DASH Diet Smoothies
With the increasing number of health issues plaguing the world today, it is not very surprising that people today have as many different diets to choose from as they do. After all, there is a diet out there intended to help someone meet whatever health goal they may have. Whether it be to lose weight, gain weight, lower cholesterol, or boost energy, — there is a diet made for that specific purpose. One of the biggest health issues impacting the world today is hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. What if I were to tell you that there was an effective, easy to follow diet plan made to help people combat hypertension? Sounds too good to be true, yeah? Well, it’s the truth, and it’s called the DASH diet. Let’s take a deeper look into DASH and just how easy it is to implement in your day to day healthy lifestyle.
Please note: this is not intended to be medial advice. Visit your doctor for the support, expertise and research to help with your specific health condition or goals.
What Is the DASH Diet?
You might be wondering what exactly the DASH diet is and what it consists of. Let’s start by breaking down the term DASH. Put simply, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The primary purpose of DASH is to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. DASH encompasses foods that are heavy in calcium, magnesium, and potassium — all important nutrients that help maintain to encourage healthy blood pressure levels.
While there aren’t necessarily any eating restrictions on the DASH diet, it’s important that foods high in sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats be limited as much as possible as these are things that can cause an increase in blood pressure when consumed too much. In addition to helping combat hypertension, there are a number of other health benefits we will discuss more in-depth.
The best part about the DASH Diet is that it is easy to follow and it is family friendly. In addition to eliminating hypertension, following DASH can also help prevent hypertension for ever becoming an issue, as well as encouraging healthy eating styles that will follow you throughout life. DASH is not only recommended by primary care physicians around the world, it’s also endorsed by the following organizations:
Health Benefits of DASH = Lower Blood Pressure
As we have already discussed, the biggest health benefit that can come out of the DASH diet is helping reduce high elevated blood pressure. By lowering the amount of sodium, saturated fat, and unnecessary added sugars and increasing healthy foods high in healthier nutrients, the DASH diet allows the body to regulate pressure more efficiently. By lowering your blood pressure, you are also helping improve the following:
When you reduce hypertension, you’re increasing your overall heart health dramatically. People with hypertension are 3 times more likely to diet from heart disease than those who do not have elevated blood pressure. Not only does that DASH diet help you overcome hypertension, it also helps lower and fight high cholesterol, also increasing your overall heart health and chances at having a stroke.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a branch of the National Institute of Health, high blood pressure constricts and narrows the blood vessels throughout the body, which in turn causes damage and weakness in vessels throughout the body’s organs, including the kidneys. Because of this narrowing of the blood vessels in the kidney, they kidney is unable to function as efficiently and the body retains excess fluid as well as a build up of toxins. The increase of unnecessary fluid in the body leads to more kidney damage, as well as an increase in hypertension — thus creating a vicious loop of health issues needing to be addressed. By lowering your blood pressure and combatting hypertension, you are eliminating much of the risk of developing kidney damage or disease later down the road, a very disturbing health condition.
Improved Mental Health
People with hypertension are already often times affected by high levels of stress and anxiety. High blood pressure itself can cause a build up of stress-related chemicals in the body that can take a huge toll on your overall mental health which only leads to another vicious cycle. By lowering your blood pressure, you are helping the body eliminate the unnecessary build up of stress-inducing hormones and chemicals which will lead to an improved mental state.
What Foods to eat on the DASH Diet?
An important part of the DASH Diet is increasing the consumption of foods rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber and eliminating as much sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat as possible. To fully reap the benefits of the DASH Diet plan, it is very important to limit your daily sodium levels to 2300 mg, or a healthier 1500 mg if possible. For those new to the plan, it may be easier to start with the higher 2300 mg and gradually decreasing to the lower 1500 mg allowance.
With this in mind, there are many different types of foods that fit the bill and are considered acceptable and encouraged by the DASH diet plan while fitting a healthy lifestyle. DASH, unlike many other diet plans, has a wide variety of acceptable foods and an almost endless meal possibilities. It’s seriously as simple as eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and eating less foods with lots of sodium.
DASH approved foods:
If you need a little help deciding what would be an appropriate DASH approved food, check out our list of approved foods below.
- Fruits - Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Apricots, Avocado
- Vegetables - Tomatoes, Carrots, Broccoli, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Cauliflower
- Low-fat Dairy - Low-fat (1%) Milk, Skim Milk, Low-fat Cottage Cheese, Neufchatel Cheese
- Nuts, Seeds, Legumes - Almonds, Walnuts, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas, Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds
- Grains - Whole-grain variety Breads, Bagels, Cereal, Rice, or Pasta
- Lean Meats, Poultry, Fish - Skinless Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Tilapia, Pork Tenderloin
In addition to the limitations of sodium in the DASH diet plan, the National Heart, Lungs, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the following daily nutritional goals are also recommended:
- Total Fat limited to 27% of Calories
- Saturated Fat limited to 6% of Calories or lower, if possible
- Carbohydrates limited to 55% of Calories
- 30 grams of Fiber or more is recommended
- Cholesterol limited to 150 milligrams or less, if possible
- Protein is 18% of Calories
DASH nutrition plan
For those who learn best visually, here is what a recommended meal daily plan might look like for someone in their 30s with a moderate activity level who follows the recommended calorie intake of 2400-2600 according to the NHLBI:
- 10-11 servings of Whole Grains
- 5-6 servings of Vegetables
- 5-6 servings of Fruit
- 3 servings of Fat-Free or Low-Fat Dairy
- 6 servings or less of Lean Meats, Poultry, and Fish
- 1 serving of Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes
Fresh, Frozen or Canned?
