Tatiana Eliseeva project editor Food+

DASH-diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a power system designed to maintain a normal blood pressure level. The diet uses foods that contain minimal amount of sodium, rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. The menu is dominated by vegetables and fruits, without limitation, low-fat dairy and whole grain products, nuts, fish and poultry. With restrictions allowed red meat, sweets and sugary drinks.

The content of the article
  1. The history of
  2. Scientific basis diet
  3. Tips for the transition
  4. How does the DASH diet
  5. How to make it even more healthy
  6. Vegetarian DASH diet
  7. The advantages of the diet
  8. Disadvantages
  9. Use DASH-diet
  10. Advice on ration formulation
  11. The food should be deleted
  12. How to control the sodium content
  13. A sample diet for a week
  14. Summary
  15. Sources of information

The history of

DASH diet repeatedly came to the study conducted by the National Institute of health. One of them showed that blood pressure can be reduced by diet, even with daily consumption of 3,300 mg of sodium. In addition, subject to nizkosoleva diet, reduced the threat of many diseases, such as stroke, cardiac and renal failure, kidney stones, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Also, the DASH diet has been effective in weight loss and health improvement. A diet rich of tasty, varied and nutritious meals without severe limitations. With these advantages, the DASH diet took the first place in the ranking of diets by experts US News&World Report in 2011 – 2018 years.

Originally conducted the study did not aim to control weight loss, food was richly refined and starchy foods and is based on the ideas of nutrition, characteristic of the mid 90-ies of the 20th century.

However, the question healthy weight loss became more relevant to many people. This has led to the need to create a simple plan to reduce weight, based on the DASH-products. It took some more research to DASH diet was added protein foods are beneficial for the cardiovascular system the “right” fats, and reduced number of “empty carbs”. So diet against hypertension began to contribute to the sustainable and safe weight loss.

The main source of dietary plans on the system DASH became the book the nutritionist Marla Heller, past President of Illinois dietetic Association. Recommendations are based on the principles of healthy weight maintenance. A diet filled with fruits and vegetables, they are rich and voluminous. Foods rich in protein and healthy fats easily satisfy your hunger. As sharp spikes in blood sugar, trigger hunger, the DASH diet supports blood sugar at a stable level without the “roller coaster”. It also reduces the risk of developing diabetes or facilitates the monitoring of existing disease. A healthy diet lowers triglycerides, increases “good” HDL – cholesterol, and lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol. A sufficient amount of protein in the diet allows you to avoid slowing of metabolism and preserve muscle mass when losing fat.

Advice on nutrition in the style of the DASH was intended, first and foremost, people suffering from hypertension. However, this plan can be used as a model of healthy eating for the whole family. Of course, developed diet was to reduce blood pressure. But in addition, it lowers cholesterol and reduces the inflammatory reaction, improves the cardiovascular system. Effective for any age – has been used successfully to lower blood pressure in both adults and children. So anyone can apply the DASH diet in your diet. [1]

Scientific basis diet

The DASH diet is based on scientific research on dietary approaches to combat hypertension. It has been proven that it keeps the blood pressure in the acceptable range, reduces cholesterol and improves insulin sensitivity. Monitoring of blood pressure is based not only on a traditional diet low in salt or sodium. The diet is based on nutrition plan which are proven by research, reduces the pressure due to the abundance of potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, whole grain foods and less refined foods than the initial version of the DASH diet.

Therefore, the DASH diet recommends that the national Institute of heart, lung and blood Department of health and human services, United States, [2] American heart Association. This diet refer to the Dietary guidelines for Americans [3] and the US Guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure. [4]

Tips on switching to the DASH-diet

  • Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner.
  • Replace one meal a serving of fruit or add them as a snack. You can eat the same canned and dried fruits, but choose no added sugar.
  • Reduce by half the usual serving of butter, margarine or salad dressing, use dressings without fat or with low content.
  • Replace fat dairy products for low fat.
  • Reduce the daily portion of meat products to 170 gr. possible to cook vegetarian dishes.
  • Enrich your diet with dishes of dry legumes.
  • Replace a snack of chips or sweets to nuts, raisins, unsalted popcorn without butter, raw vegetables, drinking low-fat or frozen yogurt, unsalted crackers.
  • When purchasing, pay attention to the labels, choosing foods low in sodium.

