What Is the DASH Diet? A Guide to the Scientific Blood Pressure-Reducing Plan

It is not surprising that U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (or DASH) diet as one of the best diets overall. proper up arrow The DASH diet calls for moderate dietary modifications that are adaptable and based on scientifically supported nutritional guidance, in contrast to fad diets that demand high calorie or food-group limits without any proof of their effectiveness.

Since heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, this has made the eating plan popular among doctors, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. proper up arrow An estimated 50% of American people have high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease. One in three of them is unaware that they have high blood pressure. proper up arrow The main cause of death worldwide is heart disease. proper up arrow The good news is that patients with resistant hypertension, which is blood pressure that persists elevated despite medication, may benefit from lifestyle changes, including a move to a balanced diet, to lower blood pressure. proper up arrow

What Types of People Should Follow the DASH Diet, and Are There Any Variations?
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a division of the National Institutes of Health, established the DASH diet expressly to assist people in lowering high blood pressure.
proper up arrow High blood pressure is defined as systolic blood pressure (the top number) greater than 130 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) greater than 80 mmHg. proper up arrow

The MyPlate eating plan, which focuses on healthy foods including fruit and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, whole grains, and lean meats, fish, and poultry, is very similar to the food alternatives available on the DASH diet. proper up arrow The strategy also calls for restricting red meat, which has been associated with an elevated risk of coronary heart disease and eliminating processed foods like sugary drinks and packaged snacks. proper up arrow

Specific salt needs that can help people avoid hypertension are met by the DASH diet. proper up arrow This indicates that it’s an excellent diet for those who have high blood pressure, want to lower their risk of heart disease, may develop type 2 diabetes, or are already treating the condition. proper up arrow

You have two DASH diet options to select from, depending on your health requirements.

The recommended DASH diet The daily salt intake under this strategy is capped at 2,300 mg.

the DASH diet, which limits salt This version recommends reducing daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg.

The typical daily DASH eating plan also includes:

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preferably whole grains, in 6 to 8 servings.
6 servings or less of fish, poultry, and meat
four to five servings of vegetables
4 to 5 fruit servings
2 to 3 servings of dairy products with little or no fat
two to three portions of fat or oil
Here are a few more DASH diet-related estimated daily dietary objectives.
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About 27% of calories are made up of total fat.
6 percent or fewer of calories come from saturated fat.
About 18% of calories are made up of protein.
About 55% of calories are made up of carbohydrates.
There is a 150 mg cholesterol maximum.
30 grams (g) or more of fiber
You can select a DASH diet plan that offers 1,200, 1,400, 1,600, 1,800, 2,000, 2,600, or 3,100 calories per day based on your needs for weight loss or weight maintenance.
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With the use of numerous applications, you can keep track of the calories and nutrients you consume. One such software is Lose It! Calorie Counter, which is available for free download on Google Play and the App Store.

How Lowers Blood Pressure with the DASH Diet?
According to Sebring, Florida-based dietitian and diabetes educator Kimberley Rose-Francis, RDN, CDCES, the DASH diet reduce saturated fat and sodium, both of which can be harmful to heart health. According to Rose-Francis, a diet high in salt can raise blood pressure, which puts undue strain on the heart muscle. Conversely, saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels. According to Rose-Francis, cholesterol “has the ability to impede or decrease the flow of blood to the heart,” adding that reduced blood flow can result in heart attack and stroke.

The DASH diet also reduces blood pressure by consuming more meals high in fiber, lean protein, and other nutrients. proper up arrow
The diet should be used in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle choices to treat hypertension, such as increasing physical activity, lowering weight, reducing alcohol intake, and managing stress levels. It is also advised that you stop smoking and get enough rest because both of these things might enhance your general health. proper up arrow

A Sample DASH Diet Menu for a Week That You Can Use
The DASH diet recommends consuming a lot of fresh produce, but only a moderate amount of whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats like those found in fish and nuts.
proper up arrow This sets the DASH diet apart from other well-known strategies like the Atkins diet, the ketogenic diet, and the high-fat, low-carb diet. proper up arrow

Here is a typical DASH diet menu for a week. arrow to the right Day 1 Breakfast

2 tablespoons (tbsp) of peanut butter on 1 whole-wheat bagel (no salt added)
1 small orange
1 cup of milk without fat
coffee without caffeine