When shopping for DASH approved foods, it’s important to differentiate the difference between buying fresh or frozen and buying canned. Canned vegetables often times have added sodium that makes them not as good for people with hypertension. Canned fruits are often canned with syrup and other added sugars making them an unhealthier option as well. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy canned vegetables or fruits, it just means you need to pay close attention to what you are buying so you can avoid the added sodium and sugar.
Is DASH a diet or a healthy lifestyle?
While the DASH diet was not intended to be used as a weight-loss diet, one of the added perks is actually potential weight-loss. It really depends on you, however. Unlike other popular diets going around the internet, the DASH diet is reliant on making manageable changes to your eating habits that are built on reliable, nutritional advice from experts and can lead to permanent healthy eating habits. Because the DASH diet encourages eating healthier, whole foods that are lower in sodium, added sugars, and unhealthy trans fats — weight-loss is common for most people who follow the dietary plan with proper portion sizes.
Smoothies and the DASH diet
While the DASH diet was not created specifically with smoothies in mind, the general guidelines put forth by the diet plan pairs perfectly with delicious DASH diet smoothies! Smoothies are a perfect way to incorporate DASH diet approved foods like fruits and vegetables into your busy everyday routines, like enjoying a delicious DASH diet breakfast smoothie on the go. Not only would these smoothies be a great lifestyle change for most people, DASH diet smoothies would be an easy way for picky eaters to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and other things they may not usually be able to handle. If this sounds like something you may be able to benefit from, read on because we have lots of great tips and tricks to help you create the best DASH diet smoothie recipes!
DASH Diet and Smoothie Recipes
As you may have seen us say before, there really is no right or wrong way to make a smoothie. The same holds when following the DASH eating plan. It all boils down to what you enjoy and what your individual tastes are. When you consider everything DASH entails, there really isn’t too many common smoothie ingredients you can’t use. Smoothie making is all about incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods into one easy to make, delicious to consume smoothie — all of which are acceptable and encouraged as a part of the DASH diet plan. Let’s take a look at the common DASH diet green smoothie for weight loss breakfast smoothie ingredients by the cup:
- Cauliflower - 27 Calories, 0 mg Cholesterol, 32 mg Sodium, 320 mg Potassium, 16 mg Magnesium, 24 mg Calcium
- Cucumber - 16 Calories, 0 mg Cholesterol, 2.66 mg Sodium, 181 mg Potassium, 15.96 mg Magnesium, 18.62 mg Calcium
- Spinach - 6.9 Calories, 0 mg Cholesterol, 24 mg Sodium, 167 mg Potassium, 24 mg Magnesium, 250 mg Calcium
- Avocado - 234 Calories, 0 mg Cholesterol, 10 mg Sodium, 708 mg Potassium, 42 mg Magnesium, 18 mg Calcium
As you can see, these DASH diet and smoothie approved ingredients are not only low in calories and sodium, they’re also jam-packed with calcium, magnesium, and potassium all of which play an important role in the DASH diet and impacting hypertension. It truly doesn’t get any better than that.
What about my smoothie bowl toppings?
There are other things to consider when making your DASH diet approved smoothie recipes. For instance, common ingredients like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and other similar nuts and seeds often times come in different varieties — salted and unsalted. Because the goal of the DASH diet is to lower sodium intake, it is important to always pick the unsalted variations to use in your smoothie recipes.
What liquid should I use for my DASH smoothie?
Our typical recommendation for liquid for a smoothie recipe is either water or a plant-based milk like almond milk or even coconut water, all depending on your nutritional goals. However, when following DASH, it’s also important when choosing your liquids that you stick to low-fat or fat-free dairy products and other liquids in your recipe that don’t contain any added sugar.
While almond milk and coconut water are great in smoothies, we suggest you focus on dairy products in your recipe. Skim (nonfat) or low fat milk are your best choices. You can even use yogurt or yogurt water, but make sure you're using "light" yogurt as they can add a lot of extra sugar. Throw it in your blender with with all of your other great ingredients and blend away
DASH Friendly Smoothies from Blendtopia
Blendtopia is proud to offer a variety of smoothie options that range from fruity and sweet all the way to tangy and green. Each of our pre-packaged smoothie kits are acceptable for use with the DASH diet when acceptable liquid bases are used. Discover some of our favorite DASH diet smoothie options from Blendtopia
This delicious and nutritious smoothie is just what you need to deliver a healthy balance of protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients that you will absolutely fall in love with. With only 80 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 230 mg Sodium, 2 g protein, 42 mg Calcium, and 242 mg Potassium — it’s exactly what you need to fill up on delicious healthy greens.
Our organic Detox Smoothie was created to help purify your body and help raise alkalinity and aid in healthy digestion. It’s also a great tool to kickstart whole food, clean eating dieting like the DASH diet. It only has 70 calories and 30 mg of sodium, and boasts 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg Calcium, and 290 mg Potassium!
This 100% organic smoothie is definitely a customer favorite and one of our favorite DASH diet approved smoothie kits. Immunity Smoothie is chock full of antioxidants that help protect your overall health. It only has 70 calories and 5 mg of Sodium per serving, and has no cholesterol, only 10 mg added sugar, 20 mg calcium, and 210 mg Potassium.
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