Happy Healthy Tuesday! It is cold and dreary here again in the Sunshine State. Today I want to talk about the DASH Diet. I will give my pros and cons.
First the pros, and most of it is positive. The DASH Diet which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. I believe it was created by the NIH and is an award winning diet with many blind studies to prove it works. Why does it work? Well, for one thing it has tons of foods rich in Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium all things that help to lower blood pressure. It is also low in Sodium. Low salt diets are proven to help lower blood pressure. This diet also promotes exercise and low fat foods. This diet can be used to help lower blood pressure, lose weight prevent stroke, and for heart health.
The National Institutes of Health has a whole page dedicated to the DASH Diet, and I like it much better than any information I could find anywhere else. In particular pay attention to the following the DASH eating plan tab. It has a plethora of useful and educational information. In particular look at the definitions for activity levels. It explains sedentary, moderate and active lifestyles in easy to understand terms. When you think of sedentary you may thing of just sitting at a desk, or couch surfing most of the day. But, actually it means a lifestyle where you only do light activities in your day. That could mean you walk a lot, but not at a brisk pace, or not for long enough periods of time. You will not be eating fast food, or junk food on this eating plan, or at least you shouldn’t.
So, now for the cons. For me, or anyone living with CKD, the potassium and calcium could be a problem. Dairy products, which is recommended 2-3 servings a day on the DASH Diet, contains a lot of phosphorus and that may make it incompatible with CKD diets. Also, if you have potassium limits due to CKD this type of diet may be a problem. If your doctor has prescribed this diet to you and you have CKD be sure and ask to have it clearly explained to you so you know what and how much is safe to eat. If you are prone to kidney stones, too much calcium in the diet may aggravate this condition. Always ask your doctor to guide you on any dietary changes you wish to make even if it is proven to help. Also, be aware that low fat dairy, and other products labeled as low fat are often much higher in sodium and sugar than the full fat version. If you have Diabetes or on a carbohydrate controlled diet be sure and keep that in mind.
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