The DASH Diet Eating Plan 

What is the DASH Diet?

The DASH diet give emphasis to portion size, consuming various foods and getting the right amounts of nutrients. It stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

This diet is a lifetime approach to healthy eating that is created to help prevent or treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It encourages you to decrease the sodium in your diet and consume various foods rich in nutrients, which help lower blood pressure, such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

By following this diet, you will be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in only 2 weeks. Over time, the systolic blood pressure can drop by 8-14 points that could make a significant difference in your health risk.

Because the DASH is a healthy way of eating, it delivers health benefits besides only lowering blood pressure. This diet is also in line with dietary recommendations to prevent stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer. 

dash diet

The DASH Diet Eating Plan 

It’s a balanced and flexible eating plan, which helps creates a healthy eating lifestyle. The DASH eating plan needs no any special food and instead delivers daily and weekly nutritional goals. This well-balanced eating plan recommends:

  • Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains;
  • Including low-fat and fat-free dairy products, poultry, fish, nuts, vegetable oils, and beans;
  • Limiting sugar-sweetened drinks and sweets, and
  • Limiting foods rich in saturated fat, such as full-fat dairy products, fatty meats, and tropical oils, such as palm, palm kernel, and coconut oils.

Check out: Want to live to 100? Consume These Foods

Based on the stated recommendations, the following table shows examples of servings which meet DASH eating plan goals for a 2000 calorie-per-day diet.

Daily & Weekly DASH Eating Plan Targets for a 2000 calorie-per-day Diet 1 

Food Group Daily Servings
Grains 6–8
Meats, poultry, and fish 6 or less
Vegetables 4–5
Fruit 4–5
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products 2–3
Fats and oils 2–3
Sodium 2,300 mg*
Weekly Servings
Nuts, seeds, dry beans, and peas 4–5
Sweets 5 or less

*1500 mg of sodium lowers blood pressure even beyond 2,300 mg of sodium a day.

When following this eating plan, it’s significant to choose foods which are:

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

DASH Diet and Weight Loss

Generally, the DASH diet isn’t a weight-loss program. You may lose unwanted pounds because it could help guide you to healthier food choices.

The DASH diet usually includes around 2,000 calories per day. If you are trying to lose weight, you might need to consume fewer calories. Furthermore, you may also need to adjust the serving aims based on your individual situations — something your GP can help you decide.

See also: Weight Watchers Diet: Real Food on Your Menu (#1 in the Easiest Diets to Follow)

DASH Diet: Caffeine and Alcohol

Consuming too much alcohol could increase blood pressure. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men should limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks per day and women to 1 or even less. 2 

The DASH diet does not address caffeine intake. The caffeine influence on blood pressure still remains unclear. However, caffeine may cause your blood pressure to increase at least temporarily. Moreover, if you think caffeine is affecting your blood pressure or if you already have high blood pressure, talk to your GP about your caffeine intake.


DASH Diet is the best diet for 2018. 38 diets were calculated by health professionals. This diet is ranked in Best Diets Overall. 3 

See the full rankings list:

How to Get Started on the DASH Diet? 

These strategies will help you to get started on this diet:

  1. Change Gradually

In case you now eat just 1-2 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, then you should try to add 1 serving at lunch and 1 at dinner. Instead of switching to all whole grains, you can start by making 1 or 2 of your grain portions whole grains. Increasing whole grains, vegetables, and fruits gradually can also help prevent diarrhea or bloating that may occur if you are not used to eating a diet with a large amount of fiber. Further, you may also try over-the-counter products to help ease gas from vegetables and beans.

  1. Add Physical Activity

In order to boost your blood pressure lowering effort, even more, consider increasing the physical activity in addition to following this diet. Combining both physical activity and the DASH diet makes it more likely that you will reduce your blood pressure.

  1. Forgive Slip-ups and Reward Successes

Reward yourself with some nonfood treat for your deeds — buy a book, rent a movie, or get together with a friend. Remember – everyone slips, particularly when learning something new – changing your habits is a long-term process. Try to find out what triggered your obstacle and simply pick up where you left off with the DASH diet.

  1. Get support if you need it

In case you are having some trouble sticking to this diet, talk to your GP about it. You may get certain tips that will help you stick to the diet.

Who Should Follow the DASH Diet?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the DASH eating plan is a model for well-balanced, healthy eating for everyone! Your whole family can enjoy this diet. Although the DASH diet is designed to help individuals lower their blood pressure, this diet also provides additional heart health benefits, lowering inflammation and cholesterol. New research suggests that it’s effective in lowering blood pressure in both, children and adults.4 




The healthy DASH diet plan was designed to lower blood pressure without medicine in research funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Numerous studies have proven that this diet can help lower blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of many diseases, including some forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and kidney stones.5 

Remember, healthy eating is not an all-or-nothing plan. What is most crucial is that, on average, you consume healthy foods with plenty of diversity — both to avoid boredom or extremes and to keep your diet nutritive. And with this diet, you can have both.


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