Improve Overall Health With the DASH Diet
By Rachel Carver
Many fad diets exist promising the establishment of healthier habits or weight loss. It can seem overwhelming to know what is right for you. Start by evaluating your health goals. Do you have high blood pressure? Do you want to lose weight? Answering these questions can help you choose the best lifestyle change to adopt.
If you answered yes to high blood pressure or have a history of heart problems in your family, you'll want to research the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
What Is the DASH Diet?
As a flexible eating plan, the DASH diet helps create a heart-healthy lifestyle and build habits you can keep. It does not require special foods or the total elimination of certain food groups. Following the DASH diet will also help you build nutritional goals. If you choose this diet, you will:
- Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Incorporate low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts into your weekly meal plans
- Reduce foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats and regular dairy products
- Limit sugar found in products such as soda and sweets
- Decrease your sodium
- Focus on foods with potassium, protein, calcium, and magnesium
The DASH diet provides many health benefits.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease. A blood pressure reading higher than 120/80 is considered high blood pressure. If more people with high blood pressure followed the DASH diet, deaths caused by cardio vascular disease could decrease by 400,000 over 10 years.
Lowers Blood Sugar
People with type 2 diabetes following the DASH diet can reduce the effects of insulin resistance. Lean proteins and complex carbs such as brown rice can keep you full longer while also preventing blood sugar swings.
Helps With Weight Loss
The main goal of the DASH diet is not to help with weight loss. However, if you follow the diet and reduce your calorie intake, it might have an impact. You should also focus on eating smaller portions more often, snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of chips, and getting regular exercise.
Here are other benefits of DASH.
- Reduces the risk of colorectal cancer
- Helps manage kidney disease
- Improves overall life expectancy
You should consult your doctor before starting any diet. Do your research, ask questions, and work with your doctor to determine if the DASH diet could help you.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mint Hill, N.C.