DASH diet: let’s fight against fat and hypertension

DASH diet ingredients

A diet that contributes to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet. It is not only ideal for overweight people, but also for those with cholesterol and blood pressure problems. The diet is based on eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, which contribute to the optimal functioning of the heart.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is actually an acronym that essentially means “diet to stop hypertension”.

This type of diet lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but also helps to lose weight by eating a diet based on healthy ingredients, with a focus on vegetables, fruit, and low-fat dairy products, while avoiding foods high in cholesterol, fat, sugar, and excessive salt intake.

The diet in detail

Nowadays, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are almost a disease of civilization. Fortunately, according to experts, the condition can be cured, and all you need to do is eat right and lead a good lifestyle. This is the aim of the DASH diet, which is becoming more and more common these days and is also known by many as the ‘healthy heart’ diet.

Research shows how good this diet is for your body, as it helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure at the same time, so it can help your heart to work. Nevertheless, the DASH diet is not only recommended for people with these problems, but also for those who are very overweight.

The DASH diet is described in detail as a healthy way of eating that can help you fight very serious diseases. It is recommended to eat low-fat dairy products and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

DASH Diet: what can you eat during the diet?

During the diet, we should put a lot of emphasis on the introduction of vegetables and fruits. For those who are not used to eating fruit and vegetables, it is best to start by eating vegetables for dinner and fruit for breakfast. For healthier eating, the DASH Diet gives you a portion size of what you can eat per day or per week. This can also be called the DASH Diet pyramid.

In the first weeks of the diet, it is recommended to keep a food diary at first. The aim is to eat 2000 calories a day.

Dash pyramid
source: diet.hu

The DASH diet pyramid includes 5-6 servings of whole grains, 4-5 servings of fruit, and 4-5 servings of vegetables per day. This is followed by 2-3 portions of fat or oil, which should be mainly vegetable oil, and 2-3 portions of dairy products per day, which should be fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

For optimal heart function and to gradually lower blood pressure, we need to eat plenty of vegetables. Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. On this diet, we should eat half a cup of cooked or raw vegetables or 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables per day. You can also drink half a cup of vegetable juice instead of leafy vegetables.

In addition to vegetables, you should also eat plenty of fruit if you are starting a DASH diet. Fruit also contributes to a sufficient intake of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, and a large proportion of fruit also contains calcium and magnesium, which are essential for maintaining optimal blood pressure levels. According to the principles, we should consume 4-5 servings of fruit per day, whether raw, canned or frozen. Canned fruit, however, should be free from added sugars.

During the diet, low-fat dairy products are recommended, and 1% milk, butter, or low-fat yogurt or cheese should be chosen at meals.

We don’t have to give up meat completely, of course, but we should cut down on red meat and avoid fatty foods that put a strain on our hearts. Instead, you can eat fish or chicken (skinless). Eat seeds and pulses several times a week.

What to avoid in your diet? Prohibited foods, ingredients

As with most diets, the DASH diet should avoid sweets and sugary foods. Because of cholesterol, we should cut down on eggs (especially egg yolks) and red meat. We also need to cut down on salt intake, as too much salt binds fluids in the body and puts a strain on the heart. We should also avoid high-fat sour cream, cream, milk and cheese. These can all cause cholesterol to rise.

On this diet, the daily sodium intake should be reduced to 2300mg or 1500mg, depending on age, health, and disease.

Since processed foods are usually high in sodium, it is also a good idea to avoid eating them.

DASH diet common questions

How much meat or what kind of meat can I eat?

Many people are afraid that if they start the DASH diet they will no longer be able to eat any meat, but this is of course not the case. Neither our cholesterol nor our blood pressure is good for us if we eat too much meat, which is why we should avoid red meat, beef, lamb, pork and goat meat. Instead, you can eat turkey or chicken.

What is the biggest benefit?

Many people wonder, among other things, about the benefits of the DASH diet for their body. The biggest benefit of the diet is that it also combats high blood pressure and cholesterol. As a result, the diet will make you feel fitter and healthier. You will not feel tired or sleepy, and you will lead a more active and vibrant life, because your stomach and heart will not be overloaded with heavy foods and fats.