DASH Diet 101

If you’re looking for a balanced diet that can help with weight loss, blood pressure, and more, the DASH diet may be for you. It’s easy to follow, and Netrition has a variety of products that can help make your DASH meal plan tastier and more convenient. Here’s what you need to know about the DASH diet, but be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new meal plan or if you have high blood pressure or any other health concerns.

Benefits of a DASH Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, or DASH diet, was developed to see if eating more healthily could lower blood pressure in people with moderately high blood pressure. The diet was introduced in a clinical trial that became famous for how well it worked. 

Some participants in the trial were asked to follow a standard American diet. Other participants in the trial were asked to follow a DASH diet and given instructions on how to do so. The participants in the DASH group saw their blood pressure drop within 2 weeks. The amount of the drop was comparable to the amount that blood pressure can drop with medications. In fact, the DASH diet was so effective that researchers stopped the trial early because they were convinced of the results. 

The DASH diet has been studied more since then, and there have been other benefits found. These are some examples.

  • Improved weight loss or body weight management
  • Lower risk for heart disease
  • Lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol

The regular DASH diet led to lower blood pressure and other benefits. There’s also a low-sodium version of the DASH diet. Ask your doctor which may be right for you. 

Foods on a DASH Diet

Researchers wanted the DASH diet to include many nutrients linked to lower blood pressure. Calcium, potassium, and magnesium are examples. You should also look for high-fiber foods and include protein.

To get adequate amounts of these nutrients, a typical day on a DASH diet includes foods such as the following. 

  • 6-8 servings of grains, with an emphasis on whole grains
  • 4 or more servings of vegetables
  • 4 or more servings of fruit, with an emphasis on fresh fruit or unsweetened frozen fruit
  • 2-3 servings of reduced-fat dairy products
  • No more than 6 ounces of lean meat, poultry, fish, or egg
  • At least 4 servings weekly of nuts seeds, or legumes
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of fats or oils, including those in cooking, and with an emphasis on plant-based choices such as olive oil or avocados

Many of these foods happen to be low in the diets of the average American. 

Foods NOT on a DASH Diet

What’s not on a DASH diet is just as important as what is. The diet was formulated to be lower in less-healthy, lower-nutrient foods than a standard American diet.

Here are some of the foods that you might limit on a DASH diet.

  • Sweets
  • Fatty meats
  • Processed meat
  • Butter
  • Fried food

If you’re on a low-sodium version of a DASH diet, you might want to be on the lookout for high-sodium foods, such as these examples.

  • Bread, cereal, pretzels, crackers, and salty snack foods
  • Sauces, dressings, and condiments
  • Cheese
  • Olives
  • Pickles and sauerkraut
  • Fast food, frozen meals, and canned foods, such as soup and beans

Low-Sodium Sauces and Condiments

Don’t worry if a DASH diet or a low-sodium DASH diet sounds tasteless. There’s no need to eat bland food! Even though many condiments and dressings are high in calories, carbs, fat, or sodium, Netrition has you covered.

Mrs. Taste Condiments, for example, are free from calories and sodium. That means they won’t get in the way of weight loss and they won’t lead to bloating from sodium and water retention. Plus, they’re great-tasting!

These are some standard condiments that are Zero Calorie from Mrs. Taste.

  • Ketchup
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Burger Sauce

Have them with turkey burgers, veggie burgers, shrimp, vegetables, or anything else you happen to be cooking. You can also use them for dipping chicken or Low-Carb Chips, or as spreads on sandwiches. They all taste good!

You can also enjoy Ranch Dressing without turning your salad or vegetables into a diet disaster.

For sweet additions, consider Honey, Maple Syrup, or any of these syrups.

  • Blueberry
  • Caramel
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Hazelnuts
  • Dulce de Leche
  • Strawberry

They’re free from sugar and are ideal for oatmeal pancakes, whole-grain French toast, sugar-free hot and iced flavored coffee beverages, and more.

Low-Sodium Wraps

Did you know that bread products are the top source of sodium in the typical American diet? It’s a good thing you can opt for low-sodium choices, such as Toufayan Low-Sodium Wraps. You can enjoy nutritious wraps with only a fraction of the amount of sodium as in regular bread, tortillas, or wraps.

Each Toufayan Low-Sodium Wrap has only 170 mg of sodium, or less than half the amount in a tortilla. The wraps are also good for the DASH diet due to having 6 grams of dietary fiber and 10 grams of protein in each one. They are made with whole grains.

Here are some ideas for what to put in your wrap and stay on a DASH diet.

  • Peanut butter and berries
  • Non-fat cottage cheese and sunflower seeds
  • Chicken breast, low-fat cheese, and lettuce
  • Tuna, hummus, and sprouts

A DASH diet can be a great strategy for eating healthy and working towards your weight and health goals. It includes simple foods that are easy to find, and it is backed by research. Plus, it’s easy to customize your own DASH diet so you can make it enjoyable and sustainable. Staying on a meal plan long-term is the best path to success.

Netrition can help you stick to your DASH diet with foods that are low in sodium and high in nutrients. Mrs. Taste Condiments can increase flavor in your food without adding calories and sodium, for example, and Toufayan Low-Sodium Wraps let you enjoy bread without so much sodium. Check with your doctor about the best meal plan and nutrition goals for you, and browse our aisles to see how Netrition can help. 

Dash diet