DASH in to healthful eating
What is the best diet to follow? Many Americans ask that question every day.
In January, the DASH diet was named the top diet overall and for healthy eating, tied for No. 2 for diabetes diets and ranked third for heart health by U.S. News and World Report. This is the sixth year in a row that DASH has ranked No. 1.
By following the DASH plan, you might be able to lower your blood pressure in just 14 days. Over time, it might continue to drop more, which provides significant heart-health benefits. It can also improve one’s response to blood-pressure medication.
DASH is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps creates a heart-healthy eating style for life. It is based on common foods found in grocery stores and does not require supplements or specialty foods. It is low in sodium, high in fiber and rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium.
The plan includes:
• Eating vegetables, fruits and whole grains
• Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oils
• Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel and palm
• Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets
The DASH eating plan has been endorsed by other health organizations, including the Mayo Clinic; American Heart Association; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Changing behaviors can be difficult, but shifts in eating behavior can occur over time by making small changes daily.
Try adding an extra serving of vegetables to each meal. Limit the amount of meat you eat to two servings each day. Instead of high-sodium, high-fat snacks, have fruit, which is easy to prepare and take with you. When baking, decrease the amount of butter or margarine in recipes. Instead of drinking soda and other sugary drinks, try low-fat milk or water.
Small steps can make a big difference in your health.
The DASH Diet is an easy way to help maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle. The eating plan is simple to follow and is good for the whole family.
For more information and menu samples, go to www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash/followdash.