Although there have been major advances in modern medicine, good physical health remains directly linked to two things. They are committing to a sustainable healthy diet and a regular exercise routine. With the rapid national growth of chronic diseases like hypertension — currently, 1 out of 3 Americans have high blood pressure — associations like the National Institute of Health focused on a dietary approach that could prevent and help with such conditions. In this article, we will elaborate on the DASH diet and the benefits of implementing it to your lifestyle.
The DASH diet Eating Plan
What is the DASH diet? Originated in the 90s, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), is a dietary plan from which people can reduce systolic Blood Pressure. This diet mostly consists of the consumption of unprocessed foods. This includes the following foods: fresh fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, lean meat, and dairy products . Also, the DASH diet incorporates a reduction of 1500 mg of sodium per day.
Therefore, consider the following guidelines to build a DASH diet menu.
Healthy carbs supply micronutrients in our bodies. These are elements that our bodies’ metabolism requires in the preservation and development of the tissues that build up the organs in our bodies. Furthermore, they are an important source of energy supply.
The DASH diet includes carbohydrates like:
Vegetables: spinach, carrots, squash, kale, tomatoes, broccoli
Whole grains: oats, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, millets
Fruits with low glycemic index: cherries, grapefruit, pears, oranges, apples
Legumes: beans, peanuts, lentils, peas
The DASH diet aims to moderate the excessive consumption of saturated fats found in foods like margarine, red meat, and whole milk. DASH eating plans encourage the consumption of good fats. Good fats provide a big source of energy and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to overall health. Additionally, other benefits from consuming good fats are protection for memory loss, reduced risk of heart disease, and ease of inflammation.
Good fats included in the DASH diet are fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon or tuna, canola, olive, or sesame oil, avocados, nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, tofu.
A balanced diet containing the previously described foods should provide sufficient protein, nutrients, and energy for people to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Physical Activity for the DASH Eating Plan
A DASH eating plan should consider the energy balance. This is where the calories consumed depend on the physical activity level, age, and weight loss goals.
Physical Activity Levels
Sedentary: Low physical activity throughout the day. Involves doing little to no exercise such as taking a 15 min calm walk.
Moderate: Individuals who have a cardiorespiratory fitness routine for about 25–50 minutes, three to five times a week.
Vigorous: Investing most days of the week in 25–50 minutes of cardio-respiratory endurance exercise.
For the average adult — 30 to 50-year-old men or 20 to 40-year-old women — the physical activity, whether moderate or vigorous, is set around 50 minutes of physical exercise. For the elder, moderate activity is set on 25 minutes or less, while vigorous activity is set for more than 25 min.
Who Can Benefit From the DASH diet?
Although the DASH diet focuses on conditions like hypertension, the truth is that any person can benefit from it. Therefore, even children and elderly adults can benefit. Overall, a balanced DASH diet menu should improve and maintain the good health of individuals. Additionally, the DASH diet has been proven beneficial for patients dealing with weight management, type 2 diabetes, heart failure conditions, and colorectal cancer.
Consult with Z.E.N Foods nutritionists to help you build a healthy and satisfying DASH diet eating plan. Your health is our priority.