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The DASH diet. What you need to know

The DASH diet. What you need to know

The DASH diet has been voted the best overall diet by U.S. News for 8 years running. Recommended by doctors and dieticians, it’s designed to lower high blood pressure and support heart health.

WHAT DOES DASH STAND FOR?

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It was originally designed for people with high blood pressure but it’s effective for anyone looking to build muscle, tone up or lose a few pounds. Who doesn't want to do that?

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

Increased consumption of fibre can help you shed pounds. It also manages your blood glucose levels, reduces LDL cholesterol levels and improves HDL levels. This reduces your risk of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

The focus on wholegrains, fruit and veg, nuts and legumes will boost your intake of essential nutrients.

You will also have more energy because your blood sugar will remain stable.

Your digestion will improve and the extra intake of calcium and potassium from increased proteins will help delay bone weakening such as osteoporosis.

WHAT CAN YOU EAT?

The DASH diet is based on wholefoods and lightly or unprocessed foods.

First, eat plenty of vegetables! The guidelines state at least 5 servings of vegetables daily, which could be a salad with at least 2 cups of vegetables for lunch, then 2 cups of cooked vegetables for dinner. Even office snacks can be healthy options.

You should also eat plenty of complex carbs, legumes and nuts, which should provide you with around 60 grams of protein each day, Then 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy and up to 6 ounces per day of lean protein like chicken, fish and eggs.

WHAT CAN’T YOU EAT?

The DASH diet is one of the few diets to not cut down on any food, except salt, fats, sugar and red meat.  One of the main limitations is salt, and you should restrict yourself to 2,300mg (1 tsp) per day.

As most processed foods contain salt and sugar be prepared to do a lot more cooking. Eating out will also be more challenging. It’s a great time to try out some of our healthy recipes and experiment with herbs and spices.

HOW LONG SHOULD I DO IT FOR?

As long as you like! The DASH diet can be a lifelong change to your eating habits. Add in regular exercise and all those benefits will soon clock up to an amazingly healthy body.

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

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