What is DASH DIET? What does DASH DIET mean? DASH DIET meaning – DASH DIET definition – DASH DIET explanation.

Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a dietary pattern promoted by the U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans; and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. DASH is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) as one of its ideal eating plans for all Americans.

The DASH diet is based on NIH studies that examined three dietary plans and their results. None of the plans were vegetarian, but the DASH plan incorporated more fruits and vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, beans, and nuts than the others studied. The DASH diet reduced systolic blood pressure by 6 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg in patients with high normal blood pressure (formerly called “pre-hypertension”). Those with hypertension dropped by 11 and 6 mm Hg, respectively. These changes in blood pressure occurred with no changes in body weight. The DASH dietary pattern is adjusted based on daily caloric intake ranging from 1,600 to 3,100 dietary calories.

The DASH diet was further tested and developed in the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart diet). “The DASH and DASH-sodium trials demonstrated that a carbohydrate-rich diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that is reduced in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol substantially lowered blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. OmniHeart demonstrated that partial replacement of carbohydrate with either protein (about half from plant sources) or with unsaturated fat (mostly monounsaturated fat) can further reduce blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and coronary heart disease risk.”

In January 2016, DASH was named the number 1 for “Best Diets Overall” and “For Healthy Eating”, tied number 2 “For Diabetes”, and ranked number 3 “For Heart Health” (out of 38 diets tested) in the US News & World Report’s annual “Best Diets” rankings.

Two experimental diets were selected for the DASH study and compared with each other, and with a third: the control diet. The control diet was low in potassium, calcium, magnesium and fiber and featured a fat and protein profile so that the pattern was consistent with a “typical American diet at the time”. The first experimental diet was higher in fruits and vegetables but otherwise similar to the control diet (a “fruits and vegetables diet” ), with the exception of fewer snacks and sweets. Magnesium and Potassium levels were close to the 75th percentile of U.S. consumption in the fruits-and-vegetables diet, which also featured a high fiber profile. The second experimental diet was high in fruits-and-vegetables and in low-fat dairy products, as well as lower in overall fat and saturated fat, with higher fiber and higher protein compared with the control diet—this diet has been called “the DASH Diet”. The DASH diet (or combination diet) was rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium—a nutrient profile roughly equivalent with the 75th percentile of U.S. consumption. The combination or “DASH” diet was also high in whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts while being lower in red meat content, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.

The DASH diet was designed to provide liberal amounts of key nutrients thought to play a part in lowering blood pressure, based on past epidemiologic studies. One of the unique features of the DASH study was that dietary patterns rather than single nutrients were being tested. The DASH diet also features a high quotient of anti-oxidant rich foods thought by some to retard or prevent chronic health problems including cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

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