Is weight loss on your list of New Year’s resolutions? If you’re looking for a sane solution in a diet-crazed world, consider the DASH diet. DASH, recently rated the top diet for 2016 by U.S. News and World Report, is recommended by a number of health and medical organizations, including Mayo Clinic.
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a well-rounded approach that focuses on healthy eating choices, including vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and low sodium. The DASH diet not only promotes weight loss, but can also lower blood pressure and prevent other health issues such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Here’s a quick look at the recommended servings from each food group for the 2,000-calorie-a-day DASH diet.
- Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day
- Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day
- Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day
- Dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day
- Lean meat, poultry and fish: 6 or fewer servings a day
- Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week
- Fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings a day
- Sweets: 5 or fewer a week
As you begin DASH or any other diet plan, you may want to implement some strategies to help you get and stay on track. Try:
- Making gradual changes in your food plan, such as introducing more fruits and vegetables and cutting back on salt and sugar.
- Rewarding successes with non-food treats, like buying a new item of clothing or going to see a movie.
- Incorporating physical activity into your day, such as increasing the length of your daily walk, joining a gym or trying something new like a dance or yoga class.
- Getting support if you need it by talking to your doctor or dietitian, or joining a weight loss support group.
It is always recommended that you check with your physician before beginning a new diet and/or exercise program to be sure that you choose a plan that best meets your health needs. To learn more about the DASH diet, visit dashdiet.org.