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What is the DASH diet plan?

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Quick Answer

The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and it is an approach designed to prevent and stop hypertension with healthy eating. It emphasizes low-salt consumption, eating fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, as well as foods that are rich in vitamins.

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Full Answer

The diet has two versions, which depend on the health needs of the individual. The standard DASH diet permits the consumption of up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily and the low-sodium version allows a maximum of 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. The DASH diet includes six to eight servings of grains per day, such as bread, rice and pasta. Whole grains are preferred because they are high in fiber and nutrients, especially when compared to refined grains. The DASH diet recommends substituting brown rice for white rice, and whole-wheat pasta for regular pasta.

The DASH diet also consists of four to five servings of fruits per day, as well as four to five servings of vegetables daily. Dairy products are limited to two to three servings per day and should be low-fat or fat-free versions. Lean meat, poultry and fish are limited to six servings per day. Nuts, seeds, and legumes contain a lot of calories and are limited to four to five servings per week. The recommendation for fats and oils is between two to three servings per day, while sweets should be limited to five or less servings per week.

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