NUTRITION&FOOD Published September9, 2015 By Angela Betsaida Laguipo

DASH Diet: How Does It Promote Weight Loss?

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(Photo : Francois Nel / Getty Images News)

People are becoming more health conscious by the minute. Along with this, diet trends have emerged like mushroom sprouts worldwide. In the latest ranking of the U.S. Health and World Report, DASH is the best diet based on rating and health benefits. The purpose and ultimate aim of this diet is to prevent and lower high blood pressure or hypertension.

High blood pressure or hypertension is the increased force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. If the arteries are narrowed or blocked, the blood cannot pass through properly. This may lead to serious complications since the blood is carrying oxygen and nutrients to the vital organs of the body.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, around 70 million Americans have hypertension and only half of them have their blood pressure controlled either by medicines or diet.

Should you be worried if you have hypertension? Hypertension predisposes people to serious cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attack. It could also lead to kidney failure if left untreated. The goal of many health advocates is to control blood pressure by diet and exercise.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) recommend a limited salt intake and 40 minutes aerobic exercises three to four times a week, reports Washington Post.

The salt intake should be limited to 1,500 milligrams per day for those who are at high risk but most people could take around 2,300 milligrams per day. However, the average American intake of salt is at 3,500 milligrams per day. Both these organizations are recommending the DASH diet.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet includes a healthy eating pattern that can curb hypertension. It is geared towards consuming more nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. These are important in fighting high blood pressure. It is recommended to consume more fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, but foods that are high in calories are not allowed. Shunning foods that are fat-laden, sweet and contains red meat is advised.

"The DASH diet will help lower blood pressure, even without lowering salt. The first DASH study showed blood pressure reduction equal to the first-line medications at a daily sodium intake of 3300 mg of sodium," Marla Heller, a registered dietitian who has written four bestselling books about the diet, said in an e-mail to WP.

This diet focuses more on promoting heart health but because of the limited calories you are allowed to take and the healthier options in terms of food, it will eventually lead to weight loss as well.

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