DASH is a diet that focuses on healthy eating.
It stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is a fancy way of saying it’s a diet plan meant to help lower high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can make you more likely to have heart disease, so it’s important to keep it under control.
The DASH diet is centered around foods that are good for you and are packed with nutrients.
It encourages eating whole grains like bread, pasta, and brown rice, low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt, as well as lots of vegetables and fruits. It also includes fish, chicken, beans, nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil.
DASH Diet Recognitions
Recently, U.S. News & World Report, a well-known news outlet in the U.S., ranked 39 diets based on how healthy they are.
The DASH diet tied for first place for the “Best Diets for Healthy Eating” and “Best Heart-Healthy Diets” categories. It even took second place for the “Best Diet Overall.”
History and Research behind DASH
The DASH diet was created over 20 years ago with support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a part of the National Institutes of Health, which is a big organization in the U.S. that does a lot of medical research.
Many different studies have shown that the DASH diet can help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, which is often called the “bad” cholesterol because having too much of it can lead to heart disease.
In one study, adults who started the DASH diet and didn’t change how much salt they ate were able to lower their blood pressure in just a few weeks. And those who also cut back on salt had even better results.
People who had high blood pressure and followed a low-sodium DASH diet, which means they cut their salt intake in half, had the biggest improvements.
What Makes DASH Unique?
What’s nice about the DASH diet is that no foods are off-limits. You can still enjoy a wide range of foods, but the focus is on those that are naturally rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein.
These foods are low in sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
One version of the DASH diet also recommends swapping 10% of daily carbohydrates (like bread, rice, or pasta) for protein (like meat, fish, or beans) or unsaturated fats (like olive oil or nuts). This change can provide even more health benefits.
Conclusion: The DASH to Better Health
The DASH diet is more than just a way to eat; it’s a roadmap to better health. It has proven itself to be an effective way to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
The fact that it ranks high in “Best Diets” from the U.S. News & World Report, shows that it’s a choice worth considering for anyone aiming for a healthier lifestyle.
Always remember, before making any significant changes to your diet, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease and calcium supplements could harm your heart health.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies that artificial sweeteners in food are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, and results showing people who have the lowest heart disease and stroke risks.