The “DASH DIET” (Dietary Approaches to Hypertension) is very similar to “The Mediterranean Diet” I wrote about yesterday. “DASH” is all about your sodium intake and its effect on your blood pressure. Studies have shown that the “DASH Diet” may protect against hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and even cancer.
The main emphasis of the “DASH Diet” is maintaining your sodium intake at less than 2300 mgs daily. The low sodium version of the “DASH Diet” restricts sodium to less than 1500 mgs daily. As with the “Mediterranean Diet”, the “DASH” focuses on fruits, veggies and whole grains. The “DASH” has fewer restrictions on red meats, fish and poultry. A typical “DASH Diet” includes:
- Grains – 6-8 servings per day
- Veggies – 4-5 servings per day
- Fruits – 4-5 servings per day
- Dairy – 2-3 servings per day
- Lean Meat, poultry, fish – Less than 6 servings (1 ounce/serving) daily
- Nuts – 4-5 servings (handfuls) per week
- Fats and oils – 2-3 servings per day
- Sweets – Less than 5 servings a week
- Alcohol – Males get 2 drinks per day; females 1 per day
The DASH diet is not designed to lose weight. It assumes a daily intake of 2,000 calories. To lose weight, limit yourself to 1500 calories per day. Again, do not abandon your current diet as dramatic dietary changes are hard to maintain over the long term. Instead, set a long-term goal and work towards that goal. If you work hard at slowly changing old habits, you will be successful. If you have hypertension, focus your efforts on reducing your salt ingestion. I am a salt-o-holic and, after months of hard work, am now in the 2,300 mg range. If I can do it, so can you.