Facts that can help you keep your daughter healthy and fit
A new study published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows that the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, or the DASH diet, keeps girls between the ages of 9 and 19 healthy and fit. Dates can also help keep teens healthy and fit, whether they are on the DASH diet or not.
What is the DASH diet?
The diet was originally an eating plan for adults with high blood pressure who were at risk for heart problems. But researchers have found that girls who followed the nutrition guidelines the DASH diet set in place had the smallest gains in body mass index (BMI) over 10 years.
The DASH diet emphasizes higher consumption of low-fat dairy products; fish, chicken and lean meats; and nuts, fruits, whole grains, vegetables and legumes. Multiple studies have indicated the diet, long promoted by the American Heart Association, leads to significant blood pressure reduction and better overall health.
Who did the study examine?
The study examined data from 2,237 girls, starting at age 9, who participated in the National Growth and Health Study. These girls were followed for up to a decade after the beginning of the study in 1985. Data was gathered annually and each participant was given a DASH food group score based on how closely their diet resembled the DASH diet.
Girls with the highest DASH scores gained the least weight leaving them at lower risks for heart problems in the future. These girls ate more fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products than other participants.
Where do Dates come in?
Dates in particular are a great fruit to consider when doing the Dash diet. For one thing, the dash diet requires several servings of fruit throughout the day. Many Americans don’t usually consider dates when they shop for fruit. But that’s a mistake. Dates are one of the few truly healthy fruits available. Overall they are low in sugar, and the sugars that they do have are natural.
This is also why Dates make great snacks for kids who are watching their weight or being healthy. Kids who are in school all day tend to get fatigued, usually just before lunch, and then again later on in the afternoon. Dates have whole fruit natural sugars that produce energy. Sending your kids with a handful of dates for their mid-day or late afternoon snack keeps them healthy but gives them the energy, fiber and nutrients they need.
Dates are also sodium free and have more potassium than bananas, which are two key elements that when in balance make the Dash diet successful at lowering blood pressure.
Research shows that if you teach kids about healthy nutritious foods early, they are more likely to eat them as adults. Teaching young children to love whole fresh fruit like dates and to eat healthy nutritious food will be better for their overall health as they age.
See our brochures and our nutrition guides for more information about this delicious fruit!