let’s start looking at what DASH diet means. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension. There have been two studies called DASH and DASH-sodium that looked at how what we eat could affect blood pressure. In the DASH study participants were divided in three groups: the first eating a regular North American diet, the second one adding a little of vegetables and the third one eating the called DASH diet which was rich in fruits and veggies, low in fats and cholesterol. The results demonstrated that the DASH diet individuals had the lowest blood pressure, levels that started to go down within two weeks of starting the meal plan. They also revealed that Cholesterol levels decreased and LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) levels decreased too.
In the second study participants were offered a diet with high amount of sodium (or salt), a second group with moderate amount of sodium and a third group with a very restricted amount of sodium. Results showed that the less salt people consumed, the greater the decrease in blood pressure. People who already had high blood pressure had the largest decrease in blood pressure.
Is it too complicated? Can I do it?
Yes and yes! DASH diet divides foods in 7 groups:
- Grains (mainly whole grains)
- Low Fat or No-Fat Dairy Foods
- Lean meats, poultry and fish
- Nuts, seeds and dry beans
- Fats and Oils
Then you need to look into including in your DAILY diet:
- 4-5 servings of fruits
- 4-5 servings of vegetables
- Grains (mainly whole grains): 7-8 servings
- Low Fat or No-Fat Dairy Foods: 2-3 servings
- Lean meats, poultry and fish: 2 servings or less
- Fats and oils: 2-3 servings
- Nuts, seeds and dry beans: 4-5 servings PER WEEK
It seems a lot!?
Well, an easy way to get started is adding one or two servings of fruits or veggies to your diet by choosing a fruit as a snack or adding a new vegetable to your salad. Make salads more fun by adding the crunchiness of nuts or sprinkle with chia seeds for more fiber.
Make meat a twice a week meals instead of an every day choice. Use crockpot to make fast veggie lasagna or butternut squash soups.