4 cups of fresh spinach leaves, 1 slice of pear, 1/2 cup of canned mandarin orange slices, 1/3 cup of slivered almonds, and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinaigrette are combined to make a spinach salad.
12 wheat crackers with less salt
1 cup of milk without fat

1 cup of low-calorie, fat-free yogurt
four vanilla wafers

3 ounces (oz) roasted cod with herbs
12 cups of vegetables and brown rice pilaf
Steamed green beans in a cup
2 teaspoons (tsp) of olive oil on 1 small sourdough roll
1 cup fresh berries and 1 teaspoon minced mint
Iced herbal tea on Day 2 for breakfast

1 cup of fat-free, low-calorie vanilla yogurt with 1 cup of fresh mixed fruits and 1/3 cup of walnuts.
Adding 1 teaspoon of trans-fat-free margarine to 1 bran muffin
1 cup of milk without fat
flavored tea


Using a whole-wheat tortilla, 2/3 cup chopped chicken, 1/2 cup diced apple, 1 1/2 tablespoons light mayonnaise, and 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, make a curried chicken wrap.
1/2 cup of baby carrots, uncooked
1 cup of milk without fat

2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, 22 unsalted tiny twist pretzels, and 1/4 cup of raisins were used to make a trail mix.

no more salt, 1 cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti, and 1 cup of marinara sauce
1 tbsp low-fat Caesar dressing drizzled over 2 cups of mixed salad greens
1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 small whole-wheat roll
Sparkling water and one nectarine

3rd-day breakfast

1 cup of low-fat milk and 1/4 cup of bran flakes cereal
1 large banana
Whole-wheat bread with one teaspoon of trans-fat-free margarine
Orange juice, 1 cup

On top of 2 12 cups romaine lettuce, a tuna salad with 12 cups drained, unsalted water-packed tuna, 2 tbsp light mayonnaise, 15 grapes, and 14 cups sliced celery is presented.
8 toast crackers from Melba
1 cup of milk without fat


1 cup of yogurt, light
Dinner: 1 medium peach

3 ounces of beef and 1 cup each of peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes are used to make a beef and veggie kebab.
Uncooked wild rice, 1 cup
Pecans, 1/3 cup
1 cup of chunky pineapple
4 oz of cran-raspberry juice and 4 to 8 oz of sparkling water are combined to make a spritzer of cranberries.
4th-day breakfast

1 teaspoon of cinnamon added to 1 cup of oatmeal
Whole-wheat bread with one teaspoon of trans-fat-free margarine
one banana
1 cup of milk without fat

2 slices of whole wheat bread, 1/4 cup of chicken salad, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and 1/4 cup each of cucumber slices, tomato wedges, sunflower seeds, and low-calorie Italian dressing
12 cups of fruit cocktail and 1 pack of juice

14 cups raisins and 1/3 cup unsalted almonds
12 cup fruit yogurt without added sugar or fat

2 tablespoons of fat-free beef gravy and 3 ounces of roast beef
1 cup of green beans cooked in 1/2 teaspoon of canola oil
One small baked potato with one tablespoon each of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, fat-free sour cream, and chopped scallions
1 little apple
one cup of nonfat milk

5th-day breakfast

12 cups instant oats
one mini-wholegrain bagel with one tablespoon of peanut butter
1 large banana
one cup of nonfat milk

3 ounces of skinless chicken breast, 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 slice of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 1 large leaf of romaine lettuce, 2 tomato slices, and 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayo make up a chicken breast sandwich.
1 cantaloupe cup
apple juice, 1 cup

1/4 cup dried apricots and 1/3 cup unsalted almonds
1 cup fruit yogurt without added sugar or fat

34 cups vegetarian spaghetti sauce with 1 cup of pasta and 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
With 1/4 cup grated carrots, 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, and 1 tablespoon vinaigrette dressing, make a spinach salad with 1 cup of fresh spinach leaves.
1/2 cup corn (cooked from frozen)
12 cups of pears in cans with a juice pack
6th-day breakfast

Whole-wheat bread with one teaspoon of margarine
1 cup fruit yogurt without added sugar or fat
1 small peach
Grape juice, 1/2 cup

Two slices of whole-wheat bread, two ounces of low-fat, low-sodium ham, one large leaf of romaine lettuce, two slices of tomato, one slice of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and one tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise make up a ham and cheese sandwich.
a serving of carrot sticks

