Amy Gorin, MS, RDN An inclusive dietitian who focuses on plant-based diets who practices in Stamford, Connecticut, and the owner of “Plant Based with Amy,” claims research has proven how the DASH lifestyle can indeed improve heart health and reduces the chance of heart attacks and strokes.
Amy Bragagnini MS CSO, RD an Oncology Nutrition Specialist at the Trinity Health Lacks Cancer Centre in Michigan and spokeswoman on behalf of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics She says that the DASH diet was among her first concepts she was taught during her initial training 20 years ago. The diet is still in use in the present.
But, even though positive health effects are abundant Bragagnini admits that it difficult for individuals to make the switch.
Experts in nutrition advise to start small and refrain from changing your whole diet at once.
Instead, consider the following steps for a more lasting change towards healthier eating.
Make a list
Bragagnini says that the first step she suggests is to take an honest assessment of your typical food and beverage consumption.
Try asking yourself these questions:
- How many portions of vegetables and fruits should I consume every day?
- How much sodium total should I need to consume?
- How often do I consume red meat in one week?
- How much added sugar should I consume every day
Read labels on food items
Examine the food labels during several days, advises Bragagnini.
This will allow you to get an accurate idea of the amount of sodium and sugar added to your diet you are eating.
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“Now become aware of the recommendations,” she said to Healthline. “For people who aren’t hypertensive The American Heart Association suggestsTrusted Source that you limit your sodium intake less than 2,300 mg daily. They also suggest thatTrusted Source you limit your sugar consumption to 25 grams daily for women and 36 grams per day for males.”
Beware of ‘added’ sugar and salt
“While you are checking food labels, be sure to take into account how much actual salt and sugar you are using in your cooking and meal preparation,” Bragagnini advises.
Some examples of how fast it can add up, according to Bragagnini. These include:
- 2,300 mg of sodium are contained in 1 teaspoon of salt
- about 2,000 mg of vitamin C in one portion of potato chips
- approximately 1,500-2,000 mg of sodium contained in a can of soup
“In in addition to the salt they also add the sugar in their cup of coffee (1 teaspoon equals four grams) and might mix it into their oatmeal. All of it matters,” she says.
Begin by making small changes
“Now that you have an idea of how much (salt or added sugar) you are already consuming, start to make small changes,” Bragagnini suggests.
“You don’t have to make sweeping diet changes overnight, so start slow,” Gorin added. Gorin.
Gorin recommends incorporating a piece of fruit or vegetable to every meal.
Changes in diet and lifestyle don’t necessarily mean eating bland food, she states.
“There are so many seasonings you can use in your cooking,” Gorin said to Healthline. “These include onion and garlic powder rosemary and dried oregano, basil, paprika and the red pepper powder. You’ll be amazed by the flavor these spices give your meals.”
The suggestions of Bragagnini for spiceing the flavor of your life include
- Then, you can grill the chicken using rosemary and Thyme
- Lemon juice can be added to fish to enhance the flavors
- Do not add sugar, and instead add cloves or cinnamon to oatmeal in place
- Look for products that have that American Heart Association “heart” symbol
Check your consumption of meat.
Dietitians often advise clients to reduce their consumption of red meats and processed meats.
This is due to the fact that eating excess amounts of these food items could raise the chance of developing heart illness and even cancer. says Bragagnini.
“Once again, take inventory of how often you are consuming these foods,” she advises. “If you find you are eating red or processed meats five days a week, make it a goal to reduce it to three times a week to start.”
Bragagnini’s suggestions to reduce red meats include:
- Discover recipes for dishes that contain turkey, chicken, fish or are vegetarian.
- Instead of the standard hamburger, create a burger with either ground turkey, or even chicken.
- You can experiment with using vegetable crumbles instead of red meat in the preparation of tacos.
- Don’t use meat when making chili. It’s likely that you won’t miss it if you include various tomatoes, beans along with peppers, carrots onion, celery. Make sure to enhance the flavor by adding cumin, paprika, or chili powder.
Allow yourself to adapt
Take it easy and remember to be patient.
“It may take time to get your taste buds to salt and sugar however, with perseverance and planning, the goals of the American Heart Association can be achieved. Explore different flavors and spices in cooking, other than salt,” Bragagnini says.
Upgrade your snack selection
“Finally, improve your snack choices,” says Bragagnini.
The right choice of snacks can help you meet your goals for fruit and vegetables as well as help you stick to the guidelines of the DASH diet she states.
Some of the best options for snacks from Bragagnini to try are:
- Unsalted nuts (they offer good sources of fiber, protein, as well as healthy fat)
- Foods and vegetables that can increase your intake overall
- Sliced bell peppers, dipped in Hummus
- Blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries for a delicious afternoon snack
- Crispy zucchini slices are created in an air fryer
“A big part of why following a diet often doesn’t work out is that people feel like they must give up everything they love,” Gorin explained. “Don’t give up all the foods you love.
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