DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been named the Best Overall Diet and the Healthiest Diet by U.S. News & World Report for six years in a row. I am a fan of the Mediterranean diet (very similar to DASH) and healthy aging, so I had to pick up this book to see what all the fuss was about.
Marla Heller, MS, RD is a bestselling author and registered dietitian who has written four books on the DASH diet. Heller’s fourth book on the subject, “The DASH Diet Younger You” is written from the perspective that if we follow a DASH diet, and live the DASH lifestyle program, we will help prevent diseases that come with age (hypertension, stroke, dementia, cancer, etc.). Heller does a great job of convincing me that DASH is a great program by highlighting several scientific studies and quite a few testimonials from people who have had success with the program.
The book is full of reminders to eat lots of plant-based foods (and reasons for doing so) and to keep moving. Heller includes a 14-week meal plan complete with recipes (Chapter 8 is loaded with her favourites) and she tells us it’s okay to drink a glass of wine daily. DASH encourages us to choose foods with flavinoids (colourful foods), antioxidants and probiotics. We are discouraged to eat added sugar, added salt and processed foods. In order to help eliminate toxins and help us feel (and look) younger, she says it’s better to eat organic and to choose food that is “clean” or in its natural state.
One of the differences I noticed when comparing the two diets, is that Greek yogurt is preferred by the Mediterranean diet and discouraged in the DASH diet. Heller states she “discourages Greek yogurt…because much of the potassium and calcium is lost during the filtration process, and these are the key mineral you need for the DASH diet to work.” Instead, she recommends low-fat and nonfat dairy and states yogurt is a source of “good bacteria” for your gut.
Overall, the book is easy-to-read, informative and very convincing. The DASH program for a younger you (by lengthening telomeres) appears to be very easy to attain. I plan to implement some of the ideas I learned in this book to my own dietary and lifestyle habits in pursuit of healthy aging.
Watch a video on the subject: DASH Diet with Marla Heller, MS, RD, Preview
Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW
Specialist in Aging www.AngelaGGentile.com