What Is the DASH Diet?
Have you heard about the DASH diet? There are many diets out there that supposedly work wonders for weight loss. Fasting for weight loss, keto diet, macrobiotic diet, low sodium diet, high protein low carb diet, and the blood type diet are just a fraction of those food plans that can help you lose weight. However, the DASH diet outruns them all in terms of speed and efficiency. The name of the diet is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
This flexible diet plan can improve your cardiovascular system and heart and doesn’t require you to eat any special foods. The plan involves eating a lot of fruits and vegetables while limiting the consumption of sugar and processed foods. Of course, it’s much more complex than that. The diet emphasizes the importance of right portion sizes and includes a variety of foods and key nutrients. It has a positive effect on our heart and cardiovascular health by keeping our blood pressure stable.
What Do You Eat on the DASH Diet?
Fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products are on the DASH diet menu. This is accompanied by fish, poultry, grains, and small amounts of nuts and seeds. The diet is quite flexible, which means that you can add other foods to the menu if you feel like it. However, you’re not allowed to eat processed foods, sugar, red meat, and carbonated beverages.
This goes for the standard DASH diet plan. There’s a low-sodium DASH diet plan that also works where you can consume no more than 1,500 mg. of sodium per day. In the standard diet, the bar is set higher at 2,300.
As you can see, the diet’s goal is to lower your sodium intake. This should lower your blood pressure as well, keeping your cardiovascular health in check. It’s essentially a low sodium diet, but much more effective than anything else, including the famed 1,200 calorie diet or a high fiber diet.
How Much Weight Can You Lose with a 1,200 Calorie Diet?
Those 1,200 calorie diet plans circulating online are effective since you’re effectively cutting down thousands of calories from your menu. However, these diets are quite restrictive, not to mention unhealthy. Eating less than 1,200 calories per day is risky since it may lead to nutrient deficiency and other problems such as slow metabolism and even bone loss. That’s beside the fact that you’re actually starving yourself to lose weight, which isn’t helpful.
On the other hand, the DASH diet menu is tasty, focused on real foods and won’t starve you to death as other diets will.
What Fruits Are Allowed on the DASH Diet?
If you plan on starting the DASH diet, get ready for a lot of fruit. You can have apples, apricots, peaches, pears, berries, and tropical fruits as well (mango, pineapple). You can eat fresh, frozen or canned fruits and drink fresh fruit juice as well. For best results, you need to leave the edible peels on where possible. Add a fruit serving for all meals and snacks as well. The good thing about this diet is that you can round off your day with a tasty bowl of fruit salad and some low-fat yogurt. Yummy!
Are Eggs on the DASH Diet Menu?
Yes, but don’t go overboard with them. This powerful diet limits portions to just the right size, so if you plan to follow this type of menu, don’t expect a lot of eggs. The good thing about is that the DASH diet menu includes scrambled and boiled eggs, so there’s plenty of flexibility.
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How Do I Start the DASH Diet?
Well, first and foremost, you must decide on this diet and be ready to sacrifice your favorite foods. Of course, as soon as you see the results, it’ll be worth it. Since the diet menu is flexible, you will find different foods on the list. The good thing about this diet is that there are delicious DASH diet recipes you can enjoy along with a ton of fruits and veggies.
Focused on fruits and vegetables, the DASH diet also allows fish, red meat, grains, nuts, and seeds but in much smaller amounts. Here’s a general guideline on the recommended servings for each food group:
Grains: 6-8 daily servings
- The list includes cereal, rice, pasta, and bread. Avoid white bread at all cost and go for whole-wheat bread. Grains have a lot of fiber which will improve your digestion and metabolism and prime them for losing weight.
Fruits and Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings each
- You can eat almost all the fruits you can think of on this diet. Pears, apples, mangoes, and pineapples are all allowed just like berries. Stick to 4-5 servings per day. This means you’ll eat fruit for all three meals plus the snacks.
- When it comes to vegetables, you can eat leafy green veggies, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes among others. You can have a cup of raw veggies, ½ a cup of cooked veggies and the same amount of vegetable juice every day.
Low-Fat Dairy Products: 2-3 daily servings
- Milk, yogurt, and different types of cheese are all allowed on the DASH diet food list. They are excellent sources of vitamin D, protein, and calcium which your body needs when you try to lose weight. The key is to eat the low-fat versions, not the full-fat ones. Low-fat frozen yogurt is a good choice – if you want a healthier twist, you can add some fruits in it for a tasty dessert.
Lean Meat, Poultry, Fish: 5-6 one-ounce daily servings
- Meat is a great source of key nutrients for our health, so cutting it off your diet isn’t a good idea. The DASH diet allows lean varieties of meat. Keep the portions to 6 one-ounce servings per day at max. Anything more than that can be counter-productive. You can have red meat, poultry, and fatty types of fish such as tuna and salmon.
- If you can, keep the meat portions to a minimum. This will open more room for veggies in your diet.
Nuts and Seeds: 4-5 weekly servings
- You can have a bit of nuts and seeds up to 5 days per week. For example, eat 1/3 cup of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter as a snack every day. You can also have cooked beans or peas which are an excellent source of key minerals.
Fats and Oils: 2-3 daily servings
- Since it’s a diet focused on low intake of fats, you can’t consume a lot of saturated or trans fats. They will raise your risk of heart disease and cause a variety of other problems. The only fats you can consume on the DASH diet are mayonnaise or a few tablespoons of dressing on a salad.
Sweets: 5 weekly servings
- Ah, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. The DASH diet food list includes only 5 servings of sweets per week, but don’t expect chocolate bars. You can have far-free or low-fat sweets such as jelly beans, sorbet, and homemade jelly or jam.
What About Alcohol and Caffeine?
The DASH diet is focused on bringing your blood pressure down, so alcohol isn’t really a good idea. Alcohol raises your blood pressure, so stick to the general guidelines when it comes to it (no more than 2 drinks per day). When it comes to coffee, the diet doesn’t address it. However, since coffee raises your blood pressure as well, we’d vote against it.
Of course, you’ll also need to drink a lot of water. Water has been known to boost weight loss naturally and has a generally positive impact on our health. Two-to-three liters per day should be more than enough.
Can this Diet Really Help You Lose More Weight than Dr Nowzaradan’s 1,200 calorie Diet?
If you stick to the guidelines and don’t cheat, yeah, it can. Dr Nowzaradan’s 1,200 calorie diet has a number of side-effects which isn’t really healthy. On the other hand, the DASH diet works great without the need to starve yourself to death.
If you really plan to lose weight, the DASH diet is the way to go.