Could it be? Is there really a “best diet?” If such a thing exists, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan may just be it. In 2017, for the seventh year in a row, an expert panel of health and nutrition experts assembled by U.S. News & World Report rated DASH Best Overall Diet.
DASH has been repeatedly lauded by expert panels for its proven plan for healthy eating, diabetes prevention and heart health. With nearly 20 years of research to support it, the DASH Diet is recommended by both the 2010 and 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
What’s unique about DASH is that it is really not a traditional diet but rather an eating plan that you can follow for life. It also works well for families, couples, co-workers and individuals. The focus is on food – simple, easy-to-prepare and tasty food. No pills or special ingredients. Simply food.
The DASH eating plan emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein and dairy foods. In fact, milk, cheese and yogurt are critical components of DASH because of the nutrients they provide. This combination of foods provides enhanced health benefits that are not seen when dairy foods are not included.
DASH was originally shown to be as effective in treating high blood pressure for some people as medications can be. Further research has confirmed this time and again, but also has shown that DASH can help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes while at the same time improving bone health. A 2016 study showed that a modified DASH diet with full fat dairy foods, no juice and fewer sugars maintained and enhanced the health benefits of DASH, including:
- Similar benefit of lowering blood pressure
- Reduced blood triglyceride levels
- No difference in total LDL cholesterol
- Did not reduce the blood HDL cholesterol levels
So, is it time for you to get started with the DASH eating plan? We can help with the information and tools you need. Visit https://odncouncil.org/dash/ to find DASH recipes to help you reach your daily goal for each food group.
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