More than one billion people around the world are currently suffering from high blood pressure. What’s even more startling is that this number is continuously on the rise.
In the last forty years, the number of people who are living with high blood pressure has doubled. This is an alarming statistic, so alarming in fact that doctors and other healthcare professionals are trying to find ways that they can help people to be healthier every day. High blood pressure is very serious and could lead to long-term health effects including kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.
Many believe that diet is one of the main contributing factors to high blood pressure. They are trying to come up with ways to reduce this problem.
This includes an entire line of healthy food and supplement products and too many diet programs to count. However, instead of having to experiment with these many different options, you can take control and read about a few of the best so that you can understand what is going to work best for you and your body type.
One such diet is the DASH diet. This is a diet that was specifically designed to target high blood pressure. The overall goal was to decrease high blood pressure in an attempt to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Bottom Line Up Front: Feel free to read my entire deep dive, but here’s my top line up front. While the Dash Diet is good in a pinch, it’s not the most sustainable over time. As any nutritionist worth their salt will tell you, diet is about HABIT and you actually have to be happy with the diet to make it work for long-term weight loss. This is why I much prefer the sustainabilty of the Mayo Clinic Diet here for long term health benefits.
DASH Diet – What Is It?
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet was created for those who were suffering from high blood pressure. It helps people to treat or even prevent hypertension. With the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce the risk of heart disease that you might have not been able to avoid before.
This diet – considered one of the most popular diets – focuses on eating whole grains, vegetables, lean meats, and fruits.
So the DASH diet uses this knowledge to create an easy-to-follow meal plan that is really good for you. This diet emphasizes healthy foods like lean chicken, pork, fish, and lean beef. You eat whole grains, vegetables (implementing the best from plant-based diets), and fruits as well. You do not eat much red meat, and avoid sugar, and salt, and generally stick to a low-fat diet.
A lot of scientists believe that the main reason for high blood pressure is the consumption of salt. The hardest part about the DASH diet is that you will not be eating much salt at all. In fact, you eat less than one teaspoon or 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. This is actually what most of the dietary guidelines suggest, but research suggests that Americans actually consume 3,300 milligrams without adding salt to their food. This estimate grows to around five thousand milligrams of sodium when you add in additional salt.
If you are on the low-salt version of the DASH program, you are only able to eat three-quarters of a teaspoon per day. This equates to 1,500 milligrams per day.
Mayo Clinic Diet – What Is It?
The Mayo Clinic diet is actually a long-term weight management plan and not a diet. It is not something that you will want to use for a while simply, but instead, a lifestyle that you will want to utilize for the rest of your life. This diet was created by an entire team that is dedicated to becoming the leading weight loss experts at the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic diet was created to help you so that you can change your lifestyle and live your happiest and healthiest life.
This plan allows you to basically change your old eating habits with the result of obtaining a great healthy weight that you will be able to maintain for life.
Many people do not realize that the Mayo Clinic Diet is going to actually help you to lose weight while being able to have long-term success with keeping it off. You will be able to focus on changing your daily routine. This is going to help you to break any unhealthy habits that you currently have.
The best part is that if you follow the process, breaking those habits is much easier than it is with other plans. Plus, you will have the advantage of being able to lose weight while following the program.
In addition to helping you create healthy new habits as you break old unhealthy ones, the Mayo Clinic diet is going to help you to be able to enjoy eating healthier foods. This focus on fruits and vegetables along with not eating when you are completing specific tasks, like watching TV and being a little more active will all help you live a healthier, more abundant life.
There are a wide variety of stressors that can change behaviors with eating. Some people find that they are able to do better by making small and easily attainable goals. These allow them to reduce how frequently they have setbacks while increasing confidence. Additionally, if you have the motivation to lose weight, you are going to be more likely to have success.
The DASH diet is one of the newest dieting trends. It is said to be the perfect choice for those who are suffering from high blood pressure. While this diet is ideal for those specific individuals, the jury is still out on whether or not this is the best diet for others not suffering from high blood pressure.
