Like many other healthy-eating programmes, the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet reduce harmful fats and encourage fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Both dietary methods have been shown to provide significant health advantages — in addition to weight loss — to patients with metabolic syndrome components.
- The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
The DASH diet is a long-term healthy eating plan that aims to cure or prevent high blood pressure (Hypertension). The DASH diet encourages you to eat a range of foods high in nutrients that assist lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium while reducing sodium in your diet.
You may be able to lower your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks if you follow the DASH diet. Your systolic blood pressure may drop by eight to fourteen points over time, which can substantially impact your health risks.
Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it has health benefits in addition to blood pressure reduction. The DASH diet also adheres to dietary guidelines for osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes prevention.
Sodium levels in the DASH diet
The DASH diet emphasises fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, fish, chicken, and nuts in moderate amounts.
There is a lower salt variation of the DASH diet and the conventional DASH diet. You can select the diet that best suits your health needs:
- Dietary guidelines for the DASH diet. A daily salt intake of up to 2,300 milligrammes (mg) is permissible.
- DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a low- A daily salt intake of up to 1,500 mg is permissible.
All individuals should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, according to the American Heart Association. Consult your doctor if you’re not sure what sodium level is best for you.
Both forms of the DASH diet attempt to minimise the quantity of sodium in your diet compared to a typical American diet, which can contain up to 3,400 mg of salt per day or more.
The conventional DASH diet complies with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation of keeping daily salt intake under 2,300 mg.
What to Eat on the DASH Diet
The DASH diet includes a lot of healthy grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products in both variants. Fish, poultry, and legumes are included in the DASH diet and a small number of nuts and seeds a few times a week.
Red meat, sweets, and fats can be consumed in moderation. Saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat are low in the DASH diet.
For the 2,000-calorie-a-day DASH diet, these are the recommended servings from each food group.
- 6–8 servings of grains per day
Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta are all grains. One slice of whole-wheat bread, 1-ounce dry cereal, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta are examples of one serving of grains.
Concentrate on whole grains, including more fibre and minerals than refined grains. Replace white rice with brown rice, whole-wheat pasta with standard pasta, and whole-grain bread with white bread. Look for products labelled “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat.”
Grains are naturally fat-free. Avoid butter, cream, and cheese sauces to keep them that way.
- 4 to 5 servings of vegetables every day
Tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, greens, and other vegetables are high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals like potassium and magnesium. One cup raw leafy green veggies or 1/2 cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables are examples of one serving.
Vegetables aren’t just for side dishes; a robust blend of vegetables served over brown rice or whole-wheat noodles may be the main course.
Both fresh and frozen vegetables are excellent options. When purchasing frozen or canned vegetables, look for those low in sodium or have no added salt.
Be inventive to boost the number of servings you consume regularly. For example, cut the amount of meat in half and double the vegetables in a stir-fry.
- 4 to 5 servings of fruits per day
Many fruits require little preparation to become a nutritious addition to a meal or snack. They’re high in fibre, potassium, and magnesium and are normally low in fat – except coconuts. One medium fruit, 1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, or 4 ounces of juice are examples of one serving.
Eat a piece of fruit with each meal and another as a snack, then finish the day with a dessert of fresh fruits topped with a dollop of low-fat yoghurt. When at all possible, use edible peels. Apple, pear, and most other fruits with pits have peels that lend texture to dishes while also providing nutrients and fibre. Citrus fruits and liquids, such as grapefruit, can interact with some drugs, so ask your doctor or pharmacist if they’re safe.
If you choose canned fruit or juice, ensure there is no added sugar.
- 2 to 3 servings of dairy per day
Calcium, vitamin D, and protein are abundant in milk, yoghurt, cheese, and other dairy products. But the trick is to choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products because otherwise, they can be a big source of fat – the majority of which is saturated.
Low-fat or fat-free frozen yoghurt can help you increase your daily intake while still providing a pleasant treat. Fruit can be added for a healthy twist.
If you have difficulties digesting dairy products, look for lactose-free options or take an over-the-counter lactase enzyme supplement to help alleviate or avoid lactose intolerance symptoms.
Regular and even fat-free cheeses are high in salt and should be avoided.
- Six servings of lean meat, poultry, and fish per day or less
Meat has a high protein, B vitamin, iron, and zinc content. Choose lean cuts and limit yourself to 6 ounces per day. By reducing your meat intake, you’ll be able to consume more vegetables.
Instead of frying in fat, trim the skin and fat from poultry and meat before baking, broiling, grilling, or roasting it.
Consume good seafood for your heart, such as salmon, herring, and tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in this fish, which can help decrease overall cholesterol.
- 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, and legumes each week
Magnesium, potassium, and protein are abundant in almonds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, peas, lentils, and other foods in this family. They’re also high in fibre and phytochemicals, which are plant substances that may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Because these foods are heavy in calories, serving sizes are minimal and meant to be consumed only a few times each week. 1/2 cup cooked beans or peas are all examples of one serving.
Nuts receive a poor rap because of their fat level, but they are high in monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, both good fats. They are, however, heavy in calories, so eat them in moderation. Stir them into stir-fries, salads, or breakfast cereals.
Tofu and tempeh, made from soybeans, can be a suitable meat substitute because they include all of the amino acids your body requires to form a complete protein, just like meat.