3 The DASH Diet
Published 05/02/2012 | 06:00
Here's the skinny: The DASH diet is recommended by US physicians for people with high blood pressure, after it was proven to lower hypertension in studies sponsored by the National Institute of Health.
Even those who don't have problems with blood pressure can benefit from its sound healthy eating principles.
Get your teeth into it
This is a low-salt eating plan based on plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy and whole grains.
Think of it as a variation on the Mediterranean diet theme: there's also lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts and beans on the menu too.
But as well as providing fantastic results in lowering blood pressure in just two weeks, everyone can benefit from its teachings: it's high in fibre, low in fat and sodium, and rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium.
The main key to the DASH plan's success is the strong support a diet like this can offer, regardless of your blood-pressure levels.
The book, 'The DASH Diet Action Plan', provides genuine solutions to make it easy for people to follow the diet -- it has 28 days of meal plans (with adjustments for various calorie levels), recipes, guidance for weight loss and, importantly, tips on how to eat at restaurants or fast food places and still stay on track.
It also shows you how to stock up your kitchen according to the regime, and how to read food labels to make good choices.
Add in exercise advice and other lifestyle changes and you've got a recipe for a much healthier you, with the added benefit that you'll look fantastic as well as feeling it.
Why you should try it
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend DASH as a model for healthy eating for everyone, meaning no more tricky mealtimes cooking different dinners for each member of the family.
As well as giving you lower blood pressure, it provides additional heart-health benefits by lowering cholesterol, and can also lower insulin resistance.
The book and website help you build your own method to suit you, tailoring the diet to your needs, and it's pretty flexible too, designed to meet the likes and dislikes of most people.
Why you shouldn't
Healthy doesn't have to equal preachy. Some might be tempted to rebel after reading the book's advice on other areas such as quitting smoking and moderating your alcohol intake.
If it's actual fast weight loss you're after, rather than a lifestyle shift towards a more wholesome way of living, it may not be the diet for you.
However, the book does include details on adding more exercise to help you shift the pounds a little faster.