Monday, July 30, 2012

What's The Deal With The DASH Diet?

US News released their top rated diets of 2012 and at the top of their list was the DASH diet. No surprise for us, we’ve been counseling clients on this diet for years.

So what the heck is it?

It stands for Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension.

Basically it was developed to reduce blood pressure (aka hypertension) and does it ever! In fact, it can lower blood pressure by 8 to 14 points. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure it is still a great diet plan to follow and will help prevent chronic disease (think stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis). And yes, I know what you are thinking….it can also help with weight loss, if you aim for the lower end of the serving ranges.
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How does it compare to Canada’s Food Guide?

We like it better because it’s more specific. For example, the DASH diet recommends 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds and legumes (beans) per week, whereas the Food Guide lumps these foods in with all the other animal proteins which isn’t right in our books. It also gives guidelines for how much sugar/sweets you should be eating….the Food Guide doesn’t.

The DASH Diet Summarized:

Vegetables – 4-5 servings per day (1 cup raw leafy veg or ½ cup cut up raw or cooked)

Fruits – 4-5 per day (1 medium sized, ½ cup cut up or ¼ cup dried)

Grains –  6- 8 servings per day (1 slice bread, ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, cereal)

Low fat milk or milk alternatives – 2-3 per day (1 cup milk or yogurt, 1.5 oz cheese)

Fish, poultry or lean meat – 2 or less  per day (3 oz cooked or 2 eggs) *fish at least 2x per week

Nuts, seeds and legumes  – 4-5 per week (1/3 cup nuts or seeds, ½ cup cooked beans, 2 tbsp nut butter)

Fats and oils – 2-3 per day (1 tsp veg oil or margarine, 1 tbsp mayo, 2 tbsp salad dressing)

Sweets and sugar – 5 or less per week (1 tbsp sugar, honey or jam, ½ cup sorbet)

*Also remember to limit sodium (salt) to get the best health and blood pressure lowering effects
For more info on the DASH diet, check out this article

We leave you with wise words from Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine.”

--- A & M, GetRealGurls Nutrition

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