DASH Diet Improves Overall Health, Fights Hypertension

DASH diet, a health plan developed to fight high blood pressure and heart disease, was ranked as the best diet plan by experts in diet and nutrition.

The government-endorsed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension originally began as a way to lower high blood pressure, according to an International Business Times report.

It beat out other diet plans, such as the TLC diet and the Mayo Clinic diet.

It encourages people to eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce the intake of meats and fats. It also incorporates blood pressure-fighters in their systems. The diet advises cutting foods in high fat and cholesterol and cutting out the consumption of sweets and salts. Those foods are replaced with low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish or poultry, and nuts.

According to a chart on dashdiet.org, the plan calls for people with a calorie intake of 2,000 per day, to consume at least 3 whole grain foods per day, 4-5 servings of fruit, 4-5 servings of vegetables, no more than 2 servings of lean meat or fish, 4-5 servings of nuts, seed and legumes.

DASH requires its users to add foods that are rich in “nutrients of concern,” like fiber for digestion, potassium for lower blood pressure and decreasing bone loss, calcium for strong bones, blood vessels and muscles, vitamin B-12 for cell metabolism and vitamin D for regulating calcium and phosphates in the body.

It is not a diet plan that includes an exercise plan, however, it recommends and encourages a more active lifestyle. It can help weight-loss efforts in the long-term sense due to the overall healthy eating advice. Rather than offering a points system or meal plan, it asks its users to examine labels for calories, fat content, vitamins and minerals and protein.

In contrast to other diets, DASH can easily be customized for vegetarians. In fact, the plan was originally modeled around a vegetarian lifestyle, since they consume less salt and have lower blood sugars than meat-eaters.

It is ranked #1 overall in best diets, #9 in best weight loss diets, #3 in best heart-healthy diets, #1 in best diets for healthy living and #1 in best diabetes diets, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The downfalls of the diet are that it can be difficult to follow and it can be pricey.

According to DASH’s website, the plan is proven to improve health. It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and is associated with lower risk of several types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney stones and reduced risk of developing diabetes. It has proven to lower blood pressure in just two weeks, according to DASH’s website.

It is a physician-recommended diet for people with hypertension or pre-hypertension, according to dashdiet.org. It has also been endorsed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American heart Association, the 2010 Dietary Guideline for Americans and the Guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure.