DASH Diet for Healthy Weight Loss and High Blood Pressure

What Is the DASH Diet?

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DASH refers to Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is a type of diet suggested for people who wish to stop or treat hypertension also called high blood pressure, and lower their risk of heart problems.

The DASH diet focuses on vegetables, lean meats, fruits, and whole grains.

The diet was introduced after researchers saw that high blood pressure was less common in people who followed a plant-based diet like vegetarians and vegans.

That’s why the DASH diet emphasizes vegetables and fruits while having some lean protein sources such as beans, chicken, and fish. The diet is low in added sugars, salt, red meat, and fat.

Scientists understood that one of the primary reasons people with high blood pressure can help from this diet is due to low salt consumption.

The regular DASH diet program improves no more than 1 teaspoon of sodium every day, which is in line with most national guidelines.

The lower salt version is suggested no more than 3/4 teaspoon, which is 1,500 mg of sodium every day.

 

Potential Benefits

Apart from lowering blood pressure, the DASH diet offers several benefits, including low cancer risk and weight loss.

However, you should not expect DASH to help in weight loss on its own as it was created fundamentally to reduce blood pressure. This diet affects your body in many ways.

 

Lowers Blood Pressure

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Blood pressure is a measure of the squad kept on your organs and blood vessels as your blood departs from them. It is counted in 2 numbers:

 

Systolic pressure:

It is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.

 

Diastolic pressure:

It is the pressure in blood vessels between each heartbeat when your heart is on rest.

Regular blood pressure for grown-ups is a diastolic pressure under 80 mmHg and systolic pressure under 120 mmHg. It is given with the systolic blood pressure over the diastolic pressure: such as 120/80.

People with a blood pressure get a reading of 140/90 are considered to get high blood pressure.

The DASH diet demonstrably reduces blood pressure in both healthy people and those individuals with high blood pressure.

In research, people on the DASH diet still get lower blood pressure even if they did not drop weight or limit salt consumption.

However, when sodium consumption was limited, the DASH diet reduced blood pressure even further. The highest drop in blood pressure was noticed in people with less salt consumption.

These low salt DASH diet results were very remarkable in people who already had high blood pressure individuals who already experienced high blood pressure, lowered diastolic blood pressure by 5mmHg and systolic blood pressure by an average of 12 mmHg.

In people with normal blood pressure, it lowered systolic blood pressure by 4 mmHg and diastolic by 2 mmHg.

It is in line with different research which reveals that limiting salt consumption can lower blood pressure, particularly in those who get high blood pressure.

Remember that a reduction in blood pressure does not always reduce the risk of heart ailments.

 

May Aid Weight Loss

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You will possibly get low blood pressure during the DASH diet whether you are losing weight or not. However, if you already get high blood pressure, possibly you have been recommended to lose weight.

It is because the more you weigh, your blood pressure will increase.

Additionally, lowering weight has been indicated to drop blood pressure.

Some research recommended that people can lower weight on the DASH diet.

However, those who have dropped a weight on the DASH diet have been in a maintained calorie deficit- which means they were told to consume fewer calories than they were increasing.

The DASH diet limit more of high fat, sugary foods, people may know that they automatically lower their calorie consumption and lower weight. Other people may need to limit their consumption.

If you need to drop weight by following the DASH diet, you still have to follow a low-calorie diet.

 

Other Health Benefits

DASH may also impact other extents of health. The diet:

 

Decreases cancer risk

According to recent review people following the DASH diet had a reduced risk of some types of cancers, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

 

Lowers metabolic syndrome risk

Some experimenters state that the DASH diet lowers your risk of metabolic syndrome by up to 81% (Source).

 

Lowers diabetes risk

The diet has been connected to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Some research demonstrated that it can boost insulin resistance also.

 

Reduces heart disease risk:

According to a recent review of females, following a DASH-like diet was linked with a 20% reduced risk of heart disease and a 29% less risk of stroke.

