The Dash diet born in the United States around the 90s is followed by many Americans, who consider it one of the best diets in the world because you can lose weight and at the same time combat hypertension. With the acronym DASH meaning Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension refers to a particular diet designed with the aim of preventing and stopping the spread of rampant hypertension in Western countries especially in the US.
Recall that hypertension is meant a constant state not occasional one in which the blood pressure is higher than 90 mm Hg diastolic and systolic and blood pressure higher than 140 mmHg as compared to the standard physiological measure considered normal.
The Dash Diet is aimed at restoring and maintaining normal levels of blood pressure in those areas where this is due to an unhealthy lifestyle and an unregulated diet, while it is less effective when hypertension depends on secondary pathologies or strong genetic component. At the base of the DASH diet principles are very similar to those of our Mediterranean diet by increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables at the expense of foods high in fat, sodium and sugar. This food program can serve not only to relieve the symptoms of hypertension, but also to keep fit and healthy.
The DASH diet is a diet of low fat and low salt, two features that make it the perfect solution for those suffering from cardiovascular diseases, but also for those who want to lose weight or just stay healthy and prevent many cardiovascular disorders and serious diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Following the principles of the DASH diet means adopting a type of diet with healthy balance that may represent a real life choice.
After four weeks of diet, a person can lose 3 to 4 kg of body weight, and the level of sodium in the blood will be significantly decreased as also feel less bloated and heavy, because it will also lower water retention, a problem that affects mostly women and is closely related to the amount of salt intake. The overall health will be greatly improved.
Before adopting a diet of this type it may be useful to consult a nutritionist or a dietician, to check that the body is actually ready to support a more restrictive diet. As already stated, the DASH diet is a plan to reduce the consumption of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to replace them with healthier foods. Go ahead then to vegetables to be consumed several times a day. During the week we will never do without tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, beets, squash, asparagus and fennel.
A breakfast and snack is a good idea but never miss a fruit, preferably in season ones. Yes citrus, cherries, strawberries, apricots and bananas. It’s also advised to consume a small amount about 30 grams of dry fruit every day. Walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds provide a valuable input of omega 3 fats, which have protective function for heart diseases.
Also eat legumes like lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas and beans at least five times a week. We replace carbohydrates from refined flour with those from wheat flour. The milk and dairy products should be consumed in moderation. Its better to choose milk, low-fat yogurt and fresh soft cheeses. The proteins that we need can be taken with dairy products and vegetables as also we can find them in fish and white meat but it is better to avoid red meat.
Here we suggest a menu developed referring to the fundamental principles of the DASH diet:
Breakfast: a cup of skimmed milk with a handful of bran cereal, a glass of grapefruit juice, and two slices wholemeal bread with two teaspoons of honey.
Lunch: 80 grams of whole wheat pasta with peas, tomato and cucumber salad dressed with oil and vinegar, nuts, and a fruit to taste
Snacks: a jar of yogurt with three tablespoons of muesli, and an apple
Dinner: 200 grams of chicken, mixed salad or a plate of boiled fennel, 60 grams of bread, 30 grams of cheese, and a fruit to taste
To increase the benefits brought by this food program, you should drink at least a litre and a half of water per day natural, not to exceed with the consumption of oil (2-3 tablespoons per day) and use less salt as much as possible.
A DASH Diet Meal Recipe
The legumes are valuable allies of the line and of health and are a main food of the DASH diet. For this we propose a dish that you can eat for lunch or dinner that is the beans stew, a tasty dish, light and with a high satiating power.
For preparation, we need an onion, 300 grams of beans, a few bay leaves and tomato paste.
For cooking sauté the onion in two tablespoons of oil. When the onion begins to brown, add the beans, bay leaf and a teaspoon of tomato paste. Add a little oil, pepper and a little salt. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans become soft on the palate.
A DASH Diet Weekly Plan
- Breakfast: 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 3 slices wholemeal bread with 30 grams of jam, a fresh pineapple, green tea or coffee without sugar.
