On Blast: DASH Diet
US News & World Report have named the DASH diet the #1 best overall diet for the second year in a row. Fabulous…but what is it? Glad you asked :o). The DASH diet is a diet rich in whole grain, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and inclusive of lean protein and nuts/seeds/legumes. This intake is focused on volumetric intakes of foods rich in both macronutrients and micronutrients, as well as protein and fiber. This approach was initially intended to reduced hypertension (hence the name: Dietary Approach to Stopping Hypertension), but has been found to be widely applicable to a multitude of diseases and conditions, as well as most healthy people over the age of 2 yrs. Its rich make up of Mg+, K+, Ca+, protein, and fiber contributes to healthy cardiac function, GI motility, and bone health.
DASH focuses on whole grains, fruit, and vegetables as the most voluminous component of the diet. These three food categories pack the fiber punch necessary in a healthy diet. Fiber contributes to fecal bulk, can help regulate bowel movements, can reduce hunger, and can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. It has also been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease and reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer. Dietary fiber is a low-glycemic index food, meaning that when consumed, it does not cause a rapid spike in insulin section (such as you would expect to see in unrefined sugar consumption) and thereby helps regulate blood sugar.
While I’m obviously a DASH enthusiast, there is a flip side. DASH is more expensive…right now. My response to that is: your grocery bills may increase a bit right now, but you’ll be saving yourself money in the long run. RTI published a study in 2011 that found that North Carolina “would save 9.9 percent on overall medical costs and 13.1 percent on Medicaid costs if all obese people in the state were normal weight.” If you’re really interested in saving money, eat a healthy diet (such as DASH), exercise, and stay invested in your health.