The word "diet" should raise our guard. This concept usually encompasses all the happy miracle diets that promise a lot and do nothing (in the best of cases). But not all diets are negative. An example is DASH, from English, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension .
This diet was designed by specialists for cases of hypertension, with the intention of reducing high blood pressure. Of course, this is not a miracle diet , and it is not going to fix an overweight problem in a week or two without making any changes or with a miracle product. But it does promise some important health benefits, and it justifies them with evidence.
What is the DASH diet?
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is the result of a series of studies that began in 1993 and ended in 1997 . The analyzes reflect various nutritional and dietary aspects related to hypertension . The researchers were looking for evidence to reduce the risk of suffering a cardiovascular problem.
As a consequence, the National Institutes of Health (or NIH) , one of the most important institutions in the field of health both in the United States and worldwide, developed a regimen, a diet aimed at prehypertensive patients with the intention of controlling the disease potential.
This diet consists of controlling food, increasing the amount of certain fruits, vegetables and dairy products and reducing the fat content . Its effectiveness has been proven in various investigations. According to the results, a food restriction and diet under the DASH diet patterns allows to control blood pressure efficiently.
Due to its dietary profile, the DASH diet offers several benefits for any type of person . Again, we insist, this is not a "general" diet, like many miraculous ones, that are transferred from one person to another without any kind of consideration. The DASH diet has a series of general considerations under which the diet itself must be made, specifically for each person.
What is the DASH diet?
The DASH diet is based on a series of healthy foods and habits, mainly fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. It also includes fats in moderate amounts and a low contribution of the saturated type and cholesterol.
The DASH diet ensures a high content of fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium . For this reason, to make it, regular amounts of whole grains, fruits and vegetables are usually included in it , forming the basis of the diet . Another premise is its low sodium content and, very importantly, refined sugars.
Due to these approaches, the DASH diet rejects ultra-processed foods, due to the large amounts of salt and sugar, as well as highly palatable fats but with poor nutritional content. Another important aspect of the diet is its high value in phytochemicals, that is, vegetables with antioxidant protective effect. The DASH diet plans are rich in flavonoids, carotenes of all kinds, and phytosterols derived from plant-based foods , legumes, seeds, and nuts.
If we want to have good examples of recipes for the Dash Diet, Vitónica’s colleagues come to the rescue.
By its goal, the DASH diet is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol. A large amount of fish and lean poultry is considered the main source of protein, as well as skim dairy and, to a lesser extent, lean red meat, avoiding, again, ultra-processed foods.
In short, a DASH diet is characterized by consisting of a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, with skimmed dairy and lean meats, especially fish and poultry.
The DASH diet is supported by science
As we said, contrary to what happens with other so-called diets, DASH does have numerous studies that support its application. In fact, as we explained, its origin comes from these studies, and not the other way around. Among them, we know that it can slow down and prevent hypertension . We also know that it can reduce the occurrence of kidney stones ( kidney stones), control diabetes or help with weight loss , in combination with some exercise.
Another interesting aspect of this diet is its usefulness to combat depression due to the important relationship between what we eat and our emotional and psychological state. This is all because it is not a dissociated or hyper-restrictive diet. In fact, the DASH diet serves to lose weight and improve our health because it promotes a healthy diet, based on natural and healthy foods.
As always, this diet should not be used as a template , but should serve as the basis for a personalized diet. Each person, each body, is a different world. Not everyone has the same needs, but we can use the same premises in search of a healthier life and diet.