If you have high blood pressure there is a good chance you have heard of the DASH diet.
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is an eating plan that is often used to help lower ones blood pressure.
However, according to the U. S. News and World Report, the DASH diet is ranked as one of the best and healthiest diet plans to follow.
If you are interested in following the DASH diet, here are 9 ways you can get the most out of it.
Create a Calorie Plan
The great thing about the DASH diet is you will be able to eat foods from a variety of different food groups.
All you need to do is figure out how many calories you should consume.
Once you know that information you can plan out the meals and snacks you plan to eat.
Load Up On Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains
The DASH diet is a diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Which by the way is what you should be eating most of the time anyways.
However, most people do not get enough of these foods in their diet. Make it a point to increase your intake starting today!
Reduce Your Salt Intake
The DASH diet consists of two different versions.
One version allows for 2400 milligrams of salt while the other allows for 1500.
If you are over the age of 50, or you are dealing with certain medical conditions, it is recommended you use the lower limit.
Either way make it a point to eat less processed foods and more fresh foods.
And don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices.
That is how you will prevent your diet from getting boring.
Opt For Low Fat Dairy Products
Low fat dairy products are the way to go while on the DASH diet.
Instead of getting regular milk, opt for low fat or skim milk.
If you like yogurt, opt for nonfat or low fat yogurt as well.
For those who are lactose intolerant, look for non dairy alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk.
Go Easy On The Red Meat
Protein is an extremely important part of any healthy diet.
However, not all protein sources are created equal.
With the DASH diet you will want to opt for leaner sources of protein such as fish and beans.
If you do eat red meat be sure to watch your portions.
Consider investing in a food scale so you won’t overdo it.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
When we speak of sugar we are usually talking about added sugars.
Added sugars are artificial and your body doesn’t know how to process them.
As a result they wreak all sorts of havoc on your overall health.
Interestingly enough you will only find added sugars in processed foods.
So instead of drinking soda, have a cold glass of water.
And when you want a snack, grab for a piece of fresh fruit instead of a bag of chips.
Fruits contain naturally occurring sugars that are good for you!
Eat More Healthy Fats
A big part of the DASH diet is cutting back on processed foods.
As a result you will automatically limit the amount of trans fat in your diet.
Trans fat is the type of fat that can put you at risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease.
Some of the best healthy fats to add into your diet include salmon, avocados, cheese, and whole eggs.
Learn New Recipes
If you are going to be successful on the DASH diet you are going to have to start preparing your meals at home.
And as you very well know, there is nothing worse than eating the same thing over and over again.
Doing so will only lead to you quitting the diet.
Instead of cooking the same foods over and over again, consider learning new DASH diet recipes.
Find 5 to 10 that you really like and then rotate them in and out of your meal plan.
Make Changes Gradually
You want to know one of the biggest reasons people fail when it comes to dieting?
Its because they try to do too much too soon.
Take your time and make changes gradually.
If you go cold turkey and start eating nothing but whole foods you may experience bloating and diarrhea.
And while those things will eventually go away, you can avoid them all together if you take a more gradual approach.
This will give your body time to adapt to your new way of eating.
Each day consider adding an extra helping of vegetables to one meal.
Instead of your usual breakfast pastry, start having whole grain breads.
These changes may seem small, but they will equal big results in the long haul.
While the DASH diet was created for those who need to lower their blood pressure, in reality it is a great diet for any one looking to improve their overall health and well being.