By: Anna Karmela O. So, M.D.
Eating the right kind of food at the right amount of is challenging to most of us. Oftentimes, we jump from one diet fad to another hoping for a permanent weight loss only to be disappointed because we cannot keep it up for a long time. Each of us has our own taste and preference in food and trying to change this abruptly by staying away completely results in binge eating after the prescribed period of deprivation.
Many lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis can be prevented or controlled by eating correctly. There are many dietary plans like Atkins, Cohen and Morning Banana but only Mediterranean and DASH diet has been extensively studied.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is not a weight loss program but if followed correctly will also result in weight loss. According to Mayo Clinic: "by following the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks. Over time, your systolic blood pressure could drop by seven to 12 points, which can make a significant difference in your health risks. The DASH diet emphasizes portion size, eating a variety of foods and getting the right amount of nutrients."
Below is a summary of the DASH Diet:
Standard DASH diet: up to 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day
Lower sodium DASH diet: up to 1,500 mg of sodium a day
Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day
Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day
Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day
Dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day
Lean meat, poultry and fish: 6 or fewer servings a day
Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week
Fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings a day
Sweets: 5 or fewer a week