The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a dietary pattern promoted by the U.S. Based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent and control hypertension.
It is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans; and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats.
In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public.
DASH is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) as one of its ideal eating plans for all Americans.
The DASH diet is based on NIH studies that examined three dietary plans and their results.
Is the DASH diet good for hypertension?
None of the plans were vegetarian, but the DASH plan incorporated more fruits and vegetables, low-fat or nonfat dairy, beans, and nuts than the others studied.
The DASH diet reduced systolic blood pressure by 6 mm. Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mm. Hg in patients with high normal blood pressure (formerly called “pre-hypertension”).
Those with hypertension dropped by 11 and 6 mm Hg, respectively.
These changes in blood pressure occurred with no changes in body weight.
The DASH dietary pattern is adjusted based on daily caloric intake ranging from 1,600 to 3,100 dietary calories.
The DASH diet can lower your blood pressure as much as taking a medication
It was further tested and developed in the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart diet).
The DASH and DASH-sodium trials demonstrated that a carbohydrate-rich diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that is reduced in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol substantially lowered blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Is the DASH diet good for high blood pressure?
OmniHeart demonstrated that partial replacement of carbohydrate with either protein (about half from plant sources) or with unsaturated fat (mostly monounsaturated fat) can further reduce blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and coronary heart disease risk.
The DASH diet was ranked #1 for “Best Diet Overall” and “Healthy Eating”
In January 2016, DASH was named the number 1 for “Best Diets Overall” and “For Healthy Eating”, tied number 2 “For Diabetes”, and ranked number 3 “For Heart Health” (out of 38 diets tested) in the US News & World Report’s annual “Best Diets” rankings.
Two experimental diets were selected for the DASH study and compared with each other, and with a third: the control diet.
The control diet was low in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and fiber and featured a fat and protein profile so that the pattern was consistent with a “typical American diet at the time”.
First experimental diet
The first experimental diet was higher in fruits and vegetables but otherwise similar to the control diet (a “fruits and vegetable diet” ), with the exception of fewer snacks and sweets.
Magnesium and Potassium levels were close to the 75th percentile of U.S. consumption in the fruits-and-vegetables diet, which also featured a high fiber profile.
Second experimental diet
The second experimental diet was high in fruits-and-vegetables and in low-fat dairy products, as well as lower in overall fat and saturated fat, with higher fiber and higher protein compared with the control diet, this diet has been called “the DASH Diet”.
The DASH diet (or combination diet) was rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, a nutrient profile roughly equivalent with the 75th percentile of U.S. consumption.
It was also high in whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts while being lower in red meat content, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.
The DASH diet was based in epidemiologic studies
The DASH diet was designed to provide liberal amounts of key nutrients thought to play a part in lowering blood pressure, based on past epidemiologic studies.
One of the unique features of the DASH study was that dietary patterns rather than single nutrients were being tested.
The DASH diet is linked to better dental health
In a study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers with the Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study followed 533 men ages 47 to 90.
The men had dental exams every three years over a 20-year period.
A trained examiner checked the men for signs of root cavities, which can occur if the gums recede and expose the root surface.
The DASH diet to improve your root cavities and tooth loss
Root cavities lead to tooth loss, an outcome that most men understandably want to avoid.
The study used diet questionnaires to document the extent to which the men’s diet matched the DASH plan, which emphasizes fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, dietary fiber, whole grains, and limited added sugar.
Men whose diets most closely matched a DASH plan scored 30% lower on a scale that assessed the chance of developing new or repeat root cavities.
Sugar is your number one enemy but I am not talking about jelly donuts and candy canes here.
Is the DASH diet good for healthy weight loss?
There are plenty of foods disguised as health foods that quickly change to sugar in your body.
Orange juice, whole-wheat bread or cereals, things designated as low-fat like muffins and salad dressings too. The list goes on and on.
These are the foods that are actually causing you to gain, or at least not lose weight.
When that food hits your system, it turns to sugar.
What you need to be aware of is that not all carbs are created equal, and the ones that you’re eating thinking they’re healthy may be doing you more harm than good.