portions of fresh whole foods
including; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry,
fish and nuts.
The DASH diet plan encourages a general reduction of sodium in the diet as well as an increase in nutrients that may be beneficial when trying to treat or prevent hypertension, including potassium, calcium and magnesium. The standard version of the diet delivers far less sodium than a traditional diet but there is also a lower sodium version available. This eating plan has been proven to reduce blood pressure by a few points within as little as two weeks.
The DASH diet is a healthy and sustainable eating plan
which may also help prevent other chronic conditions such as osteoporosis,
cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Another incredibly beneficial and
popular side effect of this diet is weight loss, despite not being labelled a
weight loss program. The healthy nature of this diet means a gradual reduction
in excess weight will be naturally achieved. As always consult your doctor or
dietician when making any drastic dietary changes.
This eating plan uses a system of daily portions from each food group, and the key is to eat the right foods with the right portions. Specifically six to eight servings of grains a day, these recommended portion sizes are important and this includes bread cereal rice and pasta. A single serving of grains equals 1 slice of wholemeal bread or half a cup of cooked pasta or rice. Vegetables are recommended as four to five servings a day the same as fruit, each portion is generally ½ a cup.
Dairy is proportioned to two to three servings a day and preferably low fat or fat free varieties, lean meat, poultry and fish can be consumed as six or fewer servings a day. Keep in mind a single portion consists of one egg or less than 30grams of meat. Fats and oils are allowed as two to three servings a day and primarily monounsaturated fats.
Trans fats are strictlyforbidden. One portion of fats is equivalent to one teaspoon of soft margarine, one tablespoon of mayonnaise or two tablespoons of salad dressing.
Nuts, seeds and legumes are limited to four to five servings
a week. Almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, peas and lentils are good
sources of magnesium, potassium and protein. They're also great sources of fibre
and phytochemicals. Serving sizes are small and are intended to be consumed
weekly due to calorie density; one serving is 1/3 cup of nuts, 2 tablespoons
seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked beans or peas. Sweets are allowed but are naturally
heavily moderated at less than five portions a week.
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