In truth, the variety of individuals with hypertension has actually doubled in the last 40 years — a serious health concern, as high blood pressure is linked to a greater threat of conditions such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.

As diet is believed to play a significant function in the development of hypertension, scientists and policymakers have actually engineered specific dietary strategies to assist lower it.

What Is the DASH Diet?

The DASH diet, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a recommended eating plan for individuals looking to prevent or manage hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, and lower their risk of heart disease.

The main focus of the DASH diet plan is on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.

After scientists discovered that individuals who adhered to a plant-based diet, such as vegetarians and vegans, had a lower prevalence of high blood pressure, the diet plan was developed.

The emphasis of the DASH diet plan is on consuming fruits and vegetables, along with incorporating lean sources of protein such as chicken, fish, and beans. This diet limits the intake of red meat, salt, sugar, and fat.

Researchers believe that individuals with hypertension can benefit from this diet due to its ability to reduce their consumption of salt.

The standard DASH diet plan encourages a maximum of 1 teaspoon (2,300 mg) of sodium daily, which aligns with various national guidelines.

The lower-salt version recommends no more than 3/4 teaspoon (1,500 mg) of sodium per day.

The DASH diet was designed to reduce high blood pressure. While rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, it limits red meat, salt, sugarcoated and fat.

Prospective Benefits

Beyond reducing blood pressure, the DASH diet plan provides a number of possible advantages, including weight-loss and reduced cancer threat.

However, you should not expect DASH to assist you shed weight on its own — as it was developed fundamentally to lower high blood pressure. Weight reduction might merely be an included perk.

The diet plan affects your body in several ways.

Lowers Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a step of the force placed on your blood vessels and organs as your blood goes through them. It’s counted in two numbers:

  • Systolic pressure: The pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.
  • Diastolic pressure: The pressure in your capillary between heartbeats, when your heart is at rest.

Typical blood pressure for grownups is a systolic pressure listed below 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure listed below 80 mmHg. This is usually written with the systolic high blood pressure above the diastolic pressure, like this: 120/80.

Individuals with a high blood pressure reading of 140/90 are considered to have hypertension.

Surprisingly, the DASH diet plan demonstrably reduces blood pressure in both healthy people and those with high blood pressure.

In studies, people on the DASH diet plan still experienced lower high blood pressure even if they didn’t reduce weight or limit salt consumption.

Nevertheless, when sodium intake was restricted, the DASH diet plan reduced high blood pressure even further. In fact, the best decreases in high blood pressure were seen in individuals with the most affordable salt usage.

These low-salt DASH diet results were most remarkable in people who already had hypertension, reducing systolic blood pressure by an average of 12 mmHg and diastolic high blood pressure by 5 mmHg.

In people with typical blood pressure, it lowered systolic blood pressure by 4 mmHg and diastolic by 2 mmHg.

This remains in line with other research studies which reveal that limiting salt consumption can lower blood pressure — especially in those who have high blood pressure.

Bear in mind that a decrease in blood pressure does not always translate to a reduced danger of heart disease.

May Aid Weight Loss

You will likely experience lower blood pressure on the DASH diet plan whether or not you slim down.

However, if you already have hypertension, opportunities are you have been encouraged to drop weight.

This is since the more you weigh, the greater your high blood pressure is likely to be.

Furthermore, losing weight has been revealed to lower high blood pressure.

Some studies suggest that individuals can reduce weight on the DASH diet plan.

Nevertheless, those who have reduced weight on the DASH diet have been in a regulated calorie deficit — implying they were told to consume less calories than they were using up.

Given that the DASH diet plan cuts out a great deal of high-fat, sweet foods, people may find that they instantly lower their calorie consumption and lose weight. Other individuals might have to purposely limit their consumption.

Either way, if you want to drop weight on the DASH diet, you’ll still require to go on a calorie-reduced diet.

Other Potential Health Benefits

DASH might likewise impact other locations of health. The diet plan:

  • Reduces cancer danger: A current evaluation showed that people following the DASH diet plan had a lower risk of some cancers, including colorectal and breast cancer.
  • Lowers metabolic syndrome danger: Some research studies keep in mind that the DASH diet reduces your danger of metabolic syndrome by up to 81%.
  • Lowers diabetes risk: The diet has been linked to a lower danger of type 2 diabetes. Some studies show that it can improve insulin resistance also.
  • Decreases cardiovascular disease danger: In one current review in women, following a DASH-like diet was related to a 20% lower threat of heart problem and a 29% lower risk of stroke.

A lot of these protective impacts are credited to the diet plan’s high fruit and veggie content. In general, eating more vegetables and fruits can help in reducing risk of disease.

