DASH Diet

The DASH diet stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." It is a healthy eating plan that has been shown to reduce high blood pressure (hypertension) in as little as 14 days, while also possibly providing other significant health benefits. These other health benefits include reducing the risk of breast cancer after menopause and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, and stroke. Health benefits also include weight loss and slowing kidney failure in patients with chronic kidney disease.

DIET GUIDELINES

  • Limit salt (sodium). Your diet should contain less than 1500 mg of sodium daily.

  • Limit refined or processed carbohydrates. Your diet should include mostly whole grains. Desserts and added sugars should be used sparingly.

  • Include small amounts of heart-healthy fats. These types of fats include nuts, oils, and tub margarine. Limit saturated and trans fats. These fats have been shown to be harmful in the body.

CHOOSING FOODS

The following food groups are based on a 2000 calorie diet. See your Registered Dietitian for individual calorie needs.

Grains and Grain Products (6 to 8 servings daily)

  • Eat More Often: Whole-wheat bread, brown rice, whole-grain or wheat pasta, quinoa, popcorn without added fat or salt (air popped).

  • Eat Less Often: White bread, white pasta, white rice, cornbread.

Vegetables (4 to 5 servings daily)

  • Eat More Often: Fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables. Vegetables may be raw, steamed, roasted, or grilled with a minimal amount of fat.

  • Eat Less Often/Avoid: Creamed or fried vegetables. Vegetables in a cheese sauce.

Fruit (4 to 5 servings daily)

  • Eat More Often: All fresh, canned (in natural juice), or frozen fruits. Dried fruits without added sugar. One hundred percent fruit juice (½ cup [237 mL] daily).

  • Eat Less Often: Dried fruits with added sugar. Canned fruit in light or heavy syrup.

Lean Meats, Fish, and Poultry (2 servings or less daily. One serving is 3 to 4 oz [85-114 g]).

  • Eat More Often: Ninety percent or leaner ground beef, tenderloin, sirloin. Round cuts of beef, chicken breast, turkey breast. All fish. Grill, bake, or broil your meat. Nothing should be fried.

  • Eat Less Often/Avoid: Fatty cuts of meat, turkey, or chicken leg, thigh, or wing. Fried cuts of meat or fish.

Dairy (2 to 3 servings)

  • Eat More Often: Low-fat or fat-free milk, low-fat plain or light yogurt, reduced-fat or part-skim cheese.

  • Eat Less Often/Avoid: Milk (whole, 2%). Whole milk yogurt. Full-fat cheeses.

Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes (4 to 5 servings per week)

  • Eat More Often: All without added salt.

  • Eat Less Often/Avoid: Salted nuts and seeds, canned beans with added salt.

Fats and Sweets (limited)

  • Eat More Often: Vegetable oils, tub margarines without trans fats, sugar-free gelatin. Mayonnaise and salad dressings.

  • Eat Less Often/Avoid: Coconut oils, palm oils, butter, stick margarine, cream, half and half, cookies, candy, pie.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

The Dash Diet Eating Plan: www.dashdiet.org