There's an old saying that goes well with the Dash Diet Meal Plans and goes like this: at breakfast, eat like a king, at lunch eat like a prince and for your supper eat like a pauper. This age old wisdom is as true now as it's ever been.
However, there's an extra twist to it. Now that we understand better which foods are good for health and which are bad, then that kingly approach to breakfast needs a certain qualification. Cooked breakfasts drowning in fat and drenched in cholesterol are unlikely to contribute to your reign in life being a long one. The damage they can do to clog artieries and pump up blood pressure is well known.
The 'Dietory Approach To Stop Hypertension' has proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
DASH and eating correctly from the start
While the importance of a good breakfast to begin the day properly is undisputed, guidance is good when it comes to the ingredients of that first meal of the day. That’s where DASH (standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets come into play. As its name indicates, hypertension is the target and Dash diets emphasize the reduction of elements (Sodium being key) that lead to increased blood pressure, and the right quantity of those (calcium, magnesium and potassium, for example) that are beneficial in lowering blood pressure.
An overall approach to good blood pressure
The benefits of such an approach are clear. If your dietary approach enables you to lower high blood pressure, the accompanying health risks go down as well. Your chances of a stroke, a heart attack, an arterial aneurysm or kidney failure all decrease. Of course, Dash diets are just one part of the jigsaw puzzle, and you’ll still have to be reasonable about taking the right amount of exercise, getting the right amount of sleep and so on. However good Dash diet meal plans may be for you, don’t expect to simply eat your way to good health.
Just increase your portion of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, beans and nuts.
Getting Sodium down to an acceptable level
So what goes into the meal plans for the DASH method? Or perhaps, what stays out of those meal plans? Excessive sodium for a start. Some figures will help here. If you’re eating “traditional” food, your sodium intake may be as much as 3,500 mg a day, compared to a recommended maximum level of 2,300 mg per day. DASH diets help in a couple of ways. You can eat within the recommended maximum level of 2,300 mg, or if you already have a history of high blood pressure, then the lower sodium diet moves that maximum level down to just 1,500 mg per day.
DASH diet ingredients
What goes into the diets is the following: whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products; fish, poultry and legumes. Small amounts of red meat, fats and sweets are tolerated although the diet is low overall in total fat, saturated fat in particular and cholesterol. For breakfast in particular, your meal is may well include whole grains (which have more nutrients and fiber than refined grains) either in the form of cereals or bread. But don’t go and spoil the effect by smothering your breakfast in butter or cream cheese for example.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit is the next ingredient to consider for your breakfast. Just make sure you moderate your intake of either coconut or avocado, both higher in fats. In general, other fruits are typically rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber, and (a big benefit if you want to eat your breakfast correctly and quickly), they take little or no time to prepare. Of course, if you prefer vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, chicory/endives, or others that you can eat without needing to cook them), then you can still get the same benefits.
Low-fat dairy products as well
On to dairy products now, with protein, calcium and vitamin D being major ingredients. Once again, whether your preference is for milk, cheese or yogurt, make sure that you’re eating low-fat or fat-free products. Some people have trouble digesting dairy products. If this affects you as well, then buy dairy products that are lactose-free.
Hearty but healthy breakfasts
Should you eat meat at breakfast? Is it necessary to eat meat at all? Because of the relatively high fat and cholesterol content, even in lean meats, Dash Diet Meal Plans play down the meat content. They concentrate on the nutrients that your body requires, and that can also be found in non-meat foods (meaning non-fish and non-egg as well). That means that you can reduce your intake of meat, poultry, fish and eggs and replace them by the other DASH recommended ingredients such as fruit, vegetables and grains for an even healthier lifestyle.
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