Medical authorities such as The Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association have recommended the DASH diet as one of the healthiest diet plans to follow. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension, but don’t let the name make you think it only works on hypertension. It is a well rounded healthy diet that aims at weight loss, lower blood pressure and long term health benefits.
The DASH diet succeeds by controlling portion sizes and focusing on foods that are healthy and nutrient rich. By eating healthy and following the diet plan, the patient can lose weight, lower their blood pressure (a good way to reduce hypertension) and reduce the risk of strokes. Other benefits that may be obtained by following this diet plan are reductions in cholesterol and possibly reducing the risk of cancer.
DASH Diet Info
Following the DASH plan means that meals will be based on fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy items. The diet plan will also include some poultry, fish, whole grains and nuts. Sugar is cut out and sodium intake is greatly reduced. A typical DASH plan will limit sodium to 2500 mg per day, 1500 mg is you are on a limited sodium diet. The diet does allow for small amounts of red meat and the occasional dessert but in very reduced servings.
As with any diet plan, meal planning can be the toughest part. To make any plan work you need to follow the guidelines for every meal, not just once in a while. Sometimes the options are so limited you get discouraged right away. Other plans have too many options and you are overwhelmed by having to choose 21 meals for the next week.
Using a cookbook designed just for the diet plan that you are following is a great way to jump into a new diet. Most will have a wide variety of recipes geared towards each meal, plus some snack ideas. Many will have full meal plan suggestions for 7 or 14 days. Here are a few of our favorite cookbooks for following a DASH Diet:
DASH Diet Cookbook For Beginners
The title may seem simplistic but this well written cookbook is an excellent starting point for beginners to a DASH diet. Written by a nutritionist and dietician the book is laid out as a 21 day meal guide. The recipes are tasty and easy to make and the fact that 3 weeks of meals are presented makes this a great choice for starting you new diet plan.
DASH Diet Cookbook: 500 Healthy And Yummy Recipes
This is a huge cookbook with an amazing assortment of recipes and meal plans to help you succeed with your DASH diet. You will be able to find a recipe for any type of food that you may be craving and the section on approved snacks is great. The author uses only ingredients found commonly in most kitchens, keeping you from having to spend money to fix meals in your new diet.
DASH Diet Cookbook: 250 Recipes For Instant Pot
The Instant Pot has hit American kitchens like a tidal. Entire cooking shows are now dedicated to using the Instant Pot, so it was a treat to find a DASH diet cookbook with recipes using the appliance. There are over 250 recipes here that are well written, delicious and in full compliance with a DASH diet. You will love some of the options here, and the Instant Pot makes preparation quicker and easier.
The 28 Day DASH Diet Weight Loss Program
This is a great cookbook for anyone who is having difficulty setting up a meal plan. Not only does the book put together a 28 meal plan but it offers tips on how to prepare some foods properly and how to measure your success (without getting impatient!). There is also an extra 7 day meal plan that can be a great help after you have completed that first month of changing your eating habits.
All of the cookbooks reviewed are full of good information about preparing meals while on the DASH plan, but they also talk about lifestyle changes. For any diet plan to succeed you need to look at your lifestyle, of which your diet is a big part of, and make changes that will improve you chances of succeeding. The goal is for healthy, long term weight loss and the health benefits that will come from that.