A Look at the Benefits
Of course, one of the most significant benefits of the DASH diet is that you are reducing high blood pressure. That being said, there are a lot more benefits that you can find with the diet. Some of these are going to help you to have more success with weight loss. Others are going to help you to be able to reduce your risk of cancer.
There are so many diets out there that you might consider for weight loss. The DASH diet is not a diet that is primarily for weight loss. You are not going to shed pounds without working some magic. You are not going to see dramatic weight loss as you would with some diets. What you will instead see is that you are losing weight at a moderate pace that is going to make it easier to keep off for the long term.
Weight loss is really an added secondary perk with the DASH diet. There are a number of additional health benefits that you are going to have thanks to the DASH diet.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
The most significant benefit of the DASH diet is that it is going to help you to have lower blood pressure. Many people do not understand precisely what blood pressure is. It is the overall measure of the force that is being put on your blood vessels and organs as the blood is moving through them.
This is counted with two different numbers: systolic pressure (this is the pressure as your heart beats) and diastolic pressure (this is the pressure when your blood vessels are in between the beats of your heart when your heart is resting).
Most adults have an average blood pressure where the systolic pressure is below 120, and the diastolic pressure is below 80. Blood pressure is written with the systolic pressure above the diastolic pressure as shown here: 120/80. Anyone who has a blood pressure that is 140/90 or higher is considered to have elevated blood pressure.
The DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure for people regardless of if they had high blood pressure or healthy blood pressure. The only way that this would be a problem is if someone were to have blood pressure that is too low. This could potentially cause them to have some health benefits. Many people who went on the DASH diet chose not to restrict or even reduce their salt intake, and they still saw lower blood pressure. For those who did not lose weight, their blood pressure was also lower.
Now, reducing the sodium intake did cause people to have even lower blood pressure. They were able to continue to lower it to a level that was lower than others. The people who had the lowest sodium intake were the ones who were able to reduce their blood pressure the lowest.
Another factor to think about is that the DASH diet was the most impressive with people who had higher blood pressure, to begin with. In some people, they were able to reduce the systolic blood pressure by around 12 and the diastolic blood pressure by around 5. Those who had normal or more average blood pressure saw their systolic blood pressure lowering by 4 and their diastolic lowering by 2.
Many other studies have also shown that you can have reduced blood pressure by reducing salt intake. Of course, those who have higher blood pressure are going to see greater results from this than those who have normal or low blood pressure.
One thing to remember though is that just because you were able to lower your blood pressure does not mean that it is going to lower your risks for heart disease. In some people it does, but others have additional problems that would need to be considered before figuring out if they had lowered their blood pressure.
Help You Lose Weight
Another considerable advantage of the DASH diet is that you are going to lose weight probably. Not everyone ends up losing weight, even though everyone ends up with lower blood pressure. However, you can lower your weight while doing the DASH diet. Many people who have high blood pressure are told that they need to lose weight. If you have been told this, then you can combine some weight loss practices like counting caloric intake or even exercise in addition to the DASH diet to have success.
Did you know that the higher your weight is, the higher your blood pressure is going to be? Many people do not understand that there is a direct correlation between the two. In addition to this, losing weight can actually help you to have lower blood pressure.
Since some studies have shown the DASH diet to be successful in weight loss, it is one option that is worth exploring. Those individuals who have had success with losing weight on the DASH diet have eaten a diet where they controlled their calories in vs. their calories out. They were eating fewer calories than they were using each day which ultimately led to weight loss.
Most people seem actually to lose weight easily on the DASH diet. This is mainly because they want to cut back on high-fat options and sugary foods. In fact, many people find that they lose weight without trying just by cutting back on these. This does not mean that everyone simply cuts back on these.
