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While many health and fitness fanatics have already heard of the DASH Diet, this dietary plan has maintained its popularity over the years. If you’re planning to shed a few extra pounds this winter or perhaps swap your favourite junk foods for healthy alternatives, the DASH Diet just may be your solution. With numerous New Year’s Resolutions in full swing, we revisit this diet trend and take a closer look at the various benefits, facts and nutritional information which the diet claims to offer.
What is it?
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (also known as DASH) diet primarily focuses on lowering blood pressure. The diet was recently ranked the “Best Diet Overall” by U.S. News in a report that studied 35 popular diets. Though the DASH diet was not created as a weight-loss plan, the diet emphasizes healthy eating. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that participants lost on average 19 pounds after four months on the DASH diet.
What does this diet offer?
The DASH diet emphasizes the consumption of more potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber, while avoiding harmful foods that are high in calories and fat. The DASH diet also recommends cutting down on salt usage. The foods encouraged by the diet are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Key foods to avoid are sweets or red meat that are high in fat.
For those following the DASH diet, start your morning with a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh berries. For lunch, try a chicken salad topped with almonds and sliced pears. For a filling, DASH-approved dinner, go for grilled salmon with brown rice and steamed green beans.
Should you try it?
This diet is simple to follow, as it basically involves eating the foods you’ve been encouraged to your whole life. It is relatively low impact and doesn’t require too many restrictions. Those hoping for a more dramatic weight loss might be disappointed by this diet’s low intensity approach. Before starting any diet, we recommend consulting a dietitian to ensure that it is right for you.