In January this year, DASH diet was recognized by medical nutrition experts in the United States in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual diet appraisal. DASH diet stood out among 38 diet styles and was named the best comprehensive diet of the year for 6 consecutive years.
DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet is a long-term healthy diet designed to prevent hypertension. It advises people to reduce sodium intake in their diet and eat a variety of foods rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium and other foods to help lower blood pressure.
If you stick to DASH diet, you can reduce blood pressure in just two weeks. In the long run, systolic blood pressure will be reduced by 7 to 12 mmHg, which will significantly reduce health risks.
In addition, DASH diet also conforms to the recommended diet principles for preventing osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, which is one of the reasons why DASH diet was named the best comprehensive diet of the year.
Although DASH diet is not a weight loss diet, it can help you choose healthier foods, so you may also achieve [unexpected] weight loss effects.
1. Sufficient vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products;
2. Reduce the intake of foods with high saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fat content;
3. Appropriate amount of whole grains, fish, poultry meat and dried fruits;
4. Control the intake of sodium, desserts, sugary drinks and red meat.
In DASH diet, sodium reduction is the key. In addition to the standard DASH diet (2 300 mg of sodium per day), there are low sodium versions (1 500 mg per day) available for different health needs.
Of course, both versions of DASH diet have greatly reduced the sodium intake in the traditional diet. For example, WHO recommends that the daily sodium intake per person should not exceed 2,000 mg (about 5 g of salt), while the average sodium intake of Chinese residents is more than twice the WHO recommended value.
How to eat?
Let’s take a look at the daily DASH diet designed with 2,000 calories as the standard calorie. You can adjust the amount of food according to the amount of calories you need every day.
Whole grains have more cellulose and nutrients than refined grains, such as B vitamins.
(1) Choose brown rice and whole wheat bread to replace the white rice and white bread we eat everyday. Five cereal rice, coarse cereal flour or cereal porridge are all good choices.
(2) The fat content in cereals is very low. Please do not add extra fat during cooking (cream pasta and peanut butter on bread and what should be enough, and fried rice should also be less oil).
Vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and trace elements (such as magnesium and potassium). Stop thinking vegetables are just side dishes! A rich variety of vegetables and brown rice are a healthy main meal.
(1) In order to avoid the feeling of too many vegetables, vegetables with different tastes, such as cucumbers, radishes and bamboo shoots, can be selected in addition to green leafy vegetables.
(2) You can have many clever small methods, such as putting vegetables into rice and making them into rice. Or in the vegetable stir-fried meat, halve the amount of meat and double the amount of vegetables, thus increasing the amount of vegetables eaten every day.
Like vegetables, fruits are rich in dietary fiber, potassium and magnesium, and their fat content is also very low. Of course, avocados and coconuts may be exceptions.
(1) Add a fruit after each meal.
(2) It is recommended to eat complete fruits, but if you choose fruit juice occasionally, do not add extra sugar.
Dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein. But if you drink a lot of milk every day or suffer from hyperlipidemia, it is recommended to choose low-fat dairy products, otherwise they may be the main source of fat, and most of them are saturated fat.
(1) Most Asians may suffer from lactose intolerance. At this time, yogurt is your good friend. Yogurt can satisfy your sweet needs and also has the nutrition of dairy products. You can also eat it with fruits, which are delicious and healthy, but don’t choose sugar-stained fruits.
(2) In addition to direct drinking, oats and oatmeal can also be added to milk to boil milk cereal porridge.
Lean meat, poultry and fish
Meat is rich in protein, B vitamins and is also the main source of iron and zinc. But even lean meat contains fat, so don’t let them become the main character of your diet.
(1) Cooking, frying and steaming poultry meat and lean meat after removing the skin and fat are healthier than frying.
(2) If conditions permit, choose some fish that are beneficial to heart health, such as salmon, herring or tuna. These fish are rich in-3 unsaturated fatty acids, which help reduce total cholesterol levels.
Nuts, seeds and beans
They are a good source of magnesium, potassium and protein. Many people may worry about the high fat content of nuts, but nuts actually contain healthier fat components-monounsaturated fats and-3 unsaturated fatty acids. They are indeed high in calories, so learn to eat them wisely and moderately.
(1) You can add nuts, such as pine nuts and corn, to your daily dishes; It is also a good choice to add some nuts to salad and porridge.
(2) Please avoid nuts that are too salty or wrapped in sugar when purchasing.
(3) Bean products, such as tofu, contain amino acids needed by human beings and are good substitutes for meat.
Oils and fats
Oil is a necessary nutrient for the normal operation of the human immune system and can also help your body absorb certain vitamins. However, eating too much oil will increase the risks of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity.
(1) Saturated fat and trans fat are important [accomplices] to increase cholesterol level and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Please limit the intake of lard, butter, cream, etc.
(2) Learn to read food labels and buy foods with low saturated fat content and no trans fatty acids.
In DASH diet, you don’t need to break away from dessert completely. Relax and do not exceed 5 servings per week.
(1) Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, allow you to satisfy your sweet needs while avoiding extra calories. Therefore, you can use Coke Zero instead of ordinary Coke, but don’t use it instead of milk or plain boiled water.
(2) Reduce the intake of extra refined sugar as much as possible. They only provide calories and will not bring any additional nutrients.
Alcohol and caffeine
Excessive drinking will lead to an increase in blood pressure. DASH diet recommends that men should drink no more than 2 cups a day, while women should drink less than 1 cup a day.
DASH diet does not limit caffeine intake. At present, the effect of caffeine on blood pressure has not been determined in academia. If you already suffer from hypertension and are worried that coffee will affect blood pressure, it is recommended to consult a professional doctor.
Three Tips to Start DASH Diet
STEP 1 Take your time. Faster
You may have noticed that low-salt foods taste differently. If you find them too tasteless, gradually reduce the salt in your cooking until you reach your desired low-sodium goal. Don’t worry, you need to give your taste some time to adjust. Generally speaking, it may take weeks to get used to a low-salt diet.
Step 2: Add sports
In addition to DASH diet, moderate exercise can help you better control your blood pressure and keep healthy.
Step 3 Ask for help
If you encounter difficulties in adhering to DASH diet, please consult a professional doctor or nutritionist.