• Kate

Best Diets of 2020 - DASH Diet

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Recently, I was asked to comment on the US News & World Reports Best Diet 2020 rankings for Fit & Well Magazine, and which diet I thought was the “best” in terms of overall health.

To be rated top, a diet had to be easy to follow, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In last week's blog, I discussed The Flexitarian Diet, which was awarded joint second place in the US News & World Report rankings for Best Diet 2020, along with the diet I am going to cover today - The DASH Diet.

DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure. Following The DASH Diet means keeping sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day, which followers will eventually reduce to about 1,500 milligrams.

The DASH Diet encourages increasing your uptake of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, which are high in nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fibre that help lower blood pressure, whilst limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as full-fat dairy foods, and fatty meats, as well as sugar-sweetened drinks and sweets.

The DASH Diet is balanced and can be followed long term, which is a fundamental reason why it was awarded second place and achieved the following rankings:

If you want to give The DASH Diet a go it doesn’t mean you have to make drastic changes overnight. Instead, start by making whatever small changes are most manageable for you, such as:

  • Introducing two or more meat-free meals each week.

  • Using herbs and spices to make food tastier without the salt.

  • Opting for whole-wheat flour over white flour when possible.

  • Taking a 15-minute walk after lunch or dinner (or after both if time allows).

Will the DASH Diet help with weight loss?

If you include a "calorie deficit" into your plan, by consuming fewer calories than your daily recommended max, or burning off extra by exercising, you will lose body fat and weight. Plan your meals, shop for them and prepare them and you will do well on this plan.

The cost of following The DASH Diet should be reasonable, as no expensive ingredients are required, thus food shopping shouldn't cost more than it normally does. Also, by not eating meat as regularly (instead opting for plant-based meals several times a week), this will help to reduce the shopping bill, as will buying fruit and veg that are in season.

Enjoy trying new recipes such as my very easy and quick flourless Banana Pancakes recipe - it is super straightforward and made with literally three ingredients - bananas, eggs and cinnamon.

Exercise is recommended on the DASH Diet, especially if you want to lose weight.

To get started, try a 15-minute walk each morning and evening (if time allows), and then slowly build up the intensity and duration if you can. Find activities you like such as swimming, gardening, walking and set manageable goals.

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