What’s the DASH diet, you ask? Well, some doctors call it one of the best diets out there right now because it’s an effective way to improve your overall physical health. The National Institutes of Health scored it as one of their most effective weight loss and health usefulness diets. Out of 39 diets evaluated by the U.S. News & World Report, it tied in the number one spot!
The DASH diet is an easy, safe, and useful plan that can help you live better and get rid of excess weight. You can lose weight gradually WITHOUT starving. The initials literally stand for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension“, meaning it was developed to reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension.
Read on to find out about the DASH diet.
What’s the DASH Diet All About?
The DASH diet balances all the necessary nutrients and minerals like calcium, potassium, protein, and fiber that are responsible for the body’s overall organ function. It improves the condition of your hair and skin, too.
What’s nice about this diet is that you don’t have to calculate and monitor each nutrient.
The most important thing is to reduce your salt intake and to eat certain recommended foods like: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein-rich foods, and dairy products.
Instead of calling it a diet, it should really be called a complete lifestyle change. It’s for people who want to take care of their eating habits throughout the rest of their lives.
A Few General Rules To Lose Weight
Losing weight is not always about controlling the quantity of the food you eat as much as it is about increasing the quality of the food.
Try to eat five times per day. One serving should be no more than 8.8 ounces; it’s better to have smaller portions but to eat more often.
Limit your daily calorie intake. This means to eat around 2000 to 2500 a day, depending on your body. If you love sweets (who doesn’t?), you’ll need to control yourself. You don’t have to stop eating sweet foods completely, but limit yourself to no more than five times per week.
Eat more cereals, seeds, beans, lean meats, and vegetables, and you should avoid drinking soda or alcohol. This is because too much alcohol elevates your blood pressure and harms your liver, heart, and brain.
Limit your snacks to no more than eight per day in between meals, and remember that tobacco use is prohibited.
Reduce your salt intake to only two to three teaspoons per day. Your diet should include whole wheat bread and limit smoked and fatty foods.
Drink 67 ounces (or about a half a gallon) of fluids per day. Ideally, this should be water or green tea; just limit the tea to no more than four cups a day.
What You Should Eat To Lose Fat
According to the DASH diet, to come up with a proper diet plan, you should keep in mind your goals. Do you want to lose weight or simply maintain your weight but become healthier? If you want to lose weight, your menu should contain fewer calories.
In other words, you will need to reduce the size of your servings. For anyone thinking about starting the DASH diet, here’s a list of great food options:
- Cereal/grains – not more than 7 servings per day. One serving could be a slice of bread, half a cup of cooked pasta, or half a cup of oatmeal, for example.
- Fruit – no more than 5 servings per day. One serving could be an apple, a quarter cup of dried fruit, or half a cup of juice.
- Vegetables – 5 servings in a day. Half a cup of steamed vegetables counts as a serving.
- Nonfat dairy products – 2-3 servings per day. For instance, 1.8 ounces of cheese or five ounces of milk would do just fine.
- Seeds, beans, and nuts – 5 servings a week. One serving is 1.4 ounces.
- Fats – 3 servings per day. This could be one teaspoon of olive oil.
- Sweet dishes – no more than 5 times a week, but a teaspoon of honey or jam is okay.
- Fluids – 67 ounces per day. Water is preferred, but green tea and juice work, too.
- Protein – 7 ounces of lean meat, fish, or eggs per day.
What Food You Should Avoid to Lose Weight
Of course, the DASH diet is a lifestyle change, so you’ll have to avoid all the typical unhealthy products: fast food, chips, smoked meats, some canned meats, fatty meat, candy, cookies, soft drinks, etc.
Because our bodies form a dependency on junk food, this step will be hard. You can eliminate these foods little by little, instead of trying to quit cold turkey (which would only be setting yourself up for failure). Taking baby steps over time will make your cravings disappear.
As with all diets, you should consult a physician before starting the DASH diet, especially if you have serious underlying health conditions.
When starting a diet, consider your goals, or, if you don’t have any, make one. You won’t see any progress or see how far you’ve come if you have nothing you’re working toward. A goal will help you push forward when the guaranteed tough times come. Also consider finding an accountability partner that you can check with and vice versa in case you do get off track.
Like we said, this diet is more of a lifestyle change since it takes a lifetime commitment to stick to healthy eating and workout habits. Whether you try it because you suffer from hypertension, or because you’re ready to make a healthy change in your life, let us know in the comments how it’s worked for you.
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