The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a dietary pattern promoted by the U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) to prevent and control hypertension.


The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods; includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts and beans; and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. It is now recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as an ideal eating plan for all Americans.

Key PointsEdit

  1. The DASH diet focuses on foods that are high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients can lower blood pressure.
  1. Taking calcium, potassium, and magnesium supplements does not have the same effect as eating foods that are high in those nutrients.
  1. Don't make big changes in your diet all at once. Make small changes, and don't give up. As soon as those changes become habit, add a few more changes.
  1. You'll have more success if you make a plan that includes long-term and short-term goals as well as ideas for getting past barriers-things that might get in the way of changing your eating habits.
  1. Support from family and friends can go a long way toward helping you find success in changing your habits. Don't be afraid to let family and friends know what you're trying to do. And ask for their help.

What You Can EatEdit

The following is a list of food groups and suggested serving amounts for the DASH diet:

Grains: 7-8 daily servings
Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings
Fruits: 4-5 daily servings
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings
Meat, poultry, and fish: 2 or less daily servings
Nuts, seeds, and dry beans: 4-5 servings per week
Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings
Sweets: try to limit to less than 5 servings per week

Sample MenuEdit



1 cup corn flakes with 1 teaspoon of sugar
8 ounces low-fat milk
1 banana
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 tablespoon jelly
4 ounces orange juice


2 ounces sliced turkey
1 pita bread
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
Raw vegetables: 3 or 4 carrot sticks, celery sticks, radishes, 2 loose lettuce leaves
1 cup fruit cocktail


1/4 cup dried apricots
1 graham cracker
1/3 cup mixed nuts
1 cup flavored low-fat yogurt


3 ounces grilled salmon
1 cup scallion rice
1 cup steamed broccoli
Spinach salad with 1 cup raw spinach, 2 cherry tomatoes, 2 cucumber slices
1 tablespoon light Italian dressing
8 ounces low-fat chocolate milk

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