- Mid-morning: 1 fresh in season fruit.
- Lunch: 200 grams of green salad and tomatoes, a wholemeal bun with a burger from 80 grams of lean meat, salad and tomato, a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.
- snack: one cup low-fat yogurt
- Dinner: soup with 60 grams of legumes (chickpeas, lentils or beans) with 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce and spices, 60 grams of ricotta cheese, 200 grams of steamed spinach.
- Breakfast: 150 grams of skim milk, 30 grams of whole grains, fresh grapefruit juice, green tea or coffee without sugar.
- Mid-morning: 1 fresh in season fruit.
- Lunch: 150 grams of chicken breast irons, mixed salad of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, celery, fennel and cucumber (depending on season), 1 slice 30 grams of whole grain bread.
- snack: 1 cup low-fat yogurt and nuts 2 or 4 dried almonds
- Dinner: 60 grams wholemeal spaghetti with seasonal vegetables and a teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese, 150 grams of steamed fennel, 1 apple.
- Breakfast: 150 grams of skimmed milk with a banana or other in season fruit smoothie, green tea or coffee without sugar.
- Mid-morning: 1 cup low-fat yogurt white, 2 or 4 dried almonds.
- lunch: a sandwich with 2 slices of whole grain bread or cereal, a layer of cottage cheese or low-fat cheese, 50 grams of chicken breast, a salad and a slice of fresh tomato, 100 grams of carrots and 100 grams of celery dip with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, but no salt spices to taste.
- snack: 1 fresh in season fruit or carrots
- Dinner: 160 grams of noodles, 100 grams of baked potatoes with rosemary, 200 grams of fried spinach
- Breakfast: 150 grams of milk with 40 grams of oat bran, 2 kiwi or two plums, green tea or coffee without sugar.
- Mid-morning: 1 cup low-fat yogurt white.
- Lunch: 80 grams of rice with artichokes, 200 grams of mixed green salad, 1 apple
- Mid-afternoon: a fruit or fresh green vegetables of your choice, two nuts.
- Dinner: 150 grams of Grilled chicken breast, 200 grams of mixed grilled vegetables without salt, 1 orange
- Breakfast: one cup low-fat yogurt with fruit, 30 grams of wheat toast with 2 teaspoons of fruit jam, green tea or coffee without sugar
- snack: 1 fresh in season fruit
- lunch: a toast with 2 slices of whole wheat bread toasted, 60 grams of ham and 30 grams of low fat cottage cheese, hearty salad of lettuce, carrots, celery, tomatoes, 1 slice of fresh pineapple
- snack: one cup low-fat yogurt with 4 dried almonds
- Dinner: 60 grams of whole wheat spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and spices, 200 grams of steamed beets, 1 pear.
- Breakfast: 150 grams of skim milk, 30 grams of whole grains, 2 kiwis, green tea or coffee without sugar
- Mid-morning: 1 fruit and a cup of yoghurt
- Lunch: 120 grams of grilled fish, 200 grams of steamed broccoli, 1 slice 30 grams of whole grain bread
- Snack: 1 seasonal fruit, 4 dried almonds
- Dinner: 60 grams of rice with 80 grams of shrimp, fennel 1 and 2 stalks of celery in vinegar, seasonal fruit salad
- Breakfast: 1 cup low-fat yogurt with fruit or cereal, 1 banana, 2 biscuits, green tea or coffee without sugar
- Mid-morning: 2 tablespoons of almonds and nuts
- Lunch: 70 grams of green lasagne seasoned with no butter sauce made with milk and flour, peas, ham cubes, mixed vegetables and two teaspoons of grated cheese, 150 grams of tomato with fresh basil.
- Snack: 1 carrot and celery.
- Dinner: 150 grams not smoked fish fillet grilled or baked, 1 baked potato with the skin, 150 grams of beets or steamed fennel, 1 cup of berries without sugar.