Many of these protective impacts are attributed to the diet’s high vegetable and fruit content. In general, consuming extra vegetables and fruits can help to lower disease risk.

 

Does It Work for Everyone?

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While research on the DASH diet specified that the highest reductions in blood pressure emerged in those with the lowest salt consumption, the benefits of salt restriction on health and lifespan are not clear.

For an individual with high blood pressure, lowering salt consumption affects blood pressure. However, in an individual with regular blood pressure, the effects of lowering salt consumption are less.

The theory that some people are salt sensitive means that salt removes the highest impact on their blood pressure could partially tell this.

 

Limiting Salt Too Much Is Not Right for You

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Consuming tool low salt has been connected to health problems, like increased heart disease risk, fluid retention, and insulin resistance. The low salt version of the DASH diet suggested that people eat not more than 3/4 teaspoon that 1500 mg of sodium every day.

However, it is not clear whether there are any helpful to lowering salt consumption this low and even in individuals with high blood pressure.

A recent review discovered no connection between salt consumption and the risk of death from a heart problem, even though reducing salt consumption leading a modest decrease in blood pressure.

However, due to many people consuming more salt, reducing salt consumption from very high amounts of 2-2.5 teaspoons a day – to 1-1.25 teaspoons a day may be helpful (Source). This target can be reached easily by lowering the amount of highly processed food in the diet and consuming all whole foods.

What to Eat on the Diet?

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The DASh diet does not list any particular foods to eat. Instead, it suggests specific servings of different groups of food. The number of servings you can consume depends on how many calories you eat. Below is an example of food portions based on the 2000 calorie diet.

Whole Grains: 6–8 Servings Every Day

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Examples of whole grains include whole-grain bread, whole wheat, whole grain breakfast cereals, bulgur, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa.

Examples of a serving include:

One slice of whole-grain bread

One ounce of whole-grain cereal dry

Half cup of cooked rice with cereal or pasta

 

Vegetables: 4–5 Servings per Day

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All vegetables are allowed during the DASH diet

Examples of a serving having:

one cup of around 30 gm of raw, and leafy green vegetables like kale or spinach

half cup of sliced vegetables like cooked or raw like carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, or squash

 

Fruits: 4–5 Servings per Day

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If you are following the DASH approach, you will be consuming more fruit. Examples of fruits that can consume are pears, apples, berries, pears, peaches, and tropical fruits like mango and pineapple.

Examples of a serving have:

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/4 cup of dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup of fresh, canned, or frozen peaches

Dairy Products: 2–3 Servings Every Day

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Dairy products during the DASH diet should have low fat. Its example has low-fat cheese, skim milk, and yogurt.

Examples of a serving have:

  • 1 cup of low-fat milk (240 ml)
  • 1 cup of low-fat yogurt (285 grams)
  • 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese (45 grams)

 

Lean Chicken, Fish, Meat: 6 or low Servings per Day

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Choose lean meats and try to consume a serving of red meat only sometimes, no more than one or two times a week.

Examples of one serving include:

  • 1 ounce of cooked chicken, meat, or fish
  • 1 egg

 

Legumes, Seeds, Nuts: 4–5 Servings Every Week

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These include peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, flaxseeds, lentils, kidney beans, and split peas.

Examples of a serving have:

  • 1/3 cup of nuts (50 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons of nut butter (40 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons of seeds (16 grams)
  • 1/2 cup of cooked legumes (40 grams)

 

Fats and Oils: 2–3 Servings Every Day

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The DASH diet suggests vegetable oils on other oils. These have margarine and oils like corn, canola, safflower, or olive. It also suggests light salad dressing and low-fat mayonnaise.

Examples of a serving have:

  • 1 teaspoon of soft margarine (4.5 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (5 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise (15 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons of salad dressing (30 ml)

 

Candy and More Sugars: 5 or Fewer Servings Each Week

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Added sugars are included to a low on the DASH diet, so limit intake of candy, table sugar, and soda. The DASH diet also restricts unrefined sugars and alters sugar sources, such as agave nectar.

