- The DASH diet, created to help lower blood pressure and promote heart health, has been consistently ranked by experts as one of the healthiest ways to eat.
- Nutritionists say the eating plan can also help with weight loss in some cases by cutting out processed foods and sugar.
- DASH includes plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, and nuts, and a moderate amount of lean meat and low-fat dairy.
- Here are six food groups you’ll eat a lot of on the DASH diet.
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The DASH diet dates back to the 1990s, but continues to be ranked as among the most healthful ways of eating into 2020. The plan, whose name is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, originated from the National Institutes of Health as a method of helping patients lower their blood pressure.
It favors nutrient-dense foods low in sodium like fresh vegetables and fruits, along with whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. It also includes low-fat dairy and lean meat in moderation.
Although not specifically intended for weight loss, the DASH diet has been shown in some studies to help people lose weight by helping them cut back on processed foods and salty or sugary snacks.
No foods are forbidden on the diet, but the plan suggests limiting sugary items like candy, cookies, and soda to fewer than five servings a week, and limiting alcohol to no more than one serving a day for women and two for men, per CDC recommendations.
The diet also recommends cutting back on red meat, fat, and sodium.
If you are looking to lose, maintain, or gain weight, the DASH diet offers several calorie levels, from 1,600 calories a day to 3,000.
While the diet “is very safe and sustainable for anybody who’s looking to eat healthier,” registered dietitian Lisa Sasson previously told Insider, a possible pitfall of the plan is that it includes very broad recommendations, and some people may need more specific guidance if they lack experience in cooking or meal planning, according to Harvard Health.
Otherwise, here’s what you can expect to eat on DASH.