What To Know About The DASH Diet?

The field of medical science has been in the constant struggle for making things easier for people. We have been revealed with interesting findings that have proved to be groundbreaking. Findings have validated the benefits of certain techniques while exposing the harmful effects of others. It is to say that at no point today can we deny the importance of medical researches. For they have changed the way a layman leads his/her life.

The DASH Diet is a relatively new concept in the world of nutrition. A number of medical professionals all around the world believe that this diet can effectively be used to enhance overall body condition. The National Institute of Health assigns scores to certain diet plans on their ability to induce weight loss. Surprisingly, the DASH Diet was able to score 3.3 out of 5, falling a few points short of paleo.  It also scored 4 out of 5 in the “health usefulness” category. In another study published, out of 40 types of diet, the DASH diet was categorized as one of the most important components in sustaining a healthy living. So the question that arises: What is this diet?

What is the DASH Diet?

In simple terms, DASH diet qualifies as the type of nutrition plan that makes a person feel physically and emotionally fit. It is responsible for burning excessive fat and hence preventing from medical complications resulting from obesity. What really makes it different is its ability to induce weight loss in an utterly healthy manner. A person may not need to starve him/herself and may not cause any shock or stress the body out.

DASH is an abbreviation for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is responsible for causing abnormally high blood pressures. Thereby the diet is designed to cater to the problem in the most effective way possible. Although, the initial underlying purpose was to fetch a high blood pressure condition. It was about time when other advantages were realized. Medical Scientists in studying this dietary plan understood the other plethora of medical benefits that tagged along. DASH may:

  • Reduce high cholesterol levels
  • Lessens the chances of stroke
  • Fights against a number of cardiovascular diseases
  • Induces a gradual weight loss process bringing to a normal BMI level

Other Benefits

Dr Ariel Zisman practices endocrinology at The Endocrine Center of Aventura. In an interview, he categorized the DASH diet as being one major hindrance towards the development of diabetes related complications. He noticed that patients following it were able to maintain insulin resistance.

DASH diet is able to keep a balance in the composition of all major essential nutrients like fiber, protein, calcium, vitamins. These nutrients are responsible for assuring a healthy function of the brain and other organs in the body. In addition, if one is looking for ways to enhance skin improvement, then following the DASH procedures may be the right option.

One of the reasons this diet has gained prominence is because of the increased convenience. Unlike other nutrient plans, the person may not need to be calculative enough for measuring calorie intake of every meal ingested. All that’s required is following a low salt content and including certain food items. For example, fruits/vegetables, protein rich foods, and dairy products make up most of the DASH composition. Most of the other trendy/cliched dietary plans will instigate a crash change in the everyday lifestyle. On the contrary, DASH diet followers will (and have been) sustain a healthy pattern of living where other bodily complications are effectively ruled out. Interestingly, starving or excessive cutting back on some food items do not categorize this diet.

Guidlines to Follow

There are, however, a list of guidelines which one need to execute for maximizing the results obtained:

  • In DASH, the quality of the food outweighs the quantity. What a certain dish contains, holds much more importance compared to the serving size.
  • Keeping hydrated by drinking on average 70 ounces of fluid every day. Both tea and water can be used as suitable recommendations. Yet, nutritionists would strongly advise against drinking more than 4 cups of tea.
  • Eating in intervals (about five times a day). It is still recommended to have the above-mentioned food items compared to ones enriched with fat. The general rule goes by: have small portions of healthy items but eat more often
  • Excluding soft drinks and alcohol from the dietary plan. Not only these items are loaded with sugar but at the same time, they can amplify blood pressure. In addition, alcohol instills damage to the liver by causing Cirrhosis.
  • Smoking tobacco is out of the equation for the chemical substances are major contributors towards a range of serious medical complications. Of which increased hypertension is one.
  • Limiting salt intake to only two to three tablespoons every day. As the main purpose of DASH is to fight off blood pressure, it is imperative to keep a check on high levels of salt content
  • Using Whole Wheat Bread with fiber as opposed to any other type. Doing so will help achieve the wanted result at the same time assuring the risk of constipation is kept minimal.
Cravings and DASH Diet

People with a sweet tooth, who have urges to satiate themselves with sugary food substances, often find it difficult to follow DASH. This is because, nutritionists would ask to limit the amount of sugar intake. Not eradicating all sweet items completely. But it is better to be able to control the urge(s) in the best way possible. Fortunately, five times a week would not cause any significant harm.

The DASH Principles

The DASH principles broadly define two goals of following the techniques:

  1. To lose weight
  2. To follow a healthy lifestyle

One should ask the above questions and accordingly sort out the meal amendments. For attaining purpose (1), it is obvious to be able to cut down excessive calories. Although the serving size generally is not restricted with DASH, but for people looking to slim down may need to limit the quantity.

What to Eat?


Regardless of the two goals, the following food items will always make it to the list of food items that can be eaten:

  • As a precaution serving should not exceed 7. One serving size is equivalent to half a cup of oatmeal
  • No more than 5 servings in the form of one whole raw fruit or half a cup of juice
  • Eating Boiled Vegetables
  • Dairy Products. Nutritionists would advise on consuming fat-free dairy products and the limit should not exceed 1.8 ounces.
  • Seeds and beans. There is often no restriction to the amount of seeds/beans a person may consume in a given week.

DASH diet has certainly been one prominent discovery in the field of medical science providing with innumerable health benefits. Patients with Hypertension and Diabetes should seriously consider following the dietary plan to reduce the complications associated with the conditions. One extra advantage of following the techniques in an effective manner is that the person never feels hungry. The imbedded principle being satiating oneself with the right, quality food substances.



Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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