In fact, some people continue to struggle since these are large parts of the basic American diet and something that you find everywhere. It can be hard to have enough self-control to not indulge from time to time. However, those who are faced with severe health problems actually seem to do okay with this. So, if you want to lose weight when you are doing the DASH diet, you will have to remember to eat lower-calorie foods as a part of that diet.
Decreased Risk of Cancer
The DASH diet has actually been linked to reduced cancer risk. A recent study followed people who were on the DASH diet, and the study concluded that those following the DASH diet had lowered their risks of certain cancers. The types of cancers include breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Both of these types of cancer are very common in America.
Lowering Metabolic Syndrome Risks
In addition to lowering the risk that you have of developing cancer, the DASH diet can help reduce the risks of metabolic syndrome by up to 81%! This is huge since this is one of the harder things to reduce in the body, especially as we get older and have exposed our bodies to years of abuse and misuse.
Lowering Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious condition. In the United States, Type II diabetes often occurs later in life. Much of the reason for this is that people do not eat the way that they should or treat their bodies appropriately.
By following the DASH diet, you are actually lowering your risk of Type II diabetes. In addition, you might even improve the body’s insulin resistance. In fact, several studies have concluded that there is a reduced risk of insulin resistance when eating the DASH diet.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Many people do not realize that the DASH diet can actually help heart health. A study was recently conducted with women who were on the DASH diet. This study showed that these women were able to lower their risk of heart disease by 20%. In addition, they were able to lower their risk of having a stroke. Women who were following the DASH diet actually lowered their stroke risk by 29%.
There are so many health benefits that are associated with the DASH diet. It is believed that many of these are in fact because while you are on a diet, you are going to be eating so many additional fruits and vegetables.
Who Can Benefit from the DASH Diet?
Anyone can do the DASH diet. If you have any medical concerns, whether it be low blood pressure, high blood pressure, or even if you are obese, you will also want to make sure that you are consulting with a physician before you start the DASH diet. The main benefits of the diet have not been completely discovered, but what is known is that you are likely to reduce your blood pressure when you are partaking in the DASH diet and limiting your sodium intake.
Anyone who has high blood pressure will see greater results in the lowering of their blood pressure with this diet. They will also see that reducing their salt intake is going to continue to help them.
Overall, lower blood pressure will also decrease some of the risks associated with cardiovascular disease. Many people do not realize just how salt sensitive they are. If you are salt sensitive, then you are going to see a greater increase in your blood pressure when you eat a lot of salt and a greater reduction of your blood pressure when you reduce your salt intake.
Beware That Too Little Salt Can Be a Bad Thing
One thing to remember is that sometimes it might even be possible to be consuming too little sodium. If this happens, you are going to be more likely to actually have medical problems that are associated with low sodium levels. In fact, a sodium level that is too low can be linked to cardiovascular disease, fluid retention, and insulin resistance.
Even the lowest sodium version of the DASH diet requires people to eat at least 1500 mg per day of sodium. This is equivalent to a ¾ teaspoon. So, you actually have to be careful when eating the DASH diet to reduce your overall amounts of sodium but maintain a certain level still to ensure that you are not going to have adverse related health effects.
Another thing to consider is that scientific evidence does not really show advantages with a difference in sodium intake of 1500 mg and 2000 mg. In fact, you get the same benefits at 1500 as you do at 2000, so you might as well allow yourself to have the 2000 mg. Even though a reduction in salt intake has been linked to lower blood pressure, a recent study concluded that eating reduced salt is not shown to have any benefit with heart disease.
What Do I Eat on the DASH Diet?
You probably want to know what you are going to be eating if you are on the DASH diet. One nice thing about this diet is that it is not going to require you to eat a lot of specific foods. In fact, there are no specifics for what you are going to eat. Instead, you look at the food group and attempt to hit target amounts of specific groups of foods. There are some guidelines you should follow, but this system is one of the easiest to follow.