Examples of a serving have:

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (12.5 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam (20 grams)
  • 1 cup of lemonade (240 ml)

 

Sample Menu for One Week

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Here’s a sample meal plan for one week based on 2000 calories every day for the normal DASH diet:

Monday

Breakfast:

Eat one cup of oatmeal – 90gm

Hals cup blueberries – 75 gm

One cup skim milk – 240 ml

half cup fresh orange juice – 120 ml

Snack:

One cup of low-fat yogurt

one medium apple

Lunch:

Mayonnaise and Tuna sandwich made with two slices of whole-grain bread

1.5 cups of green salad

one tablespoon of mayonnaise

3 ounces of canned tuna

Snack:

1 medium banana

Dinner:

3 ounces of lean chicken breast prepared in one teaspoon of vegetable oil

a half cup of carrots and broccoli

Served with one cup of brown rice

 

Tuesday

Breakfast:

Eat 2 slices of toast made of whole wheat with one teaspoon of margarine

one tablespoon of jam or jelly

half a cup of fresh orange juice

one medium apple

Snack:

One medium banana

Lunch:

Eat 3 ounces of lean chicken

two cups of green salad and one cup of brown rice

1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese

Snack:

Eat one cup low-fat yogurt and a half cup of canned peaches

Dinner:

Eat 3 ounces of salmon cooked

one cup of boiled potatoes

one teaspoon of oil

1.5 cups of boiled vegetables

 

Wednesday

Breakfast:

1 cup of skim milk – (240 ml)

1 cup of oatmeal – (90 grams)

1/2 cup of blueberries – (75 grams)

1/2 cup of fresh orange juice – (120 ml)

Snack:

1 medium orange

Lunch:

3 ounces of lean turkey – (85 grams)

1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese – (45 grams)

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes – (38 grams)

2 slices of whole-wheat bread

1/2 cup of green salad – (38 grams)

Snack:

1.5 ounces of cottage cheese – (45 grams)

4 whole-grain crackers

1/2 cup of canned pineapple – (75 grams)

Dinner:

1 cup of mashed potatoes – (200 grams)

6 ounces of cod fillet – (170 grams)

1/2 cup of broccoli – (75 grams)

Half a cup (75 grams) of green peas

 

Thursday

Breakfast:

1 cup of oatmeal – (90 grams)

1 cup of skim milk – (240 ml)

1/2 cup of raspberries – (75 grams)

1/2 cup of fresh orange juice – (120 ml)

Snack:

1 medium banana

Lunch:

Salad made with 4.5 ounces of grilled tuna – (130 grams)

1 boiled egg

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes – (38 grams)

2 cups of green salad – (152 grams)

2 tablespoons of low-fat dressing – (30 ml)

Snack:

1/2 cup (30 grams) of canned pears

1 cup (285 grams) of low-fat yogurt.

Dinner:

3 ounces of pork fillet – (85 grams)

1 cup of brown rice – (190 grams)

1 cup of mixed vegetables – (150 grams)

 

Friday

Breakfast:

2 slices of turkey bacon with 2 boiled eggs

half cup cherry tomatoes

half cup baked beans

two slices of whole-wheat toast

a half cup of fresh orange juice

Snack:

1 medium apple

Lunch:

Eat one tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise

2 slices of whole wheat

1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese

half cup of cherry tomatoes

a half cup of salad greens.

Snack:

1 cup of fruit salad

Dinner:

Eat meatballs and spaghetti prepared with one cup of spaghetti and a half cup of green peas

4 ounces of minced turkey.

 

Saturday

Breakfast:

Eat two slices of whole-wheat toast

one medium banana

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

half a cup of fresh orange.

