The DASH Diet has been awarded the "best diet" in theUnited States prize once again in the yearly survey madeby the influential US News and World Report. DASH is an abbreviation of "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension".
The DASH diet is based on the Mediterranean diet, whichhas been refined further and has been called the Prasouda Diet - which was second in the US News awards. Becauseit is being advanced by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute - a US government organisation - to help control stress, rising blood pressure and hypertension, it has received plenty of exposure, especially in North America.
An article in US News reported that the "all star" panel of diet experts it assembled gave the DASH diet highmarks for helping support heart health and preventing andcontrolling diabetes. It also scored highly for its safety and nutritional completeness. The panel were particularly impressed because, as they point out, it was developed not as a general diet but specifically to address issues related to high blood pressure.
US News report that their dedicated spent a total of 6solid months researching which of the thousands of dietsoffer were really the best. This included reading scientific and medical reports, government documents and spending many hundreds of hours on the web.
The DASH diet is all about eating lots of fruit and vegetables, eating whole grain products whenever possible, and moving from full fat dairy to low-fat. Eating plans include fish, meat, poultry, and a greater emphasis on other sources of protein, such as beans, nuts and pulses such as lentils and chickpeas. Sugar is out andproducts like candy, cookies and cakes, as well as most fast food (theres extra sugar in burger buns and pizza bases) are best avoided under the DASH diet. the same goes for saturated fats, contained in beef and other red meats.
A doctor at the Dietary Health Council, Richard Carrera, asserts that the diet is "really an American variation of the Mediterranean or Prasouda Diet" that has been"made more palatable" for modern day North American and Western citizens. He also reports that it is useful forhelping with a host of illnesses and complaints, not just for lowering high blood pressure. Among those he mentions specifically are sciatica, acne and haemorrhoids.
Dieters are encouraged to add a regular physical exerciseprogram to the DASH eating plan, though a slow build up is advised. Recommended activities include swimming, walking and dancing. Thirty minutes at a time is considered about right. The aim is to try for over 30minutes of physical activity on each and every single day.
The main perceived problem with the DASH diet is that it includes many foods that North Americans are just notused to. This includes the extra fruit and vegetables, nuts, beans and pulses. These foods can cause bloating, flatulence, and possibly diarrhoea in a small minority of people. This could put some people off and so a gradualincrease might be the way to go for people who feel they might be subject to these discomforts.