Guest bloggers Garrett Berdan, RD, LD, and Bailey Peterka, dietetic intern, help you make the DASH for good health. The DASH Diet Eating Plan website was created by registered dietitians and nutrition educators at Nutrition Education Services/Oregon Dairy Council.
A new study highlights an additional benefit of the DASH diet to lower risk of heart failure in women.
The study appearing in the May 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine examined the incidence of heart failure in healthy women aged 48 to 83, and found that women whose diet was the most similar to the DASH eating plan experienced a 37%-51% lower rate of heart failure.
But that’s not all. DASH has previously been shown to prevent and treat high blood pressure (hypertension), and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in men and women. That’s a big deal considering that heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. Its potential for chronic disease prevention has earned DASH the backing of the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
What’s different about DASH? Not much. DASH includes common foods that are likely part of your diet already. DASH emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, low-fat and fat-free dairy, in addition to whole grains, lean proteins, beans, nuts and seeds. The eating plan includes all food groups and is naturally low in sodium, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. The DASH diet is also low in calories and may lead to gradual loss of excess weight.
Do you DASH?
Your eating style might already be on track with DASH. Take the Rate Your Plate quiz to find out, and get simple tips to get started. As with any lifestyle change, it is important to take DASH one step at a time. Start with one small change like switching to low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt, or trade in your white sandwich bread for fiber-rich 100% whole wheat bread.
You can make small, healthy changes one at a time. This summer swap the salty, fat-filled chips for crunchy sweet pepper slices dunked in cool, creamy tzatziki yogurt dip. Now that’s a delicious way to get started with DASH.
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