Cookbook, Dash Diet

What Does the DASH Diet Stand For

by Ann Claire

Aprile 29, 2020

What Does the DASH Diet Stand For

By DASH diet, we mean a “dietary approach to combat hypertension;” this regime was developed by the American National Institutes of Health (NIH) to permanently reduce blood pressure and prevent the cardiovascular complications associated with it (for example, stroke, heart attacks, etc.).

The DASH diet also involves achieving and maintaining your ideal weight, an essential element in the prevention of cardiovascular events since being overweight and obese are the major risk factors of high blood pressure. Several scientific studies have shown that this diet alone can reduce systemic blood pressure by up to 11.5 mmHg and even 16.1 mmHg if it is associated with weight loss and physical activity.

What Is the DASH Diet Used For?

This diet offers numerous benefits in addition to reducing blood pressure:

  • Reduces cardiovascular risk; in particular, it reduces the risk of a heart attack by 20% and the risk of a stroke by 29%.
  • Decreases cancer risk. Studies seem to show that it lowers the risk of some cancers, including colorectal and breast cancer.
  • Reduces metabolic syndrome risk by up to 81%.
  • Lowers diabetes risk. The diet has been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other studies have also shown a reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Some studies show the DASH diet has a beneficial effect on bone metabolism by helping prevent or counter osteoporosis.
  • Recent research has shown the DASH diet also reduces the risk of depression.

What Does the DASH Diet Consist Of?

The DASH diet consists of reducing the daily consumption of salt to no more than 2.3 milligrams, which corresponds to a teaspoon of salt. Then, under medical surveillance, salt can eventually and progressively be brought to as low as 1,500 mg.

In the salt counting, both the salt added to the dishes and that is already present in the food must be considered. Many processed foods are indeed rich in sodium; therefore, it is better to avoid salt-enriched foods, including seasoned animal foods, such as cheeses and cured meats, and packaged products (industrial baked goods, chips, snacks, pickled products, sauces, ready meals, nuts, etc.).

To achieve the goal of reducing sodium consumption, you should choose foods naturally low in sodium, cook them in your kitchen, and flavor them with spices, herbs, and unsalted (or low in sodium) condiments.

This process seems complicated for people accustomed to very savory tastes. Still, it gradually leads to appreciating the taste of food even with a little salt, paving the way for new aromas and flavors.

The DASH diet also allows for the increased consumption of foods rich in nutritional elements that reduce blood pressure, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

In particular, the real sodium “antidote” is potassium, which must be taken in quantities of 4,700 mg per day; this element acts as a sodium exchanger, helping eliminate excess sodium from the body. Potassium can be found in many vegetables: artichokes, beets, celery, carrots, turnips, spinach, and cabbage and also in whole grains, apricots, oranges, tangerines, peaches, pineapples, plums, avocados, cherries, and strawberries.

What Food Can You Eat in the DASH Diet

What Food Can You Eat in the DASH Diet? 

  1. The DASH feeding plan provides for this daily distribution of macronutrients: 27% of fats (of which 6% can be saturated), 18% of proteins, and 55% of carbohydrates. It favors the following foods:

    3.Partially skimmed or skimmed milk (milk, cheese, butter, etc.)
    4.Cereals, better if whole (bread, rice, pasta, quinoa, etc.)
    8.Dried fruit

The following must be avoided while you follow the DASH diet:

  • Sugary foods and drinks (sugary yogurts, candies, sugary drinks)
  • Alcohol
  • Foods rich in saturated fats (ready-made, fried dishes, fast-food, etc.)
  • Red meats
  • Sodium-rich foods (cured meats, etc.).

What Is a DASH Diet Plan?

The DASH regimen indicates the precise quantities of food to be taken based on specific tables that show the number of daily portions expected for each group of foods. Food groups include grain, dairy products, lean meats and fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, fats, sugar. The number of portions will then vary according to each person’s daily calorie needs. This requirement is calculated based on gender (male or female), age group, and level of physical activity, which can be sedentary, moderately active, or very active. For example, a 25-year-old woman who does a little bit of physical activity will need 2,000 calories per day.