1/4 cup dried apricots and 1/3 cup unsalted almonds
one cup of nonfat milk
apple juice, 1 cup

Chicken and rice Spanish
1 teaspoon of canola oil sautéed with 1 cup of green peas
1 cantaloupe cup
one cup of nonfat milk
7th-day breakfast

1 granola bar low in fat
1 large banana
12 cup fruit yogurt without added sugar or fat
Orange juice, 1 cup
one cup of nonfat milk

3 ounces of cooked turkey, 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 large leaf of romaine lettuce, 2 slices of tomato, 2 tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise, and 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard make up a turkey breast sandwich.
1 cup of broccoli, steaming (cooked from frozen)
1 snack, medium orange

Unsalted peanuts, 2 tablespoons
one cup of nonfat milk
Dried apricots, 1/4 cup


Fish baked in 3 oz.
Scallion rice, 1 cup
12 frozen spinach, 2 tsp canola oil, and 1 tbsp slivered, unsalted almonds are used to make spinach in a sauté.
Cup of carrots (cooked from frozen)
One tiny whole-wheat roll with one teaspoon of margarine
1 little cookie

Possible Benefits of the DASH Diet, According to Research
The DASH diet is an excellent choice for anyone looking to change to a healthy diet and is advised for those who want to lower their blood pressure. It may also result in weight loss since it places an emphasis on whole foods that are naturally low in harmful fats and added sugars, as well as moderate quantities, as it did in a group of adults with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, according to one study. proper up arrow

The DASH diet has a number of advantages.

The DASH Diet Usually Leads To Sustainability
The diet is simple to maintain as a lifelong dietary decision and offers variation.
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Its purpose is to aid in lowering high blood pressure.
According to studies, those who follow this diet can drop their blood pressure. For instance, one study discovered that those with a systolic blood pressure of more than 150 mmHg experienced the greatest blood pressure-decreasing effects. proper up arrow

You May Have a Lower Risk of Certain Diseases If You Follow the Diet
Improved renal function, better control of blood sugar, and better eye health can all be a result of a stronger heart. The DASH diet reduces the chance of developing chronic kidney disease, according to one study. proper up arrow According to the NHLBI, the DASH diet may also lower your risk of stroke.

It may improve overall heart health.
In a different study, type 2 diabetic women who adhered to the DASH diet had a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease than those who did not place as much emphasis on fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
proper up arrow In contrast, several studies revealed that the DASH diet with salt restriction reduced the incidence of heart strain and injury. proper up arrow

Mark Gatiss: “I’m honestly frightened that we are losing the caff for good.”

Improved Type 2 Diabetes Management
Another study discovered that the DASH diet was associated with lessened insulin resistance, which is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes when combined with a weight loss program and exercise routine.
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Improved Nutrition
Because processed and packed foods frequently include the highest levels of added salt and sugar, the DASH diet places a strong emphasis on consuming whole and fresh foods. A diet rich in these foods tends to be nutritionally balanced and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. proper up arrow

The DASH Diet’s Potential Drawbacks: Notes from Experts
The DASH diet has very few disadvantages. The lack of a clear plan for how to reduce weight, however, may worry some people.

According to Nancy L. Cohen, Ph.D., RD, professor emerita of nutrition at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, “It is not designed for weight loss, per se, but it offers different numbers of servings for the food groups for different calorie levels, so you could follow a [more targeted] weight loss diet with this plan.”

Others might struggle to get used to consuming the amount of fiber that the DASH diet advises. To prevent bloating, cramping, gas, and physical pain try gradually introducing high-fiber foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Drink plenty of water while doing this. proper up arrow

The DASH Diet’s Potential Short- and Long-Term Effects
According to research, the DASH diet can be an effective, long-term, and healthful eating strategy for reducing blood pressure and possibly losing weight.

For instance, following the DASH diet for just a little over a month had positive health effects. In one study, participants who followed the DASH diet saw reductions in biomarkers for heart strain of 23% and heart injury of 20%. Participants who followed a low-sodium version of the diet (50 millimoles per day) saw even greater benefits and saw reductions in biomarkers for inflammation of 13% and heart injury of 18%. proper up arrow

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If you stick with the diet over time, those heart benefits will remain. Another study examined over 4,500 people who followed the DASH diet for 13 years, ranging in age from 45 to 84, and of various ethnic backgrounds. In the group of those under 75, the researchers discovered that the DASH diet prevented heart failure. proper up arrow

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