What to Eat on the Diet?

The DASH diet plan does not list specific foods to consume.

Instead, it advises particular portions of various food groups.

The number of portions you can eat depends on the number of calories you consume. Below is an example of food portions based upon a 2,000-calorie diet plan.

Entire Grains: 6 — 8 Servings each day

Examples of entire grains include whole-wheat or whole-grain breads, whole-grain breakfast cereals, wild rice, bulgur, quinoa and oatmeal.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 piece of whole-grain bread.
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of dry, whole-grain cereal.
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) of cooked rice, pasta or cereal.

Vegetables: 4 — 5 Servings daily

All vegetables are permitted on the DASH diet plan.

Examples of a serving consist of:

  • 1 cup (about 30 grams) of raw, leafy green veggies like spinach or kale.
  • 1/2 cup (about 45 grams) of chopped vegetables — raw or cooked — like broccoli, carrots, squash or tomatoes.

Fruits: 4 — 5 Servings per Day

If you’re following the DASH approach, you’ll be consuming a great deal of fruit. Examples of fruits you can consume include apples, pears, peaches, berries and tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.

Examples of a serving consist of:

1 medium apple.
1/4 cup (50 grams) of dried apricots.
1/2 cup (30 grams) of fresh, frozen or canned peaches.

Dairy Products: 2 — 3 Servings per Day

Dairy items on the DASH diet ought to be low in fat. Examples include skim milk and low-fat cheese and yogurt.

Examples of a serving consist of:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) of low-fat milk.
  • 1 cup (285 grams) of low-fat yogurt.
  • 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of low-fat cheese.

Lean Chicken, Meat and Fish: 6 or Fewer Servings each day

Pick lean cuts of meat and try to eat a serving of red meat only periodically — no more than when or twice a week.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 ounce (28 grams) of prepared meat, chicken or fish.
  • 1 egg.

Nuts, Seeds and Legumes: 4 — 5 Servings weekly

These include almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, kidney beans, lentils and split peas.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) of nuts.
  • 2 tablespoons (40 grams) of nut butter.
  • 2 tablespoons (16 grams) of seeds.
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) of cooked legumes.

Fats and Oils: 2 — 3 Servings daily

The DASH diet plan recommends veggie oils over other oils. These consist of margarines and oils like canola, corn, olive or safflower. It also advises low-fat mayo and light salad dressing.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 teaspoon (4.5 grams) of soft margarine.
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of grease.
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of mayo.
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of salad dressing.

Sweet and Added Sugars: 5 or Fewer Servings per Week

Sugarcoated are kept to a minimum on the DASH diet plan, so restrict your consumption of candy, soda and table sugar. The DASH diet plan likewise restricts unrefined sugars and alternative sugar sources, like agave nectar.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 tablespoon (12.5 grams) of sugar.
  • 1 tablespoon (20 grams) of jelly or jam.
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of lemonade.

Sample Menu for One Week

Below is a sample one-week meal plan for the standard DASH diet, which is designed to provide a daily intake of 2,000 calories.


  • For breakfast, have one serving of oatmeal along with a cup of skim milk, a half cup of blueberries, and a half cup of fresh orange juice.
  • For a snack, have one average-sized apple and one cup (285 grams) of low-fat yogurt.
  • For lunch, have a sandwich containing canned tuna and mayonnaise, made with two slices of whole-grain bread. Also, include a serving of green salad, weighing around 113 grams, and three ounces (approximately 80 grams) of tuna from a can.
  • Treat: 1 medium banana.
  • Dinner: A portion of 85 grams of lean chicken breast cooked with 5 ml of oil, accompanied by 75 grams each of broccoli and carrots. It is served with 190 grams of wild rice.


  • For breakfast, consume 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast with a small amount (about 1 teaspoon or 4.5 grams) of margarine, 1 tablespoon (approximately 20 grams) of jelly or jam, have half a cup (120 ml) of freshly squeezed orange juice, and enjoy one medium-sized apple.
  • Snack: 1 medium banana.
  • For lunch, you can have 85 grams of lean chicken breast alongside a salad consisting of 150 grams of greens. Additionally, include 45 grams of low-fat cheese and 190 grams of wild rice.
  • Serving suggestion: Enjoy half a cup of canned peaches combined with one cup of low-fat yogurt.
  • For dinner, you should have a serving of salmon that weighs 3 ounces (85 grams) and is cooked in 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of oil. Alongside the salmon, have a portion of boiled potatoes that amounts to 1 cup (300 grams) and a serving of boiled vegetables that measures 1.5 cups (225 grams).


