Heard of the DASH diet?

While you may think that this diet is associated with the famous Kardashian sisters, this is far from the truth. The DASH diet is actually a low-sodium eating plan which is flexible, balanced, and doesn’t actually feel like a diet at all.

The main objectives of the DASH diet are that it aims to reduce sodium to just 1,500 milligrams, which is much less in comparison to the 2,300mg average. How will the DASH diet work for you?

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How does it work?

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was formulated by the American National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent the rise of hypertension – but you can try the diet almost anywhere.

By eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole-grains and low-fat dairy foods, it will have you feeling energetic, and is designed to reduce blood pressure and create a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Does it work for everyone?

Since we’re all different, the DASH diet is split into two different ways. One is the standard diet where you can consume 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, and the second which is the lower sodium diet. It only allows for 1,500mg of sodium per day.

The lower sodium diet is encouraged for people over the age of 50, suffering from diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and people of colour. If you aren’t sure of the sodium count in your diet, it’s always best to consult your own general practitioner before embarking on a radical change in your diet. They will come up with something that fulfils your dietary requirements, without compromising your overall health.

What can you eat?

The DASH diet promotes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and also low-far dairy products. As a general rule, you can only eat sweets and red meat in small amounts since this could compromise good health. If you’re looking at adapting the DASH diet into your lifestyle, this is what a daily meal could look like:

Grains: 6-8 servings

Whole grains have a lot more fibre than any other meal, so it’ll be easier to keep your body regular throughout the day. Choose a breakfast meal which is filling such as cereal, and stick to products which market themselves as 100% whole grain.

Vegetables: 4-5 servings

Incorporate vegetables into all of your meals and snacks, since this probably forms the basis of the entire diet. Always keep your freezer stocked up with fresh and frozen options, since this will be much easier way to avoid extra sodium hidden in fast-food.

Fruits: 4-5 servings

Fruits are important since they are also packed with fibre, and make for quick and tasty snack if you’re constantly on-the-go. Always try and leave the skin on where possible, all of the extra vitamins and minerals are hidden in this part of the fruit.

Dairy: 2-3 servings

Choose low-fat options since the sodium and overall calorie count will be kinder to your body. Avoid fat-free options since the sodium count can often be higher.

Lean meat: 6 or fewer servings

Try and avoid making lean meat, poultry and fish the main part of your meals. Instead, try and enjoy them as a side with boiled vegetables since this will be healthier for your wellbeing. Choose salmon and tuna which are high in omega-3, and are a rich source of good cholesterol.

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