Limit yourself to salt, you can also gradually. First cut it down to 2300-2400 mg of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon). After getting used to the new taste sensation – reduce to 1500 mg of sodium a day (about 2/3 teaspoon). This number just eaten sodium in foods and not just added salt.

How does the DASH diet?

DASH diet helps to lower blood pressure by increasing the key nutrients in the diet. Potassium, calcium, magnesium helps lower blood pressure. These substances enter the body through the inclusion in the diet of lots of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy. Additionally, you should reduce the intake of sodium and salt is responsible for fluid retention in the body and increase pressure. Along the way, it is recommended that Smoking cessation, moderate alcohol consumption, exercise and weight reduction, which contributes to the very DASH diet. [6]

How to make it more healthy?

For weight loss and General health improvement it is recommended to reduce the consumption of sugars added to products as well as refined and processed foods. Especially useful is this modification of the diet for people with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or existing diabetes. Women after menopause, this diet will help to reduce that extra weight is usually a daunting task in middle age. Such a diet will reduce the body’s need for insulin and reduce the tendency to deposition of fat in the middle part of the body. The reduction of waist is an important advantage in reducing health risks. [7]

Vegetarian DASH diet

DASH diet quite naturally there is a vegetarian option. Giving up meat only increases its effectiveness.

Where do you start?

  • Choose foods whole, organic, unrefined, if possible, grown in your area.
  • Eat at least one serving of vegetables at every meal.
  • At each snack eat a serving of vegetables or fruit.
  • Avoid wheat because it contains gluten. Replace refined grains such as white bread, white pasta and white rice to whole grain, such as wild and brown rice, oats.
  • Instead of the seasonings that contain salt, sugar and flavor enhancers, use natural seasonings, low in sodium, for example, herbs and spices. [8]

The benefits of DASH diet

  1. 1 to adhere to this diet is pretty nice and easy since it does not restrict entire food groups, calling to refuse only from fatty, sweet and salty foods.
  2. 2 DASH diet can be followed indefinitely be a diet and lifestyle.
  3. 3 Suitable DASH-a diet for all family members, regardless of age and problems with pressure, maintaining the health of the individual.
  4. 4 Follow the DASH diet-nutrition is quite convenient. National Institute of heart, lung, and blood offers many tips for reducing sodium intake while eating out and preparing home-cooked meals. So also are allowed to replace a part of protein meals with unsaturated fats in carbohydrates, about 10% of the daily diet. Thus, according to the research, the benefits for the heart will remain.
  5. 5 Easy to find recipes on the DASH diet. National Institute of heart, lung and blood offers an online database with recipes. [9] Lists these recipes publishing, and other authoritative organizations, for example, the Mayo clinic. [10]
  6. 6 the food in the restaurants and cafes in compliance with DASH diet it is possible. Restaurant meals are often greasy and salty. Therefore, avoid to order in a restaurant pickled, canned or smoked. Ask the chef to cook with a limited selection of spices, using only natural spices and herbs. Instead of soup, select better fruits or vegetables. Moderately, you can drink alcohol.
  7. 7 diet according to the principles of the DASH there is no feeling of hunger. The emphasis is not on restriction of food portion size and consumption of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables rich in fiber. If Your daily diet is less calories than usual, You still won’t experience hunger despite weight loss.

