What Are the Benefits of the DASH Diet?

High blood pressure is bad news: It can increase your risk of heart failurestroke, and even kidney disease. On the bright side, the DASH diet can help. The DASH diet (which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been found to be one of the most effective ways to lower hypertension, along with exercising, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.

In addition to cutting back on sodium, the DASH diet meal plan emphasizes filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. What sets it apart from other diets is its flexibility, since it doesn’t have a dedicated list of foods to eat, but instead offers goals for you to meet from several food groups—both daily and weekly. With that in mind, here’s how following DASH diet guidelines can help benefit your heart health.

What Is the DASH Diet? Sometimes called the DASH Diet for Hypertension, this way of eating “emphasizes fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, like that in the Mediterranean diet,” says Puja Argawal, M.D., a nutrition epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. However, it differs from the Mediterranean diet in recommending all lean meats and fish, while the Mediterranean diet stresses fish and seafood as a single, very important component but minimizes red meats. That’s also where the DASH diet differs from a whole-food, plant-based diet, which stresses the consumption of plan proteins over animal proteins.

Excerpted from Health Central

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