My coauthors and I are excited to bring you this excellent resource for heart-healthy living. It’s on bookshelves and available online at a bookstore near you: DASH Diet For Dummies®, 2nd edition.

It’s About Healthy Living

DASH isn’t a fad diet. It’s about meal planning and lifestyle change. The book helps you understand what DASH is, the science behind it (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and offers you tools to improve your overall health. It takes a look at how your heart works, why blood pressure and cholesterol matters, and even touches on how to reduce your risk of diabetes.

This past year has hopefully helped people understand how precious their health is. The current pandemic has brought attention to the notion of risk. A health risk is the chance or likelihood that something will harm or possibly affect your health.

There is no one food (or supplement!) that cures. Dietary change can't completely prevent disease, but healthy habits can reduce risk. Click To Tweet

What you eat can, and how you behave, have an impact on your risk of getting sick. While you can’t change your genetic makeup, you can change the choices you voluntarily make. Eating well, sitting less (and getting regular physical activity), not smoking, checking in with your doctor and dietitian (following advice and taking medications properly) and managing stress are all some examples of things you can control. All of this is addressed in Chapters 6 through 10 in DASH Diet For Dummies, 2nd edition.

Stress and Your Health

This year has been rough, but your health is even more important during stressful times. Some of the stressors are impossible to remove. Others can be lightened. Your mental outlook can improve if you remove some of the stress in your life. For example, if watching or reading too much news increases anxiety, then put down your phone or don’t watch it, Take a two minutes several times a day to practice deep breathing exercise (it really works). Take a 10 minute home-office break to walk or get up and do 15 jumping jacks or a 30-second plank. Find someone you can talk through things with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to be vulnerable.

Something for Everyone

I often hear that eating healthy food is too expensive. This isn’t always the case. For instance, canned and frozen fruits and veggies can be incorporated into DASH to lower blood pressure. Pasta, beans, peanut butter, brown rice, canned tomatoes, and canned tuna are all affordable, shelf-stable staples to keep on the shelf. Sure, DASH encourages a lower sodium intake, but the nutrition in canned beans or tomatoes outweighs the sodium.

Since a heart-healthy diet includes only small amounts of meat (but allows beef, pork, poultry, lamb or veal – in smaller portions), you can save money by eating less meat and balancing your plate with more grains, beans, canned or frozen vegetables, and whole grain cereals. Chapters 13 and 14 offer tips to help you save money in the kitchen by getting organized, shopping wisely and reducing food waste.

If you are challenged with unemployment and a limited food budget, your regular food shopping habits may have changed recently. Chapter 16 discusses some non-food habits. Getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness in your everyday life, and finding ways to copy with stress are also important to your body’s heart health and your immune system health. It is still possible to make healthy choices, even on a budget. However if you are really struggling do reach out for help. You and your health are worth it.

Of Course – There’s the Food

We want to help you understand that DASH is good for your health, but we also want to help you learn about ways to make it delicious! That’s what Part 4 of the book (chapters 17-23) are all about. Take a look at the Lasagna Spaghetti Squash Bowls in Chapter 21 of the book. They are dinner in one bowl! Nutritious and delicious, this quick meal only costs only $2.50 per serving (less than a fast food meal). Delicious! You’ll find over 40 recipes in the book, along with meal planning ideas and ways to add flavor with less salt.

We look forward to your reviews of the book. Do leave comments below for us!