The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), designed essentially for people suffering from arterial hypertension, is very similar to the Mediterranean diet.
Clinical studies were carried out in 1990s in the United States, the results of which had the highest impact on later recommendations regarding diets to be followed by people with hypertension. Three groups of volunteers took part in the studies: the first two followed the average American diet, but one of them contained more fruit and vegetables. The third group followed the DASH diet, which – as it turned out – had the highest impact on lowering the patients’ blood pressure. A follow-up to the DASH study was the DASH-sodium experiment, in which it was demonstrated that the DASH diet reinforces the arterial tension lowering effect owed to a low-sodium diet.
The DASH diet creators divided food products into eight groups. Each of them was assigned a certain amount of portions that you can eat per day:
- 5-6 portions of groats and grain products providing big amounts of fibre, which, among other things, lowers fat absorption and reduces cholesterol levels;
1 portion is a slice of whole grain brown bread tor a small graham roll, 3 spoonfuls of cooked multigrain muesli, oat flakes or half a glass of cooked rice or groats.
- 4-5 portions of vegetables being a rich source of, among other things, potassium, which regulates the body’s water management and reduces arterial blood pressure.
1 portion is a glass of vegetable juice and a glass of raw or half a glass of cooked vegetables. The products should be preferably eaten fresh or steamed.
- 4-5 portions of fruit being a source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which protect arteries from the effects of free radicals. Fruit should be preferably eaten fresh and, whenever possible, without peeling.
1 portion is a mid-size fruit, a quarter glass of fruit juice, a handful of raisins, 4–5 dried apricots, half a glass of blackberries or blueberries.
- 2-3 portions of low-fat dairy foods, which provide quite a lot of full quality protein and calcium as well as vitamin B2, which, among other things, alleviates the effects of stress, having impact on the proper functioning of the nervous system.
1 portion is half a glass of natural yogurt, a glass of buttermilk, a quarter box of low- or semi-fat curd cheese.
- 2-3 portions of vegetable fats containing unsaturated fatty acids, healthy for the heart.
1 portion is a spoonful of soft tub margarine, a spoonful of mayonnaise, a tablespoonful of olive or rape oil.
- 2-3 times a week you should eat 100g of cooked or fried fish, preferably sea fish, which are a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids preventing strokes and reducing arterial blood pressure.
- 4–5 times a week you should eat nuts and seeds, including those of legumes, which reduce bad cholesterol levels and, due to high potassium contents, make the heart work better.
1 portion is, for instance, a third of a glass of nuts or almonds, 2 spoonfuls of sunflower of pumpkin seeds and half a glass of green peas.
- 3-4 times a week it is recommended to eat a spoonful of honey or a piece of chocolate. These products have anti-oxidising properties and therefore reduce the risk of clots and heart attacks.
All products from the above eight food groups can be freely combined. Consuming 5–6 meals a day is recommended. While on the DASH diet, you should reduce salt to half a spoonful per day at the most. You should also drink at least 1.5 litre of fluids, while cutting down on strong coffee. Low-sodium mineral water and green tea are recommended.
The LightBox diet follows the guidelines of the DASH diet through the use of recommended products in our meal plans. The meals we propose abound in amaranth, pumpkin, flax and sunflower seeds, bran, cereal germs and flakes, nuts and almonds, coarse grits, legumes and other products rich in potassium, magnesium and unsaturated fatty acids. Apart from semi-fat cheese, lean meats and cold cuts we also use yogurt enriched in calcium as a source of protein in our diet plans. We replace salt with a number of different seasonings.