The DASH Diet

Animation Movie AvailableHigh Blood Pressure and the DASH Diet

IMAGE DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is the name of the research study that looked at the effects of eating patterns on blood pressure. From this study came the DASH diet—a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, and low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. This diet was shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. The DASH diet combined with a low sodium intake can reduce blood pressure even further. Researchers believe that it is the combination of nutrients from this eating pattern that helps to lower blood pressure. Specifically, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as protein and fiber may act together to achieve this goal. In addition to helping you manage your blood pressure, the DASH eating plan is a healthy one that will help you manage your weight and possibly reduce your risk of other chronic diseases. For example, research suggests that women who follow the DASH diet can reduce their risk of heart failure. A registered dietitian can help design a DASH meal plan that will work for you. Check out the one-day sample menu below for an idea of what is in a DASH meal plan.

Grains and Grain Products

Grains are rich in carbohydrates, which provide quick energy for exercise. If you choose whole grains, you will also get a good dose of fiber and several vitamins and minerals. Note that many bread products are high in sodium. It may be better to make your own salt-free bread or buy baked goods with reduced salt or baking powder. One serving equals:
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 ounce of dry cereal—½ to 1-¼ cup; check the Nutrition Facts label on the cereal box
  • ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal
Good choices include:

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