The DASH Diet Food Plan For Weight Loss


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.

Weight loss

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.

Lower cholesterol

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.

Prevents Cancer

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 involves making changes 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 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.

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.

VegetablesBread and CerealFruitsMeat and Poultry
ArtichokesBagelsApplesBeef (flank, round or sirloin)
AsparagusBreadApricotsGround or lean beef, turkey, chicken
BeetsEnglish muffinBananasSkinless chicken or turkey
Bell peppersPitaBerriesEggs
BroccoliPizza crustCherriesPork Tenderloin
Brussels SproutsTortillaCitrusPlain fish fillet
CabbageBran CerealDatesSliced deli meat
CarrotsWhole Grain CerealFigsSalmon
CauliflowerLowfat granolaGrapesShrimp
Cucumbers Mango 
Eggplant Melons 
Green Beans Peaches 
Jicama Papaya 
Mushrooms Pears 
Leafy Greens Pineapple 
Leeks Plums 
Lettuce Prunes 
Onions Raisins 
Potatoes or sweet potatoes   
GrainsDairyFrozen FoodCanned Goods
BarleyButtermilkChicken breast (skinless)Applesauce
Brown RiceCheese (Hard) Reduced-fat cheddar, monterey jack, parmesanFish filletsBeans and lentils
CouscousCheese (Soft) blue, goat cheese fetaFrench toastBroth
BuckwheatCottage cheeseFruitChilis
OatsMilk100% fruit juiceSalmon or tuna
PastaFlavoured milk100% fruit juice barsSoup (lor or reduced sodium)
Wild RiceMargarineVegetablesTomato paste
 MozzarellaVeggie BurgersTomato Sauce
 Sour creamWaffles 
CondimentsPacked snacksNuts and SeedsHerbs and Spices
Bean dipCrackersAlmondsAllspice
Chili sauce or hot sauceDried fruitCashewsBasil
Fruit-only or low-sugar spreadsPopcornHazelnutsBay leaf
HummusPretzelsNut butterCayenne pepper
Marinara sauce PeanutsChili flakes
Mayonnaise PecansChili powder
Mustard SeedsChives
Oil Soy NutsCilantro
Pesto WalnutsCinnamon
Fresh salsa  Cloves
Salad dressing (vinaigrette or low fat)  Coriander
Soy sauce  Cumin
Sun-dried tomatoes  Curry Powder
Vinegar  Dill
   Sesame seeds

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

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