  • For breakfast, have a serving of oatmeal with skim milk and blueberries, along with a glass of fresh orange juice.
  • Snack: 1 medium orange.
  • Lunch consists of two pieces of whole-grain bread, 3 ounces (85 grams) of lean turkey, 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of low-fat cheese, half a cup (38 grams) of green salad, and half a cup (38 grams) of cherry tomatoes.
  • Snack on a serving of 4 whole-grain crackers paired with 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of cottage cheese and 1/2 cup (75 grams) of canned pineapple.
  • Dinner consists of 6 ounces (170 grams) of cod fillet, 1 cup (200 grams) of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup (75.grams) of green peas, and 1/2 cup (75 grams) of broccoli.


  • For breakfast, you can have a serving of oatmeal with skim milk and raspberries. Additionally, drink half a cup of fresh orange juice.
  • Treat: 1 medium banana.
  • For lunch, have a salad including grilled tuna weighing 4.5 ounces (130 grams), one boiled egg, a serving measuring 2 cups (152 grams) of green salad, 1/2 cup (38 grams) of cherry tomatoes, and a dressing of 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of low-fat dressing.
  • Snack on a serving of canned pears (30 grams) and pair it with a portion of low-fat yogurt (285 grams).
  • of mashed potatoes.
  • ( 190 grams) of wild rice.


  • For breakfast, you can have 2 eggs that have been boiled, along with 2 strips of turkey bacon. Have these with 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup of baked beans, and 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast. Don’t forget to include a glass of fresh orange juice, about 1/2 cup.
  • Snack: 1 medium apple.
  • For lunch, you can have two slices of whole-wheat toast with one tablespoon of low-fat mayo, 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of low-fat cheese, half a cup (38 grams) of salad greens, and half a cup (38 grams) of cherry tomatoes.
  • Treat: 1 cup of fruit salad.
  • For dinner, we have a meal consisting of spaghetti and meatballs, using 1 cup of spaghetti and 4 ounces of minced turkey. Additionally, there is a side serving of 1/2 cup of green peas.


  • For breakfast, have 2 slices of whole-grain bread topped with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Enjoy 1 medium-sized banana, a mixture of seeds totaling 2 tablespoons, and a serving of 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.
  • Treat: 1 medium apple.
  • For lunch, have 3 ounces (85 grams) of chicken that has been grilled, along with 1 cup (150 grams) of vegetables that have been roasted and 1 cup (190 grams) of couscous.
  • Snack: Combine 30 grams of blended berries with 285 grams of low-fat yogurt.
  • Dinner includes a serving of 3 ounces (85 grams) of beef steak and a portion of ratatouille weighing 1 cup (150 grams). It is accompanied by 1 cup (190 grams) of brown rice, 1/2 cup (40 grams) of lentils, and 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of low-fat cheese.
  • Dessert: Low-fat chocolate pudding.


  • For breakfast, have a serving of oatmeal with skim milk, along with a side of blueberries and fresh orange juice.
  • Snack: 1 medium pear.
  • Lunch consists of a chicken salad comprising of 3 ounces (85 grams) of skinless chicken breast, 1 tablespoon of mayo, 2 cups (150 grams) of mixed green salad, 1/2 cup (75 grams) of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon (4 grams) of seeds, and 4 whole-grain crackers.
  • Treat yourself to a combination of one banana and half a cup (70 grams) of almonds.
  • Dinner consists of 3 ounces of roasted beef, served with 1 cup (150 grams) of boiled potatoes, half a cup (75 grams) of broccoli, and half a cup (75 grams) of green peas.

How to Make Your Diet More DASH-Like

Because the DASH diet plan does not specify specific foods, you have the flexibility to modify your existing diet to align with the DASH guidelines by implementing the following actions:

  • Consume more veggies and fruits.
  • Swap refined grains for whole grains.
  • Pick fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
  • Opt for low-fat sources of protein such as fish, chicken, and legumes.
  • Prepare with veggie oils.
  • Restricting the consumption of sugary foods such as soda and candy is recommended.
  • Reduce your intake of fatty meats, full-fat dairy, and oils such as coconut and palm oil, which are rich in saturated fats.

In addition to including fresh fruit juice, this diet plan recommends consuming low-calorie beverages such as water, tea, and coffee.

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle blogger for over 10 years, I couldn't pass up healthy eating and diet reviews. I prefer to write small, understandable articles and guides for visitors, to answer the question clearly and concisely and to give the reader a starting point for further actions to improve their diet and health in general.

Diet Expert