The amounts of foods that you eat will be based on the overall caloric intake for each day. The following is specific servings allowed based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Whole Grains, 6-8 Servings Each Day – There are many great ways that you can get servings of whole grains. Some of these include whole grain bread, whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, bulgur wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa.
Vegetables, 4-5 Servings Each Day – One of the great things about the DASH diet is that all vegetables are allowed. You can eat any vegetable that you want as you are trying to reach your vegetable serving count each day.
Fruits, 4-5 Servings Each Day – When you are on the DASH diet, you should be prepared to eat a lot of fruit as well. You can eat whatever fruit you like, and you can eat four or five servings each day. It is important to understand what servings are when consuming fruit and remember that fresh fruit is generally better for you than fruit juice or blended fruit smoothies, that being said you can always make your smoothies!
Dairy Products, 2-3 Servings Each Day – There is one main guideline that you should follow with dairy on the DASH. You need to make sure that the dairy that you are choosing is low-fat.
Lean Chicken, Meat, and Fish, 6 or Less Servings Each Day – There are actually quite a few guidelines when it comes to meat. You will want to avoid red meat. Red meat should be eaten no more than two times each week. In addition, you should know that serving sizes of meat are very small in the DASH diet, so study these guidelines to ensure that you have the highest level of success.
Nuts, Legumes, and Seeds, 4-5 Servings Each Week – Things like nuts, seeds, and legumes have to be minimal during the DASH diet. In fact, you will only be consuming these four or five times each week. This means that you will be eating them less than one time each day. You should consider foods like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, flaxseeds, lentils, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, and split peas when looking for the best choices.
Oils and Fats, 2-3 Servings Each Day – There are many different rules with the DASH diet. You will be able to consume two or three servings of fats. The diet actually recommends vegetable-based oils over other choices. What is recommended are margarine, canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and olive oil. You can have light salad dressing or low-fat mayonnaise as well.
Added Sugars or Candies, 5 or Less Servings Each Week – Sugars really have to be monitored on the DASH diet. This is one of the hardest things for most people to limit because sugar is addicting. In fact, it has been proven by science that sugar is more addictive than many drugs including tobacco.
Trying to quit sugar can be torture and really hard, but over time it gets way easier. Limiting the amount of candy, soft drinks, and other sugars that you consume is going to help you to kick these cravings. The DASH diet actually restricts the sugars that are unrefined and alternative sugar sources.
Final Thoughts and Opinions
There are so many things that we could say about the DASH diet. While it does show some health benefits for those suffering from high blood pressure, it seems to be a little too restrictive for our liking. It is also contradictory to a lot of new research that is being done in areas like dairy and sodium.
Many new studies are showing that low-fat dairy is actually worse for your health and weight gain than healthy fat alternatives. So, there needs to be a little more exploration for us before we hop on the DASH diet bandwagon.
The Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic Diet is one of the most well-thought-out diet plans out there today. This plan was actually created by a large group of doctors who wanted to ensure that their patients were eating right and doing the right things for their health.
It is a great plan for you to consider and one that is going to continue to make you feel great if you are following it. Best of all is that it teaches you habits that you will be able to keep with you for life. By doing this, you will lose tons of weight and have an easier time maintaining that weight loss and avoiding additional weight gain in the future.
Why You Should Consider the Mayo Clinic Diet
Many people do not realize that they need to make a change. For those who do, it can be emotional turmoil to try and find the plan that is going to work for you. In fact, so many people struggle that they decide to give up and move on. Being able to find the right diet plan or new lifestyle does not have to feel like torture. In fact, it can be something that is simple that everyone can do.
There are actually a number of reasons that you might want to consider trying out the Mayo Clinic Diet. These include:
- Being able to follow a plan that was created by medical professionals, not weight loss “experts” who have no education or schooling in health.
- Appreciating that you are NEVER hungry with the Mayo Clinic Diet. This diet allows you to have unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables. Plus, you get generous servings at meals as well which helps you to stay full and never have to worry about being hungry again.
