June 12, 2024

Dietary Approaches for Stopping Hypertension is what DASH stands.

The DASH diet, or healthy eating plan, is designed to prevent high blood pressure (also called hypertension) and treat it. The DASH diet may also help lower the cholesterol that is linked to heart disease. This cholesterol is called low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL).

Heart disease and stroke are both linked to high blood pressure and high LDL levels.

The DASH diet is rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, whole grains and fruits. The DASH diet includes dairy products with low or no fat, fish, poultry and beans.

Diets that limit sodium, or salt, are also restricted. The diet also restricts added sugars and saturated fats, as found in meats with high levels of saturated fat and dairy products.

How DASH Works

DASH reduces hypertension through a diet that lowers sodium to 2300 mg per day. Even further blood pressure reduction is achieved by lowering sodium intake to 1500mg per day. DASH also includes foods that are rich in nutrients, like potassium, calcium and magnesium, which may help lower blood pressure for some people.

You will:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as fat-free or reduced-fat dairy
  • Include whole grains and beans, as well as seeds, nuts and vegetable oils
  • Fish, poultry and lean meats
  • Reduce your intake of salt, red meat and sweets
  • Limit alcohol consumption

Exercise at a moderate intensity should be done every day of the week for 30 minutes. Brisk walking and riding a bicycle are examples. At least 2 hours 30 minutes of physical activity per week is recommended.

If you want to lower your blood pressure, then the DASH diet is for you. You can lose weight by following the DASH diet. The majority of people will benefit by reducing their sodium intake to 2300mg per day.

If you are:

Do not stop taking medicine for high blood pressure while you are on the DASH Diet. Tell your doctor that you’re following the DASH Diet.

Start the DASH Diet

The DASH diet requires a specific number of servings per day from different food groups. The number of portions you need may vary depending on the amount of calories you consume per day.

You can change your diet gradually. Start by limiting your sodium intake to 2,400 mg per day (roughly 1 teaspoon). Once your body is used to the new diet, you can reduce sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day (2/3 teaspoon). The amounts listed here include sodium from all sources, such as food products and anything you add to your meals or cook.

Understand your serving sizes

You need to understand the serving size to determine how much you should eat. Here are some sample servings of each food group.


  • Raw Leafy Vegetables: 1 cup (70 grams).
  • Half cup (90g) of chopped raw or cooked vegetables


  • 1 medium fruit (168 grams or 6 ounces)
  • Fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 1/2 cup (70 g)
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) dried fruit

Low-fat or fat-free dairy products

  • Milk or yogurt, 1 cup (240 ml)
  • Cheese weighing 1 1/2 ounces (oz) or about 50 grams (g).

Grain (Aim to choose whole grain grains for all your choices. Whole grain products have more protein and fiber than refined grain products. ):

  • One slice of bread
  • Half a cup (80 grams), cooked pasta, rice or cereal

Fish, poultry and lean meats:

  • 3 oz. (85 g.) of cooked lean meat or poultry

Nuts and seeds:

  • Half a cup (90 grams), cooked legumes (dried peas, beans)
  • 1/3 cup (45 grams) nuts
  • 10 grams of seeds = 1 tablespoon

Fats and oils:

  • Vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters).
  • Low-fat salad dressing, 2 tablespoons (30 grams).
  • Soft margarine, 1 teaspoon (5 grams).

Sweets with added sugars:

  • Sugar, 1 Tablespoon (15 grams).
  • 15 grams of jelly or jam
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) sorbet, gelatin dessert

Dash Diet Tips

  • Add vegetables to your lunch and dinner.
  • You can add a portion of fruit as a healthy snack or to your meal. You can use dried and canned fruits, but make sure they do not contain added sugar.
  • Use low-fat condiments instead of regular butter, margarine or salad dressing.
  • Use low-fat or non-fat dairy products whenever you would use cream or full-fat.
  • Limit your meat intake to six ounces per day. Make some of your meals vegetarian.
  • Increase your intake of vegetables and beans.
  • You can snack on unsalted nuts or pretzels instead of chips and sweets. Also, you can eat frozen yogurt or low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • Choose products with lower sodium levels by reading the labels.

DASH diet: Alcohol and caffeine

Too much alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure. Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises men to limit their alcohol intake to two drinks per day, and women to just one.

The DASH diet doesn’t talk about caffeine. It’s not clear how caffeine affects blood tension. Caffeine can temporarily raise blood pressure.

Consider cutting back on caffeine if you suffer from high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about caffeine.

Take aim at salt

Foods at the heart of the DASH Diets low in sodium. Following the DASH Diet is likely to reduce salt intake.

Salt reduction:

  • Choose low-salt foods or those with no salt added.
  • Instead of salt, use spices or flavors that are salt-free.
  • When cooking pasta, rice or hot cereals, don’t add any salt.
  • Select plain, fresh or frozen vegetables.
  • Fresh skinless poultry and fish, as well as lean cuts of beef or meat are best.
  • Eat less restaurant food. Ask for less salt in your food at restaurants.

You may notice that the food you eat tastes different when you reduce your intake of processed and salty foods. Your taste buds may need time to adjust. Once your taste buds adjust, you may prefer DASH. You’ll feel better and be healthier.

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