The DASH Diet has became very popular here lately.  In fact, US News & World Reports has ranked it as the #1 best and healthiest diet plan in the world!  But what makes it so good?  As a person whom used to check in at 220 pounds and now checks in around 165 pounds, this topic hits very close to home for me.  What makes the DASH Diet work so well?  The short answer is, YOU MAKE IT WORK!

How can I say that?  It's pretty easy actually, the diet just consists of eating healthy foods and low-fat or no-fat products as well as cutting out a lot of sweets.  Hello, we've been told this our entire lives!  This is not new information!

Let's look at what the diet consists of (DashDiet)

The DASH diet is physician-recommended for people with hypertension (high blood pressure) or prehypertension. The DASH diet eating plan has been proven to lower blood pressure in studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). In addition to being a low salt (or low sodium) plan, the DASH diet provides additional benefits to reduce blood pressure. It is based on an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or non-fat dairy, with whole grains. It is a high fiber, low to moderate fat diet, rich in potasium, calcium, and magnesium. The full DASH diet plan is shown below. The DASH diet is a healthy plan, designed for the whole family. New research continues to show additional health benefits of the plan. Read about one reader's inspiring journey with the DASH diet and weight loss on Facebook.

In addition to being recommended by your physician, DASH is also endorsed by:

  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (one of the National Institutes of Health, of the US Department of Health and Human Services)
  • The American Heart Association (AHA)
  • The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • US guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure
  • The 2011 AHA Treatment Guidelines for Women
  • The Mayo Clinic
  • and, the DASH diet formed the basis for the USDA MyPlate.
The DASH eating plan has been proven to lower blood pressure in just 14 days, even without lowering sodium intake. Best response came in people whose blood pressure was only moderately high, including those with prehypertension. For people with more severe hypertension, who may not be able to eliminate medication, the DASH diet can help improve response to medication, and help lower blood pressure. The DASH diet can help lower cholesterol, and with weight loss and exercise, can reduce insulin resistance.

The book, The DASH Diet Action Plan, provides real life solutions to make it easy for people to follow the DASH diet. It has 28 days of meal plans (with adjustments for various calorie levels), recipes, guidance for weight loss, how to eat at restaurants, fast food places, etc. and still stay on track. It shows you how to stock up your kitchen for the DASH diet, and how to read food labels to make good choices. And, of course, the meal plans and recipes are all low sodium/low salt. The book shows you how to add exercise and other lifestyle changes to help lower blood pressure. This book helps you design your own personal "DASH Diet Action Plan."


Specifically the DASH diet plan includes
:

 

Type of foodNumber of servings for 1600 - 3100 Calorie dietsServings on a 2000 Calorie diet
Grains and grain products
(include at least 3 whole grain foods each day)
6 - 127 - 8
Fruits4 - 64 - 5
Vegetables4 - 64 - 5
Low fat or non fat dairy foods2 - 42 - 3
Lean meats, fish, poultry1.5 - 2.52 or less
Nuts, seeds, and legumes3 - 6 per week4 - 5 per week
Fats and sweets2 - 4limited

Even though most people know that this seems like a very healthy way of eating, they initially may find it hard to implement and sustain. The average American gets 2 - 3 servings of fruits and vegetables combined each day, so following the DASH diet can involve making a concerted effort. The book makes it easier. It helps you with simple lifestyle changes and strategies to make new habits that you will keep for a lifetime.

Okay now one thing I want to focus on here is the way they say "even though most people know that this seems like a very healthy way of eating, they initially may find it hard to implement and sustain." This is why I say YOU MAKE IT WORK!

The truth is, all diets work.  The reason they fail is because YOU let it FAIL!  It's not about being on a diet, it's about making a healthy life-style change!  That's exactly what it comes down to!  If you can't commit to a diet, how do you expect it to work?  You have to commit every inch of your body to it, and for me, that was not looking at it as a diet, but just a way I live and eat every day.

If you really want some good information on making the mental change in your life-style, check out this link here.  It's what I read and it really helped get my butt in gear!

I'll wrap up by saying, the DASH Diet is nothing special.  What's special is YOU and YOUR will power to overcome and decide to make a change!  Think it's impossible?  Check out this video here.