- Trying to adopt a new healthier lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle habits are really going to improve the overall quality of life. You are going to be living the life that you have always wanted while feeling at your optimal health.
- Actually improving your health. In addition to improving how you feel, your body will start to become healthier. This leads to a number of reduced health risks. As you become more active and stick to eating the recommended foods, you are going to have an increase in your overall health, even at the doctor’s office.
- Wanting something that you will actually use for life. This is a plan that you are going to feel satisfied with making your new lifestyle choices around.
Of course, as with all diet and exercise plans, you should check with your doctor before you begin. You will want to ask about any specifics that you should watch for if you have health issues or concerns.
How Does It Work
The Mayo Clinic Diet works because it is based upon a diet that was actually developed through extensive research by those who are at the forefront of health and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic. This diet combines both clinical experience and research to give you a full two-part plan that allows you to lose all desired weight and maintain that goal weight for life.
It is actually the best program out there for sticking to a new lifestyle and adopting healthier daily habits. Overall, the diet will be tailored to your own personal needs and your health history. This means that the plan is not going to be the same for any two individuals. This plan looks at you as the person that you are, not just part of who are.
There are two main parts of the Mayo Clinic Diet. They are Lose It! and Live It!. Read on to understand both stages of the diet fully.
Stage #1 – Lose It!
The Lose It! phase is going to help you to jump-start your own personal weight loss. It will help you to lose the first six to ten pounds quickly and in a way that is both healthy and safe. During this phase, you start to learn about the things that you are doing that are keeping you overweight. You learn about the lifestyle habits that are associated with a healthy weight. You even learn simple tips and tricks that are going to help you to be successful as you uproot your current life on your journey to optimal health.
During this stage, you are going to learn how to add five healthy habits. These actually help you to break five unhealthy habits. Then you are ready to adopt a second set of five healthy habits. When you are doing this, you get a boost psychologically that will help you to continue. You will carry this confidence into the next stage.
Stage #2 — Live It!
This phase is where you are going to learn how to be Mayo Clinic diet liver. This means that you are going to continue living this lifestyle forever and you are not going to stop because you have reached your goal weight. In fact, you will be able to learn how to utilize the skills that helped you lose weight to maintain your health for years to come.
You will learn how to make the best food choices. This will allow you to eat anywhere, even at restaurants or parties while still living your healthy lifestyle.
You will learn how to cut portion sizes and how to eat healthy amounts of food. Many people do not realize that the majority of the problem that they have is in how much they are eating, not what they are eating. You also learn how to plan a menu, how much physical activity your body needs, how to plan the right exercise routine, and how to stick to healthier habits.
You will continue to lose weight at the rate of about one or two pounds per week. So, you are going to reach your goal at a slow pace but at a pace that allows you to keep the weight off for good.
Final Thoughts and Opinions
One of the things that makes the Mayo Clinic Diet such a great choice is that you are able to lose weight and keep it off. If your real goal is to lose weight then adopting this lifestyle is going to be very important to you.
It is a diet that you can stick to for life and one that is going to really help you to feel your best and maintain optimal health. I would highly recommend this diet that allows you to adopt a healthy lifestyle rather than restricting what you can or can not eat.
My Choice: Dash Diet vs Mayo Clinic Diet
Unless you are suffering from high blood pressure, you should probably consider the Mayo Clinic Diet in our opinion. This is a diet that is solid and offers you the ability to do more than momentarily meat your goals.
It is a choice for everyone who is trying to get their health in order. The DASH Diet is more likely to be a short-term diet. This means that you are not going to hit some weight loss or fitness goals, but it will likely be unsustainable over the longer term.
Bottom Line:With the Mayo Clinic diet, you will adopt a new lifestyle that will help you to stay conscious of your health and wellness for years to come vs a more short term approach with the Dash Diet. Learn more about the Mayo Clinic Diet here.
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