DASH For High Blood Pressure

DASH is a dietary plan that has been proven to reduce high blood pressure. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is a balanced eating plan that has been shown to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet also improved blood lipid levels and reduced the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

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What you choose to eat, greatly affects your chances of developing high blood pressure. In the majority of cases, high blood pressure can be avoided.

The Complete DASH Diet for Beginners: The Essential Guide to Lose Weight and Live Healthy is an excellent resource to learn and implement the DASH diet.

DASH For High Blood Pressure

DASH is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life.

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals. This plan recommends:

  • Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
  • Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
  • Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
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Nuts Are A Staple for the DASH diet.

Tips To Immediately Adopt the DASH Diet

  • If you are not used to eating fruits and vegetables, try an add a serving of each to lunch and dinner
  • You can add a serving of fruit to your meals or have it as a snack. The DASH diet calls for at least 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • The diet requires at least 3 servings of dairy. You can drink 8 ounces of low-fat milk with lunch and dinner. You should not be drinking any soda, alcohol, or sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • If you get a sugar craving, try eating a piece of fruit, dried fruits, low-fat chocolate milk, or sugar-free gelatin.
  • Based on these recommendations, the following table shows examples of daily and weekly servings that meet DASH eating plan targets for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.

Tips To Help You Succeed on the DASH Diet

  • You should sit down to eat at a table
  • You should exercise 30 minutes daily
  • Do not smoke
  • Try a new vegetable and fruit every week
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 Sample Dash Diet Menu


1 cup cooked oatmeal
1/2 cup canned pears, packed in juice
Morning Snack

1 small banana
1 cup yogurt

Turkey Sandwich:
2 slices whole grain bread
2 slices of tomato & 2 large romaine lettuce leaves
1 slice low sodium Swiss cheese
2 ounces sliced turkey
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable juice
Afternoon Snack

1/3 cup nuts
1 apple
1/3 cup almonds

Baked Fish with Rice and Vegetables
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
3 ounces baked fish
with 1 tablespoon oil
1/2 medium sweet potato
1/2 cup cooked green beans
1 cup non-fat milk
1/2 cup sliced strawberries

Daily and Weekly DASH Eating Plan Goals for a 2,000-Calorie-a-Day Diet

Food Group

Daily Servings



Meats, poultry, and fish

6 or less





Low-fat or fat-free dairy products


Fats and oils



2,300 mg*

Weekly Servings
Nuts, seeds, dry beans, and peas



5 or less

*1,500 milligrams (mg) sodium lowers blood pressure even further than 2,300 mg sodium daily.

When following the DASH eating plan, it is important to choose foods that are:

  • Low in saturated and trans fats
  • Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein
  • Lower in sodium

Whole Wheat Mini Pizza Recipe

Dash Pizza recipe

  • For the Crust:
  • 1 package active dry or fresh yeast
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • Topping For One Tomato Cheese Pizza:
  • 1 ounce tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup Fontina
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • Topping For One Vegetable Pizza:
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup raw spinach (sautéed in olive oil with 1 teaspoons chopped garlic, then cooled


1. Before you are ready to bake the pizzas, preheat the oven with a pizza stone inside to 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup of the warm water.

3. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt.  Add the oil, yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed.

4. Roll or stretch the dough, a quarter at a time, into a 7- to 8- inch circle and place it on a lightly floured wood peel.

5. For each pizza, place the ingredients on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the edge.

6. Slide the pizzas onto the hot stone and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Dash Diet Tips

  • Choose fruit for an easy to grab a snack. Try fruit that is ready to eat like apples, bananas or canned cut fruit. Pick canned fruit that is canned in juice.
  • Try casseroles, pasta and stir-fry dishes. They are great ways to use less meat and more vegetables, beans, and grains.
  • Add an extra vegetable serving to your lunch and dinner.
  • Wash and cut up fresh vegetables and keep them in a clear container in the fridge. This will save you time when you want to use them.
  •  Keep frozen vegetables handy to add to stir-frys, casseroles, homemade soups, and sauces.
  • Choose whole-grain products whenever you can. They will help fill you up and add fiber to your diet.
  • Include low-fat milk with meals. Replace sweetened drinks with low-fat milk. Add low-fat milk to cooked cereals and homemade soups.
  • Slowly reduce your portion size of the meat, poultry, or fish. Fill your plate with more vegetables
  • Snack on low-fat yogurt or a small piece of low-fat cheese.
  • Take the saltshaker off the table. Do not add salt when cooking, or cut the amount of salt.

Lose Weight, If Necessary, While Following DASH

[su_highlight background=”#99daff” color=”#181314″]DASH is rich in lower-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables, so it easily can be changed to support weight loss. You can reduce calories even more by replacing higher calorie foods, such as sweets, with more fruits and vegetables. The best way to take off pounds is to do it slowly, over time, by getting more physical activity and eating fewer calories. To develop a weight-loss or weight-maintenance program that’s tailored for you, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.[/su_highlight]

1. Why Does the DASH diet reduce high blood pressure?

1The DASH diet is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. The diet consists of 1500mg of sodium per day.

