You’ve heard of the Atkins, South Beach, Zone and Raw, but what about the DASH diet?
This eating plan was recently ranked ‘Best Diet Overall’ for the eighth year in a row by ‘U.S News and World Report’ so why don’t we know more about it?
Initially invented 25-years-ago this heart healthy, moderation-based diet took a long time to reach the top but now it seems it’s there to stay.
With a celebrity following that includes Jessica Hudson the DASH diet is more of a healthy eating plan than a fad diet and that’s perhaps the key to it’s success.
It’s hardly a new thing! A quarter of a decade ago the DASH diet was created to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol without weight loss even being the main goal.
DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is more commonly referred to as high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
The diet encourages the consumption of wholegrains (brown rice, pasta and bread), low-fat or non dairy, fish, poultry, nuts and vegetables. In short it’s a low fat, balanced, healthy eating plan.
For the first two weeks of the diet you aim to reset your metabolism. This means ditching wholegrains and fruit and just concentrating on eating plenty of protein, low-fat foods and green vegetables.
After this 14-day period you reintroduced the starchy veg, wholegrains and fruit and then the idea is that you stick to the diet.
It doesn’t say you have to cut anything out completely, it just suggests you avoid high fat red meats, salt, sugary drinks, sweets, alcohol and caffeine as much as you can. So you should probably steer clear of fast food and processed products, which is never a bad thing.
After the initial two weeks, the DASH diet suggests you eat these portion sizes:
Lean meats, fish or poultry: 6 ounces per day
Wholegrains: 6-8 servings per day
Fruit: 4 to 5 servings per day
Low-fat milk or yoghurt: 2-3 servings a day
Sugar: 3-4 servings of sugary foods each WEEK
It’s comforting to know that the DASH diet was initially designed to benefit blood pressure and lower cholesterol and not just to put you on the fast track to a smaller waistline.
You will generally see a drop in your cholesterol levels within 3-6 months and weight loss is dependent on what exercise you do and how strictly you stick to your healthy eating plan.
1/2 cup of aatmeal with applesauce
4-6 ounces of low-sodium tomato juice
Small latte with 8 ones of skimmed milk
4-6 ounces of strawberries
Turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich using 2-4 ounces of turkey and a slice of reduced fat Swiss cheese. Use light wholewheat bread and add veggies.
Pepper strips of baby carrots
A handful of almonds
Vegetable stir fry with Quinoa
Side salad with oil and vinegar or a light vinaigrette