Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (or DASH to give it its catchier name) is a diet created by the American National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the hopes of lowering high blood pressure and reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in participants. It consists of lowering the consumption of saturated fats and sugar and upping the consumption of veggies, fruit and whole grains, but the DASH diet also limits red meat and sodium, as this is said to help lower blood pressure.

Typical menu:

Breakfast: English muffin with jam, fat free yogurt and pineapple juice.

Lunch: Minestrone soup with crudités. Handful of almonds and a nectarine.

Dinner: New potatoes with grilled salmon and green beans.

Positives 

  • Great for those who need to improve signs of ill health typically associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • All the resources you need are free. All the information about the diet and what to eat are on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website – you can find lots of recipes and simple explanations and even a 64 page guide to the diet which goes into a lot of detail about how the plan came to exist.
  • It’s based on a lot of research. The DASH diet was a long time coming and teams at the US National Institutes of Health were working on what eventually became the DASH diet plan for a long time, studying groups of dieters over long periods of time to make sure that the plan works. It’s also been rated as the number one diet for weight loss by US News.

Negatives

  • Portion sizes need to be monitored. There are no ‘free’ food and you have to be conscious of your portions for every meal.
  • Keeping your sodium in check might be difficult. You’ll have to meticulously study nutritional labels to make sure you’re not going over your daily sodium limit, which may be a challenge especially if you’ve never paid much attention to it before.
  • It’s not a quick fix. This diet won’t provide quick results and it’s something you have to stick to in the long term to see results

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