We wanted to start our Nutrition Week with US News and World Report’s #1 diet for five years in a row, the DASH diet.

The DASH diet’s goal is to simply lower and prevent high blood pressure or hypertension.

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. 

Through an eating plan rich in:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fat-Free or Low-Fat Milk and Milk Products
  • Whole Grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Beans
  • Seeds, and Nuts 

    Also consuming less salt and sodium, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages, fats, and red meats than the typical American diet.

    What makes the DASH diet unique is that it requires no special foods or hard-to decipher recipes. DASH simply requires a certain number of daily servings from a variety of food groups.

    The number of servings per food group determines the number of permitted calories allowed per day. The calorie level is determined by factoring in your age and level of activity.


    Physical Activity Levels

    Sedentary- Light activity as part of your typical day-to-day routing

    Moderately Active- activity equal to walking 1.5-3 miles a day at 3-4 miles per hour, plus light physical activity

    Active- activity equal to walking more than 3 miles per day at 3-4 miles per hour, plus light physical activity

    DASH Calorie Levels  

    Now that you have your daily calorie requirements, find where the calories should come from, and limit salt intake. DASH is that easy!

    Follow the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's brief guide pages 3 and 4 to decide the number of daily servings and examples of healthy options and serving sizes in each food group. Also be sure to print out this guide to make sure your next trip to the grocery store stays on plan. 

    Extensive studies have found that DASH can lower your blood pressure. As a result the eating plan helps prevent heart failure, heart disease, and stroke. Basically it is a heart healthy diet, heavy on vegetables and fruits while light on saturated fat, sugar, and salt.

    With the wide variety of foods available under each category sticking to the DASH diet long-term is easier than other more specialized diets.

    For more information be sure to read the NHLB's brief overview of the Dash eating plan and their more thorough 64 page guide to hypertension prevention

    Also, the Mayo Clinic has compiled an extensive list of DASH Diet recipes as well. I think I am going to try the Swordfish tacos with cilantro this evening, YUM!

    Let us know what you think about the DASH diet, have you or someone you know tried it? Swear by it? Hated it? 

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