2. What are the benefits of the DASH diet?

Excess sodium has been implicated in high blood pressure. Therefore, eating 1500mg of sodium per day has been proven to reduce blood pressure. This diet lowered the blood pressure by an average of 12 mmHg systolic. The diet reduced cholesterol levels.


  • Read food labels, and choose items that are lower in sodium and salt, particularly for convenience foods and condiments.*
  • Choose fresh poultry, fish, and lean meats instead of cured food such as bacon and ham.
  • Choose fresh or frozen versus canned fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid food with added salt, such as pickles, pickled vegetables, olives, and sauerkraut.
  • Avoid instant or flavored rice and pasta.
  • Don’t add salt when cooking rice, pasta, and hot cereals.
  • Flavor your foods with salt-free seasoning blends, fresh or dried herbs, and spices, or fresh lemon or lime juice.
  • Rinse canned foods or foods soaked in brine before using to remove the sodium.
  • Use less table salt to flavor food.
  • Ask that foods be prepared without added salt or MSG, commonly used in Asian foods.
  • Avoid choosing menu items that have salty ingredients such as bacon, pickles, olives, and cheese.
  • Avoid choosing menu items that include foods that are pickled, cured, smoked, or made with soy sauce or broth.
  • Choose fruit or vegetables as a side dish, instead of chips or fries. References from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan

Tips for Lifelong Success

When changing lifestyle habits, it is normal to slip off track occasionally. Follow these tips to get you back on track.

  • Ask yourself why you got off track. Find out what triggered your sidetrack, and restart the DASH eating plan.
  • Don’t worry about a slip. Everyone slips, especially when learning something new. Remember that changing your lifestyle is a long-term process.
  • Don’t change too much at once. When starting a new lifestyle, try to avoid changing too much at once. Slow changes lead to success.
  • Break down the process. Break goals into smaller, simpler steps, each of which is attainable.
  • Write it down. Use the Daily DASH Log to keep track of what you eat and what you’re doing while you are eating. You may find that you eat unhealthy foods while watching television. If so, you could start keeping a healthier substitute snack on hand.
  • Celebrate success. Instead of eating out to celebrate your accomplishments, try a night at the movies, go shopping, visit the library or bookstore, or watch your favorite TV show

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  1. What does “DASH” stand for?
    • DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
  2. What is the DASH diet?
    • The DASH diet is an eating plan that focuses on lowering blood pressure. It emphasizes consuming foods that are low in sodium and rich in nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
  3. What are the main principles of the DASH diet?
    • The main principles of the DASH diet include consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. It also recommends limiting foods high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
  4. Can the DASH diet help with weight loss?
    • While weight loss is not the primary goal of the DASH diet, it can be effective for weight management due to its emphasis on whole, nutrient-dense foods. By following the DASH diet, individuals may naturally consume fewer calories and achieve a healthy weight over time.
  5. Is the DASH diet suitable for everyone?
    • The DASH diet is generally considered a healthy eating plan suitable for most individuals. However, if you have specific dietary restrictions or health conditions, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting any new diet.
  6. How does the DASH diet lower blood pressure?
    • The DASH diet helps lower blood pressure by promoting a balanced intake of nutrients, particularly potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which have been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure levels. Additionally, reducing sodium intake is a key component of the DASH diet, as high sodium consumption is associated with increased blood pressure.
  7. Can I still enjoy snacks and desserts on the DASH diet?
    • The DASH diet encourages choosing healthier snack and dessert options. Instead of high-sodium or sugary snacks, you can opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole-grain snacks. When it comes to desserts, it’s best to choose options that are low in added sugars and fat.
  8. Are there any potential drawbacks to the DASH diet?
    • The DASH diet is generally safe and nutritious. However, for individuals who are used to a high-sodium or high-fat diet, the transition to the DASH diet may require some adjustments. It’s important to make gradual changes and seek guidance from a healthcare professional or registered dietitian if needed.
  9. Are there any specific guidelines for following the DASH diet?
    • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides detailed guidelines for following the DASH diet. These guidelines include recommended daily servings of different food groups, as well as tips for reducing sodium intake and incorporating physical activity.
  10. Can the DASH diet be combined with other dietary approaches?
    • The DASH diet can be combined with other dietary approaches, depending on individual needs and preferences. For example, it can be modified to be vegetarian or vegan-friendly, or it can be adapted to fit a gluten-free or dairy-free diet. It’s important to ensure that any modifications still meet nutritional requirements.

4 thoughts on “DASH For High Blood Pressure”

  1. Phylis,I spent a few days in hospital,I have form of muscular dystrophy ( facial scalpur humeral) ,consultant told me the valves leading to my heart looked a bit rough due to wear and tear,I am now on an asprin and a betablocker every day,my troponin was 55 but after a pill to thin the blood it went down 46 ,would dash be good for me,I’m 67 years old,Davy


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