Snack:

1 medium apple

Lunch:

Eat one cup of roasted vegetables

3 ounces of grilled chicken

one cup of couscous.

Snack:

Eat one cup of low-fat yogurt

a half-cup of mixed berries.

Dinner:

Eat one cup of brown rice

3 ounces of pork steak

one cup of Ratatouille

half a cup of lentils

1.5 ounces of low-fat cheese

Dessert

chocolate pudding with Low-fat

 

Sunday

Breakfast:

Consume one cup of oatmeal-(90 grams)

half a cup of blueberries-(120 ml)

one cup of skim milk (240 ml)

half a cup of fresh orange juice

Snack:

1 medium pear

Lunch:

Eat chicken salad prepared with 3-ounces of lean chicken breast

2 cups of green salad

one tablespoon of mayonnaise

half cup of cherry tomatoes

4 whole-grain crackers

half a tablespoon of seeds

Snack:

Half cup of almonds and one banana

Dinner:

One cup of boiled potato

3 ounces of roasted beef

half cup of broccoli

a half-cup of green peas

 

How to Make Your Diet More DASH-Like

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Because there are no safe foods during the DASH diet, you can adapt your current diet to the DASH guidelines by doing the following thing:

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Change refined grains for whole grains

Pick low fat and fat-free dairy products

Choose lean protein sources like poultry, beans, and fish.

Cook using vegetable oils

Reduce food consumption of more added sugars, like candy and soda

Reduce your consumption of food containing high saturated like full-fat dairy, fatty meats, and oil like palm oil and coconut oil.

Outside of measured fresh fruit juice portions, this diet suggested sticking to low calories such as tea, water, and coffee.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are consuming DASH to reduce blood pressure, you might get some questions about different aspects of your lifestyle.

The most commonly asked questions are given below.

 

Can I Drink Coffee on the DASH Diet?

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The DASH diet does not advise particular guidelines for coffee. However, some people worry that caffeinated drink like coffee may raise their blood pressure.

It is famous that caffeine can lead to a short term rise in blood pressure

Furthermore, this is higher in people with more blood pressure.

However, a recent review claimed that this famous drink doesn’t raise the long-term risk of high blood pressure or heart problems even though it leads to a short-term rise in blood pressure.

For most healthy people with regular blood pressure,3-4 normal cups of coffee every day are considered safe.

Remember that the slight increase in blood pressure leads to caffeine means that people who already get high blood pressure possibly need to be more careful with their coffee consumption.

 

Is Exercise on the DASH Diet Important?

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The DASH diet is even more useful at less blood pressure when mixed with physical activity.

Given the independent benefits of workouts on health, this is not surprising.

It is suggested to do 30 minutes of moderate activity most days, and it is necessary to select something you enjoy, this way you will be more likely to keep it up.

 

Examples of moderate exercise include:

Brisk walking (15 minutes every mile or 9 minutes each kilometer)

Cycling (6 minutes every mile or 4 minutes each kilometer)

Housework (60 minutes)

Running (10 minutes per mile or 6 minutes each kilometer)

Swimming laps (20 minutes)

 

Can I Drink Alcohol on the DASH Diet?

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Consuming more alcohol can elevate blood pressure. Normally consuming more than 3 drinks every day has been connected to a raised risk of high blood pressure and heart problems.

On the DASH diet, you should consume alcohol sparingly and not increase the official guidelines to two or fewer drinks every day for males and one or less for females.

 

Final Words

The DASH diet may be a good and easy way to lower blood pressure.

However, remember that decreasing everyday salt consumption to 3/4 teaspoon that is 1500 mg or low has not been connected to any hard health benefits such as a low risk of heart problems even though it can drop blood pressure.

Moreover, the DASH diet is the same as the standard low-fat diet, which bigger controlled trials have not shown to lower the death risk of heart disease.

Healthy people may get some reason to follow the diet. However, if you get high blood pressure or think you may get sensitive to salt, DASH may be the best choice for you.

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