Below is an example of daily food portions based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Group 1: Whole Grains (whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, and oatmeal): 6–8 Servings per Day

Examples of a serving include:

  • One slice of whole-grain bread or
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of dry, whole-grain cereal or
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal

Group 2: Fruits: 4–5 Servings per Day

Examples of fruit: Apples, apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, raisins, strawberries, tangerines.

Examples of a serving include:

  • One medium fruit or
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) of dried fruit or
  • 1/2 cup (30 grams) of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit or
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice

Group 3: Vegetables: 4–5 Servings per Day

Examples of vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, green peas, kale, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, etc.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 cup (about 30 grams) of raw, leafy green vegetables or
  • 1/2 cup (about 45 grams) of sliced ​​vegetables - fresh or cooked - like broccoli, carrots, squash, or tomatoes or
  • ½ cup of vegetable juice

Group 4: Fat-free or low-fat Dairy Products: 2–3 Servings per Day

Examples include skim milk and low-fat cheese and yogurt.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) of low-fat milk or
  • 1 cup (285 grams) of low-fat yogurt or
  • 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of low-fat cheese

Group 5: Lean Chicken, Meat, and Fish: 6 or Fewer Servings per Day

Select only lean meat; trim away visible fats; broil, roast, or poach the meat; remove the skin from poultry and fish.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of cooked meat, chicken, or fish or
  • One egg

Group 6: Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes: 4–5 Servings per Week

These include almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, kidney beans, lentils, and split peas.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) of nuts, or
  • Two tablespoons (40 grams) of nut butter, or
  • Two tablespoons (16 grams) of seeds, or
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) of cooked legumes.

Group 7: Fats and Oils: 2–3 Servings per Day

The DASH diet recommends vegetable oils over other types of oils. These include margarine and oils like canola, corn, olive, or safflower.

Examples of a serving include:

  • One teaspoon (4.5 grams) of soft margarine or
  • One teaspoon (5 ml) of vegetable oil or
  • One tablespoon (15 grams) of mayonnaise or
  • Two tablespoons (30 ml) of salad dressing

Group 8: Candy and Added Sugars: 5 or Fewer Servings per Week

Examples: Fruit-flavored gelatin, fruit punch, hard candy, jelly, maple syrup, sorbet and ice creams, sugar.

Examples of a serving include:

  • One tablespoon (12.5 grams) of sugar or
  • One tablespoon (20 grams) of jelly or jam or
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of lemonade or
  • ½ cup sorbet or gelatin dessert.

In the DASH diet, it is important to control salt consumption; there are several TIPS to reduce the salt consumption both when buying food, when cooking, or when eating outside the home:

Tips When Shopping

  • Read food labels and choose items that are lower in sodium and salt.
  • Choose fresh poultry, fish, and lean meats instead of cured food such as bacon and ham.
  • Choose fresh or frozen versus canned fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid food with added salt, such as pickles, pickled vegetables, olives, and sauerkraut.
  • Avoid instant or flavored rice and pasta.

Tips When Cooking

  • Don't add salt when cooking rice, pasta, and hot cereals.
  • Flavor your foods with salt-free seasoning blends, fresh or dried herbs, spices, or fresh lemon or lime juice.
  • Rinse canned foods or foods soaked in brine before using them to remove the sodium.
  • Use less table salt to flavor food.

Tips at the Restaurant

  • Ask that foods be prepared without added salt or MSG, commonly used in Asian foods.
  • Avoid choosing menu items that have salty ingredients such as bacon, pickles, olives, and cheese.
  • Avoid choosing menu items that include foods that are pickled, cured, smoked, or made with soy sauce or broth.
  • Choose fruit or vegetables as a side dish, instead of chips or fries.

The DASH diet also recommends a healthy lifestyle that includes daily physical activity and avoiding smoking and alcohol.

Ann Claire

About me

Ann Claire is a cookbook writer, wife, and mother of two. With the two pregnancies, she gained 25 kg. Still, at the end of the second pregnancy, she decided to change her life, approaching 2 of her greatest passions: cooking and spirituality.

Ann has rediscovered the pleasure of food and has revolutionized her diet. She has revisited the recipes of kitchens all over the world, using fresh and healthy ingredients with truly unexpected results for the surprising goodness and also for the weight.

In her spare time, Ann loves walking in nature and practicing the ancient oriental art of Qi gong, a practice that teaches how to listen and channel the energies that naturally flow into the body.


Ann Claire

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