DASH Diet Menu Review: How To Lose Weight The Healthy Way
What is the DASH Diet? The DASH Diet plan is an eating plan conceived from research at the National Institutes of Health. It is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps foster a heart-healthy eating lifestyle.
You don’t need specific foods for the DASH diet but instead follow daily goals. Here is an outline of what they are via the NIH website of what you should eat:
- Eat fruits, vegetables and grains (whole grains)
- Include no or low-fat dairy
- Vegetable oils
- Limit foods have high saturated fat content This includes:
- High-fat meats
- Full-fat dairy products,
- Tropical oils
- Palm kernel
- Palm oils
- Very little drinks that have been sweetened with sugar
- Sweets in general.
DASH Diet: What Does It Stand For?
DASH means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
How Does The DASH Diet work?
The website Dashdiet.org breaks down how the DASH eating plan works:
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DASH diet helps you lower blood pressure by giving you very necessary nutrients. This includes potassium, calcium and magnesium. These are all affiliated with a low blood pressure. Some people have shown results by lowering their salt and sodium intake.
The website’s book other tips on losing weight, getting in shape, quitting smoking and other things too.
Once again, we turn to Dashdiet.org for how the DASH diet was conceived:
DASH shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve insulin. It’s more than the advice you get in low sodium or low salt diets. You eat based upon a plan heavy in vegetables, fruits and low or nonfat dairy.
In comparison to a regular diet, the DASH diet stresses whole grains and has less refined grains.
The DASH diet can be recommended by a physician. A number of health organizations also recommend it, including the American Heart Association and The National Heart, Lung Blood Institute. The latter is part of the National Institutes of Health.
The DASH diet is also recommended by The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and US guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure.
DASH Eating Plan
Here is our DASH diet meal plan. This is based off of a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
|Food Group||Daily Servings|
|Meats, poultry and fish||6 or less|
|Low-fat or fat-free dairy products||2-3|
|Fats and oils||2-3|
|Nuts, seeds, dry beans and peas||4-5|
|Sweets||5 or less|
When going by the DASH eating plan, it’s important to choose foods that are:
- Low in saturated
- Have very little transfats
- High in potassium
- Have a lot of calcium
- Have a lot of magnesium
- High fiber
- High protein
- Low sodium
Tips From The Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic provides a breakdown on what the specifics of the plan actually looks like and how you can apply it to your everyday life.
Grains: 6-8 servings daily
Grains include the following:
Here are some examples of one serving of grains:
- One slice, whole-wheat bread
- One ounce of dry cereal
- 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice or pasta.
Whole grains have more nutrients and fiber than their refined counterparts. When eating rice, go for brown instead of white. If you want pasta, go for whole-wheat instead of regular. When you want bread, eat whole-grain instead of white.
Always check for a label that says “100 percent whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat.”
- Grains are naturally low in fat. Keep them this way by avoiding butter, cream and cheese sauces.
Vegetables: 4-5 servings daily
These vegetables rich in fiber, magnesium and potassium.
These are some examples of what a servings would look like:
- One cup of raw, green leafy vegetables
- 1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables
- 1/2 cup cut-up cooked vegetables
Fruits: 4-5 servings daily
Just like vegetables,
Like vegetables, they are rich in fiber, magnesium and potassium. With the exception of coconuts, they are usually low in fat.
Here are some examples of a serving:
- A medium-sized fruit
- 1/2 cup fresh fruit
- 1/2 cup, frozen fruit
- A 1/2 cup canned fruit
- Four ounces of juice
Dairy: 2-3 daily servings
Several dairy products including cheese, milk and yogurt, are wonderful sources for protein, calcium and vitamin D.
It is important to choose low fat or fat-free dairy products otherwise you end up getting products that are rich in fat. Most of the fat is saturated.
Here are some good examples of dairy servings on the DASH diet:
- One cup of skim milk
- One cup of 1% milk
- 1 cup, low fat yogurt
- 1 1/2 oz part-skim cheese
Lean poultry, meat and fish: 6 daily servings or fewer
Meat is an excellent source for zinc, protein, B vitamins and iron. It is prudent to go for lean options and keep it to six ounces per day or less. This will allow you to have more veggies.
- Get rid of the fat and skin from the meat and poultry. It is ideal to broil, bake roast or grill. Don’t fry in fat.
- For fish, eat varieties that are heart-healthy. All of the below are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts, legumes and seeds: 4-5 weekly servings a week
The following are good sources of phytochemicals, fiber, potassium, protein and magnesium:
- Sunflower seeds
- Kidney beans
- Lentils and other foods in this family are good sources of magnesium, potassium and protein.
You should only consume these sparingly as they have a high calorie content. Here are some examples of what a serving looks like:
- 1/3 cup nuts
- Two tbsp seeds
- 1/2 cup cooked beans
- 1/2 cup cooked peas
Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings
Fat can assist your body take in vital vitamins. It also helps with your body's immune system. If you take too much fat in however, it puts you at risk for obesity, diabetes and even heart disease.
It is a good idea while on the DASH diet to take in less than 30% of your daily calories from fat.
Here are some examples of servings:
- One tsp soft margarine
- One tbsp mayonnaise
- Two tbsp of salad dressing.
It is prudent to stay away from trans fats. You often see them in baked goods, crackers and fried foods.
Sweets: 5 servings or less weekly
Sweets don’t need to be banned altogether. It’s just important to keep it light.
Here are some examples of servings:
- One tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp jelly
- 1 tbsp jam
- 1/2 cup of sorbet
- One cup of lemonade
Stick with sweets that are low-fat or fat-free. Also stray from sweets that have added sugar.
DASH diet: Alcohol and caffeine
Excessive drinking can result in high blood pressure. Men should drink no more than two drinks daily and women only one or fewer.
The DASH diet doesn’t discuss caffeine, as it is not clear how caffeine affects your blood pressure. Caffeine can cause your blood pressure to rise, at least for a short time. It is best to consult a physician on caffeine consumption.
Who Should Go on The DASH Diet?
The DASH diet can be followed by everybody, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This plan is for lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of any heart problems.
In addition to reducing the above problems, it can also lower your cholesterol, inflammation, and give you additional heart benefits.