The main rules to follow the Dash Diet are as follows:
1. Drastically reduce the sodium in your diet. This means to use little or no salt for seasoning preferring flavourings or spices, and consume few rich foods such as meats and sausages seasoned salt, cheese, snacks, packaged snacks and sauces (as sodium is often used as a preservative), nuts, in particular those which contain glutamate;
2. Consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables, rich in water. Avoid precooked soups and vegetables, and it is always better to eat fresh green vegetables;
3. Consume whole low-glycemic grains and legumes to control insulin;
4. Consume oily nuts, olive oil and oily fish which contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system;
5. Prefer foods rich in magnesium and potassium because they have a positive effect on blood pressure regulation;
6. Avoid saturated fats and simple sugars by limiting red meat and fatty meats, sausages, white sugar and sweets;
7. Avoid all foods preserved in salt or brine and those smoked;
8. Drink 1.5-2 litres of water a day.
The fresh or frozen fish, or partially skimmed milk and cheese, but in small portions, are all foods that should not be missing on the tables of couples, of those who choose to follow the principles of the Indian diet, with a healthy balanced diet to maintain a perfect heart.
The first rule would be to check the weight on a scale, at least once a month, to check the body, whether it is overweight or underweight, compared to our body mass index, which is the ratio between weight in kilograms and height in meters elevated to the square. In either case, we would follow a balanced diet, to resume calmly the weight.
We would also move a little more than usual every day, preferring, for example, the stairs to the elevator or walking than the car as also avoid strong and unbalanced diets by choosing the food carefully with lots of cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruits to be consumed several times a day.
To flavour soups and salads, we would avoid adding oils and fats, and replace with herbs and spices. Ditto for bread and pasta, rice and other cereals, we will eaten in their entirety. Finally, we would consume products obtained from wholemeal flour in place of those prepared with bran or other fibre. We would limit the consumption of butter, lard, bacon and cream and all animal fats and replace them with extra virgin olive oil and seed oils.
We would use raw condiments and avoid fried foods as much as possible, definitely better than steamed or baked in foil with non-stick pans and microwaves. We would not miss fresh fish on the table, at least two or three times a week and lean meat when there is not need to remove any visible fat. We would limit its consumption, especially in the case of mutton.
We would consume eggs up to four per week, added in the various recipes. We would consume skimmed or partly skimmed milk which still contains its amount of calcium along with lean cheeses. In any case, we would read the labels, to know how many and which fats are contained in the packets purchased.
Salt raises blood pressure, so we would reduce gradually, both at the table and while cooking and prefer, the salt enriched with iodine. We would use sparingly nuts, mustard and tomato sauce or soy, the alternative seasonings that contain sodium. We would replace the salt and seasonings with herbs or spices light greens for garlic, onion, parsley and basil as well as pepper, paprika, saffron and curry.
To flavour dishes, we would opt for lemon and vinegar and consume sugars in moderation, in the right quantities. Among the desserts, we would prefer the baked ones such as biscuits and cakes not stuffed, containing less fat and sugar and more starch. We would limit the consumption of delicacies for spreading on bread, including jams and creams.
We would drink plenty of water, two litres a day on average frequently, in small amounts and slowly trying to anticipate the feeling of thirst. We would maintain proper water balance in the body, especially the intake of water, is that the bottled than tap water, both secure and controlled. We would not substitute with fruit juices or other drinks that contain other active substances such as caffeine or calories.
We would consume Alcoholic beverages in moderation, with meals or immediately before or after them and prefer those containing little alcohol, such as beer and wine.
The Dash Diet can then be followed to lose weight, because it is rich in foods low in calories and high amount of water and fibre, and is low in simple sugars and saturated fats that are replaced by unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in oily fish and nuts. The result is a gradual and balanced weight loss, controlling cholesterol levels and insulin spikes.
In a month, following a diet based on the rules of the Dash Diet by daily intake of about 1400 calories, it is estimated that you can be able to lose up to 4 kg with a few sacrifices, checking at the same time the blood pressure levels.