Looking for a heart-healthy way to eat a balanced, flexible diet that requires no special foods? The DASH eating plan might be for you! DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Researchers developed it more than 20 years ago. It is an eating plan that is based on research sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Studies show that DASH lowers high blood pressure and improves levels of cholesterol. This reduces the risk of getting heart disease. According to the NHLBI, adults who follow DASH without altering sodium intake can lower their blood pressure within weeks.
The DASH diet plan is all about filling our plate with healthy, wholesome foods.
- Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and whole-grains
- Includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- Limits foods that are high in saturated fat. These foods include fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils.
- Limits sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets
The DASH eating plan is just one part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Other lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can also help lower blood pressure.
NIH – supported DASH diet tops rankings for “heart-healthy” and “healthy eating”. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. [cited 2022 Jan 11] Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2021/nih-supported-dash-diet-tops-rankings-heart-healthy-and-healthy-eating