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Introducing DASH Diet: the diet everyone must know

Dr. Lala .A.

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What Is the DASH Diet?
DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” and provides an eating plan for reducing blood pressure and preventing hypertension.

What are the benefits of the DASH diet?
1. It helps to lower blood pressure. By following the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks.
2. It helps to prevent stroke and other heart diseases.
3. It helps to prevent other diseases like cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes because of the diet’s high amount of fibre and other nutrients.
4. It assists in weight loss because the diet make people feel full easily and hence reduce calorie intake.

How to Change to the DASH Eating Plan
The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy foods, moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts, foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium but low amount of dietary sodium.
The DASH eating plan is based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy foods — and moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
Standard DASH diet: You can consume up to 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day.
Lower sodium DASH diet: You can consume up to 1,500 mg of sodium a day.

DASH Diet: What to Eat
Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day
Grains include bread, cereal, rice and pasta. Focus on whole grains because they have more fiber and nutrients than do refined grains. For instance, use brown rice instead of white rice, whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta and whole-grain bread instead of white bread.

 

 

Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day
Tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, greens and other vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, and such minerals as potassium and magnesium.

 
Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day
Many fruits need little preparation to become a healthy part of a meal or snack. Like vegetables, they’re packed with fiber, potassium and magnesium and are typically low in fat — coconuts are an exception.

 
Dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day
Milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products are major sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein. But the key is to make sure that you choose dairy products that are low fat or fat-free because otherwise they can be a major source of fat — and most of it is saturated.
Lean meat, poultry and fish: 6 servings or fewer a day
Meat can be a rich source of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. Eat heart-healthy fish, such as salmon, herring and tuna. These types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower your total cholesterol.
Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week
Almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, peas, lentils and other foods in this family are good sources of magnesium, potassium and protein. They’re also full of fiber and phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that may protect against some cancers and cardiovascular disease.

 
Fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings a day
Fat helps your body absorb essential vitamins and helps your body’s immune system. But too much fat increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The DASH diet strives for a healthy balance by limiting total fat to less than 30 percent of daily calories from fat, with a focus on the healthier monounsaturated fats.

 
Sweets: 5 servings or fewer a week
You don’t have to banish sweets entirely while following the DASH diet — just go easy on them. Examples of one serving include 1 tablespoon sugar, jelly or jam,

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Dr. Lala .A. is a graduate of University of Ilorin who also holds a Diploma in Computer Engineering. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who aspires to be a plastic surgeon involved in creating awareness about women's rights and responsibilities and also training would be surgeons. She is a proud member of various reputable bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI). She loves to read, write, sleep and play the drums in her spare time.