How does the DASH diet work, what is allowed and what is forbidden?

The DASH diet was specifically developed for people with hypertension (high blood pressure). Nevertheless, thanks to numerous health benefits, it is suitable as a permanent form of nutrition even with normal blood pressure values. FITBOOK explains, among other things, how the DASH diet works, what benefits it offers and lists foods that are allowed or taboo.

Due to its nutritional benefits, the DASH diet has been crowned the healthiest diet several times. In fact, the low-salt diet offers some advantages and is considered one of the most sensible concepts for losing weight.

Who Invented the DASH Diet?

“DASH” stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and translated means: nutritional approaches to stop high blood pressure. The diet was developed by the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) as essential for high blood pressure management.

The nutritional concept is also recommended as a preventative measure for people with elevated blood pressure.

What does the DASH diet promise?

The DASH diet combines two main goals: while on the one hand high blood pressure is to be reduced, the second is weight reduction. As a nutrition-dependent disease, high blood pressure often occurs in connection with overweight or obesity, so that both goals complement each other in a meaningful way.

Interesting in this context: Losing excess weight is already a first step towards improving blood pressure levels in a targeted manner. According to the German Hypertension League, calorie intake does not even have to be restricted for weight reduction: Less salt is consumed with the same calorie intake, and at the same time the culinary focus is on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and fish – with the result that you lose weight and at the same time also does something for his heart health.

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How does the DASH diet work?

In contrast to dubious ones Crash diets the DASH nutrition concept is suitable as a long-term diet and is based on a balanced, low-salt and wholesome selection of foods. The NHLBI’s DASH meal plan is equal parts low-fat, flexible, and straightforward.

In order for hypertensive and overweight people to optimize their blood pressure values ​​and achieve a healthy normal weight, the nutritional concept is based on three basic rules:

  1. Reduction of salt, sugar, red meat and alcohol
  2. Regular consumption of vegetables, fruit, salad and whole grains*
  3. No hydrogenated vegetable fats**

* moderate amounts of (white) meat and fish are also allowed
** including coconut oil, palm oil, finished products

At the beginning of the diet, depending on age and activity level, it is determined how high the individual calorie intake should be while losing weight. The activity level is divided into three groups:

  1. mostly sitting
  2. moderate activity
  3. active

The determined energy requirement is then sensibly divided between the individual food groups such as cereals, vegetables and low-fat dairy products – taking into account a low-salt diet.

Warning: The following information relates to US serving sizes based on the recommendations of the NHLBI. Different information applies in Germany: For example, the eight to ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day become “5 a day” here (see below).

Procedure of the DASH diet

  • Determination of the energy consumption
  • Salt reduction through alternative seasoning
  • 6 to 8 servings of grains per day
  • 4 to 5 servings of vegetables per day
  • 4 to 5 servings of fruit per day
  • 2 to 3 servings of high-quality vegetable oil
  • about 2 servings of low-fat dairy products per day
  • max. 6 servings of fish, poultry or meat per week
  • max. 5 servings of sweets per week
  • 4 to 5 servings of nuts, legumes and seeds per week
  • physical exercise and relaxation
  • Tobacco overview
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Tip: In order to make the change in diet as pleasant as possible, it is recommended to gradually change your eating habits. The taste of the food should not be spiced up with salt, but with spices and fresh or dried herbs, lemon or lime.

In addition, the meat portion of the diet plan should be reduced and several meat-free main meals should be served. In addition to the nutritional recommendations, you should also do enough sport, refrain from smoking and allow yourself enough rest.

What foods are allowed?

The focus is on fresh food, which, in contrast to salted and sweetened convenience products, focuses on healthy…

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