The DASH Diet Explained.
By: Patrick Mansfield | U.S. Health Alerts

Dash Diet

Developed as a non-medicated approach to lowering high blood pressure, the DASH diet plan was created through research sponsored by the United States National Institutes of Health. The diet, which is centered around reduced sodium intake, fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods, has been shown in numerous studies to help reduce the risk of a variety of diseases including: 
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • Certain kinds of cancer
  • Heart Failure
It has also been proven effective regarding both short and long-term weight loss. Thanks to its effectiveness, health benefits, and its realistic guidelines (the diet plan is packed with delicious, real foods), the Dash Diet Plan was ranked #1 by US News and World Report for several years in a row (2011 through 2014). 

The Even Better DASH Diet

Originally, the DASH diet was not geared toward weight loss and was somewhat high in starchy foods and refined grains These early guidelines were based on traditional "wisdom" from the mid-90s. Since losing weight is a common goal among many individuals, a need existed for an easy-to-stick-with weight loss plan that included the core DASH foods. The foundation of the DASH diet is healthy foods such as: 
Nuts | Beans | Seeds | Fruits | Vegetables | Nonfat and low-fat

Thanks to several recent studies on the DASH diet, even better blood pressure results were possible through an optimized diet plan. By limiting "empty carbs" and focusing on more heart-healthy fats and protein, the plan has been shown to have positive effects on blood pressure and sustainable weight loss. 

Research-Based Results

The DASH diet is supported by several studies and has been proven to help decrease blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity. The DASH diet is centered around more than just the typical low sodium or low salt advice. The plan is based on foods proven to help lower blood pressure and encourage long-term weight loss. 

It puts an emphasis on whole grains versus refined grains that are typically consumed in a standard American diet. Through the DASH diet plan, an individual is consuming a diet rich in important vitamins and minerals such as fiber, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. You may have this eating plan recommended to you by your doctor. Additionally, it is also recommended by: 
  • The American Heart Association
  • US guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure
  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • Who Is the DASH Diet Plan Recommended For?

The DASH eating plan is recommended as an example of healthy eating by The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for everyone. The entire family can benefit from and enjoy following the DASH diet plan. In addition to keeping blood pressure levels healthy, the DASH diet plan can also help promote heart health, decrease cholesterol levels, and lower inflammation. New research indicates that the DASH diet plan is effective at decreasing blood pressure in both children as adults. 

What Makes the DASH Diet Plan So Effective?

The DASH diet plan can have a positive effect on blood pressure thanks to its abundance of key nutrients including calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Each of these nutrients performs key actions in promoting healthy blood pressure. These vital nutrients are boosted through the diet's ample amounts of low-fat and nonfat dairy, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Some individual experience even further results by limiting the amount of salt or sodium in their diet. Other lifestyle changes that can provide further benefits include:
Exercise | Quitting smoking and use of tobacco | Weight loss | Limiting or eliminating alcohol
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