Dietary approach to stop hypertension–diet

What is a DASH diet?

It is a specific diet plan developed by scientists (Kempner et. al.) with the assistance of National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to control hypertension. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) studies shows the effect of different nutrients in hypertension.

The results of these studies concluded that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grain products, fish, and nuts can help in maintaining the blood pressure. By these studies it is proved that hypertensive people should restrict their intake of red meat, sweets and sugar-containing beverages.

What are the basic recommendations of DASH diet?

The DASH approach recommends following food groups in this manner.


Food group Daily servings One serving equals Examples and notes Significance of each food group to the DASH Diet pattern
Grains and grain products 7-8 1 slice breador 1/2 C dry cereal* or 1/2 C cooked rice, pasta or cereal Whole-wheat bread, English muffin, pita bread, bagel, cereals, grits, oatmeal Major sources of energy and fiber
Vegetables 4-5 1 C raw leafy vegetable or 1/2 C cooked vegetable or 6 fl oz. vegetable juice Tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas, squash, broccoli, turnip greens, collards, kale, spinach, artichokes, beans, sweet potatoes Rich sources of potassium, magnesium and fiber
Fruits 4-5 6 fl. oz. fruit juice or 1 medium fruit or 1/4 C dried fruit or 1/2 C fresh, frozen or canned fruit Apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, prunes, raisins, strawberries, tangerines Important sources of potassium, magnesium and fiber
Low fat or non fat dairy foods 2-3 8 oz. milk or 1 C yogurt or 1.5 oz. cheese Skim or 1% milk, skim or low-fat butter milk, nonfat or low fat yogurt, part-skim mozzarella cheese, nonfat cheese Major sources of calcium and protein
Meats, poultry, fish 2 or less 3 oz. cooked meats, poultry or fish Select only lean; trim away visible fats; broil, roast or boil, instead of frying; remove skin from poultry Rich sources of protein and magnesium
Nuts 1-2 1.5 oz. or 1/3 C or 2 Tbsp seeds or 1/2 C cooked legumes Almonds, filberts, mixed nuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, lentils Rich sources of energy, magnesium, potassium, protein and fiber
Fats and oils 2-3 1 tsp soft margarine or 1 Tbsp low fat mayonnaise or 2 Tbsp low fat salad dressing or 1 tsp vegetable oil Soft margarine, low fat mayonnaise, vegetable oil (such as olive, corn, canola or safflower) DASH has 27% of calories as fat including that in or added to foods.
Sweets 5 per week 1 Tbsp sugar or 1 Tbsp jelly or jam or 1/2 oz. jelly beans or 8 oz. lemonade Maple syrup, sugar jelly, jam, fruit- flavored gelatin, jelly beans, hard candy, fruit punch, sorbet, ices. Sweets should be low in fat.

* Equals to 1/2 to 11/4 cup depending on the type of cereal.