Patients are always asking me which diet plan is best for overall health and weight loss. US News published a thorough review of most popular diet plans (link below). DASH diet, which was designed to treat hypertension, was ranked best overall. DASH focuses on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and it’s easy to follow. Patients fill up on fruits and vegetables resulting in less room to eat the other high-calorie foods. Lower intake of sodium reduces bloating and water retention. This diet is great if you want to lose weight without counting calories and improve blood pressure, cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.
DASH diet was created to lower salt intake. The majority of Americans eat too much salt. The recommended daily maximum is 2,300 mg., but if you’re 51 or older, African-American, or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, that limit is 1,500 mg. DASH has specific meal plans for both sodium limits.
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Here’s a day of typical meals on a 2,000-calorie DASH diet.
¾ cup bran flakes cereal (¾ cup shredded wheat cereal) with 3/4 cup berries and 1 cup low-fat milk
1 slice whole-wheat bread with 1 tsp. (unsalted) butter or 1/4 Avocado
2 slices whole-wheat bread
3-4 oz low-sodium chicken breast or turkey breast
1 tbsp. Dijon (regular) mustard
½ cup fresh cucumber slices
½ cup tomato wedges
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds or chopped almonds (unsalted)
2 tbsp viniagrette (either red wine or Balsamic)
3 oz. Grilled/Baked Chicken or Fish
1 cup green beans, sautéed with ½ tsp. canola oil
1 small baked potato topped with 1 tbsp. fat-free sour cream, 1 tbsp. grated, reduced-fat natural (low-sodium) cheddar cheese and 1 tbsp. chopped scallions
1 small whole-wheat roll with 1 tsp. (unsalted) soft margarine/butter
1 small apple
1 cup low-fat milk
1 rice cake (low-sodium)
1/3 cup almonds, unsalted
¼ cup raisins
½ cup fat-free, no-sugar-added fruit yogurt