A new study conducted by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago discovered that people who followed the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH were found to have lower chances of developing depression.
The study evaluated 964 individuals with a median age of 81 annually for an average of six-and-a-half years. Results of the study revealed that the odds of becoming depressed over time was 11 percent lower among people who followed the DASH diet, as compared to individuals who didn’t follow the diet plan. Moreover, the study also revealed that individuals who followed a diet high in saturated fats and red meat and low in fruits and vegetables were more likely to develop depression.
What is the DASH diet?
While there are plenty of diet plans out there that suggest food for weight loss, the DASH diet focuses on consuming fruits and vegetables together with low-fat or nonfat dairy, lean meats, and staying away from food that are high in salt and sugar. This diet plan was originally created to help people experiencing high blood pressure.
Moreover, the DASH diet is based on a research study called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension which was sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The diet involves doesn’t just involve the traditional low salt or low sodium diet advice, but is also based on a diet plan that is proven to lower blood pressure by eating food including fruits, vegetables, and lowfat or nonfat dairy. It also emphasizes on whole grains and less refined grains compared to other diets.
Health benefits of the DASH diet plan
There are several benefits to following the DASH diet plan. Among these are:
Lower blood pressure
For individuals who are taking medication to control their blood pressure or managing symptoms of prehypertension, the DASH diet is a good option to compliment their treatment. The DASH diet can help reduce blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks. Over time, the systolic blood pressure would have dropped by eight to 14 points.
While the DASH diet was originally designed to improve blood pressure, weight loss is one of the favorable side effects of the diet. This is because the diet eliminates empty carbohydrates by focusing on vegetables, fruits, protein, and heart-healthy fats which can help keep hunger at bay while reducing caloric intake.
Because the DASH diet plan involves eating whole grains, this additional boost in fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Men should aim for 38 grams of fiber per day, while women should receive 25 grams per day. Moreover, the diet also helps to reduce triglyceride and “bad” cholesterol levels which is beneficial at the early weeks of pregnancy.
This list of cholesterol lowering foods is a great place to start!
Improves kidney health
The DASH Diet has been linked to the prevention of kidney stones. The food that constitute the DASH diet prevents excess deposits of minerals that lead to painful kidney stones. Because high sodium is linked to kidney failure, it can also dehydrate the body and overwork the kidneys.
Another benefit of the DASH diet is that it helps prevent certain types of cancer. The high content of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains means more fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that eliminate free radicals.
DASH diet for weight loss
Weight loss is a desirable side effect of the DASH diet. Because the diet study revealed that adults who did the DASH diet lost more weight between eight to 24 weeks than as opposed to those who followed low-calorie diets. That said, the DASH Diet is simply about making and sticking to a flexible eating plan.that are rooted in proven nutritional advice, the DASH diet is highly recommended by doctors, dieticians, and other health professionals in the United States. A
DASH diet for hypertension
High blood pressure or hypertension is often dubbed as a “silent killer” as it can happen without any warning signs or symptoms. The common but all too dangerous condition means that the pressure of the blood in blood vessels is higher than normal and if not treated right away, could lead to heart disease and stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in three American adults or 75 million people have high blood pressure. Sadly, only half or 54 percent are addressing the issue.
The DASH Diet is specifically designed to treat hypertension. Along with exercise, introducing to your diet plan and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, fish, poultry, nuts, and fat-free or low-fat milk products can do wonders for your overall health.
DASH Diet Plan
Following the DASH diet plans is easy and the food that you will need can easily be sourced at the grocery and involves different food groups. If you’re convinced on trying the DASH diet plan, here’s a printable DASH guide that can help you jumpstart your weight loss journey.
|Vegetables||Bread and Cereal||Fruits||Meat and Poultry|
|Artichokes||Bagels||Apples||Beef (flank, round or sirloin)|
|Asparagus||Bread||Apricots||Ground or lean beef, turkey, chicken|
|Beets||English muffin||Bananas||Skinless chicken or turkey|
|Broccoli||Pizza crust||Cherries||Pork Tenderloin|
|Brussels Sprouts||Tortilla||Citrus||Plain fish fillet|
|Cabbage||Bran Cereal||Dates||Sliced deli meat|
|Carrots||Whole Grain Cereal||Figs||Salmon|
|Potatoes or sweet potatoes|
|Grains||Dairy||Frozen Food||Canned Goods|
|Barley||Buttermilk||Chicken breast (skinless)||Applesauce|
|Brown Rice||Cheese (Hard) Reduced-fat cheddar, monterey jack, parmesan||Fish fillets||Beans and lentils|
|Couscous||Cheese (Soft) blue, goat cheese feta||French toast||Broth|
|Oats||Milk||100% fruit juice||Salmon or tuna|
|Pasta||Flavoured milk||100% fruit juice bars||Soup (lor or reduced sodium)|
|Wild Rice||Margarine||Vegetables||Tomato paste|
|Mozzarella||Veggie Burgers||Tomato Sauce|
|Condiments||Packed snacks||Nuts and Seeds||Herbs and Spices|
|Chili sauce or hot sauce||Dried fruit||Cashews||Basil|
|Fruit-only or low-sugar spreads||Popcorn||Hazelnuts||Bay leaf|
|Hummus||Pretzels||Nut butter||Cayenne pepper|
|Marinara sauce||Peanuts||Chili flakes|
|Salad dressing (vinaigrette or low fat)||Coriander|
|Sun-dried tomatoes||Curry Powder|
How much servings do you need?
It’s also important to note that the DASH diet will work if moderation is taken into consideration. As a general rule:
Grains: 7-8 daily servings
Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings
Fruits: 4-5 daily servings
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings
Meat, poultry, and fish: 2 or less daily servings
Nuts, seeds, and dry beans: 4-5 servings per week
Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings
Sweets: Limit but less than 5 servings per week
To give you a better idea on “servings” here is a sample of one serving:
½ cup cooked rice or pasta
1 slice bread
1 cup raw vegetables or fruit
½ cup cooked veggies or fruit
8 ounces of milk
1 teaspoon of olive oil
3 ounces of cooked meat
3 ounces of tofu