Should You Be on the DASH Diet?

This year’s trendy diet is actually not a diet at all. The DASH diet| which the US News and World Report routinely marks as the best overall diet every year| is actually a healthy-eating plan that includes sensible rules to cut salt| fats| and sugar and upping fruits and veggies in order to lower bad cholesterol levels and possibly lose weight. If you’re ready to try the diet that everyone’s talking about| read on for DASH’s highlights.

What Is the DASH Diet?

DASH| which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension| was developed by the National Heart| Lung| and Blood Institute in order to help people lower blood pressure. While it’s not a diet that promises rapid weight loss| many people do find success in dropping pounds slowly while following the DASH diet by cutting out the types of high-sugar| high-fat foods that aren’t allowed on the diet.

How to Do the DASH

Luckily| the DASH diet doesn’t include any gimmicks| powders or snack bars ?you just need fresh| whole foods and enough time to prepare healthy meals. In general| follow these guidelines:

    First| estimate how many calories you’ll need to maintain weight. For example| the DASH diet recommends that a sedentary 30-year-old woman eat 2|000 calories a day to maintain weight| while a moderately active woman would need up to 2|200 calories. Get the DASH diet’s recommended caloric intake to maintain weight here. Remember that you’ll need to subtract calories or up your activity level to create a calorie deficit if you’d like to lose weight. Once you know the amount of calories you’ll need| follow along to the DASH eating plan chart| which outlines how many servings of a food group you should eat per day. For a 2|000-calorie diet| for example| you’ll need six to eight servings of grains| four to five servings of vegetables| four to five servings of fruits| two to three servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy| and six or fewer servings of lean meats. It also recommends four to five servings of nuts a week| five or fewer sweets or added sugars per week| and two to three servings of fats and oils a day.Ensure you get only 2|300 milligrams of salt a day (about a teaspoon); eventually the DASH diet recommends you lower to under 1|500 milligrams a day.The DASH diet also recommends doing at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise in each day| which is similar to what the American College of Sports Medicine recommends to help lower your risk of diseases like cancer and heart conditions. If you’re trying to lose weight| DASH diet recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day.

While the DASH diet wasn’t created for weight loss| following these guidelines will help you eat healthier and cut out the junk ¡ª which often means a lower number on the scale as well. No matter what| you’ll definitely be helping your health| especially your heart| by changing your eating habits for the better. Tell us| have you ever tried the DASH diet?

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