Disadvantages DASH diet

  • Adherence to the diet according to the principles of the DASH takes some time to plan diet, procurement, verification of information about sodium content on product packaging, choosing the right foods, cooking beyond the usual diet.
  • Habit of taste receptors for salty foods can give the feeling of dissatisfaction from food with restriction of salt. Avoid tastelessness, seasoning your food with herbs and spices. As addiction, the taste will be felt brighter.
  • The replacement of the usual diet to a more healthy makes food more expensive.
  • The basic DASH diet aims at weight loss. Weight loss is possible, but not fast, in contrast to specialized diets. For weight loss, it is additionally necessary to monitor daily caloric intake. [11]

Use DASH-diet

Despite the fact that the DASH diet was created specifically to deal with high blood pressure, it carries the benefits to other body systems. Pay attention to it, even if Your blood pressure is within the limits of norms – systolic value of from 90 to 120 mm Hg. art., and diastolic from 60 to 80 mm Hg. article

  1. 1 Lowers blood pressure

According to research, the DASH diet significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, and reduced calorie intake further enhances this effect. [12] further reduces the pressure of low sodium intake along with the DASH diet. [13]

  1. 2 Reduces overweight

Being overweight is a risk factor for hypertension. Even the loss of 3-5 kg improves the numbers on the tonometer. [14]DASH diet more effective job of losing excess weight and waist size than traditional diet restricting calories. [15]

  1. 3 Reduces the risk of diabetes

Some studies claim that the DASH diet improves insulin sensitivity, which improves the compensation of diabetes of the 2nd type. As she struggles with the symptoms of metabolic syndrome – hypertension, high blood sugar, overweight.

  1. 4 Reduces the risk of certain cancers

Whole grains, vegetables and nuts and limiting salt, meat and dairy products reduce the risk of some cancers [16], in particular, colorectal cancer [17] and breast cancer [18].

  1. 5 Lowers the risks of cardiovascular diseases

High blood pressure makes it difficult for the heart. The world health organization (who) recognized the reduction in salt intake one of the main priorities in the fight against global cardiac crisis [19]. The decline in “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” protects against the formation of plaques in the arteries. So DASH diet reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Advice on ration formulation


DASH diet does not restrict the choice of fruit. It could be bananas, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, pineapples, mangoes, grapes, apples, peaches, watermelons, apricots, various berries etc. are Welcome dried fruit – dates, raisins, prunes, figs, etc., Except that you should choose dried fruits without soaking in sugar syrup or boning in powdered sugar. Eat 4-5 servings of fruit a day. One serving is a medium fruit, Cup fresh/frozen fruit, half a Cup cooked fruits or natural juice without sugar, a quarter Cup of dried fruit.


It is also permissible to any vegetables: broccoli and all varieties of cabbage, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, spinach, green beans and green peas. Like fruit, eat 4-5 servings of vegetables per day. A serving is one Cup raw chopped leafy or other vegetables, half a Cup of cooked vegetables or 100% vegetable juice.


The most useful grain is brown and wild rice, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa and Teff. They contain essential fiber and free from gluten. Aim for 6 servings of grains daily, counting one serving as half a Cup of prepared cereals.

Legumes, seeds and nuts

Any nuts, seeds, and legumes, as lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, various kinds of beans, peas, Navy beans is a good option for a side dish or snack. The goal is to consume up to 4 servings a week. A portion of these products – half Cup cooked legumes, 1/3 Cup nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds or oil from nuts or seeds.

Healthy fats

Avocado, coconut, olive, peanut or almond butter with no added sugar will benefit the blood vessels and heart. A serving is 1 teaspoon oil, and servings to 2-3 daily.

Low-fat dairy products

DASH diet recommends to consume limited dairy products reduced fat content, choosing organic producers, growing animals on pasture. If You stick to a vegan version of the DASH diet include in the diet vegetable milk, such as almond or coconut non-dairy yogurt and cheese. Portion in this case is a glass of milk or vegan milk, or 1/3 Cup of cottage cheese/tofu, the day allows for 2-3 servings from this category.

The food should be reduced or eliminated

DASH diet is quite varied and involves not so many restrictions.


The standard DASH diet recommends that you avoid fatty meats because of saturated fat and high content of sodium in them. Fatty beef, ham and pork should be eliminated. Prefer lean chicken parts or fish. Vegetarian DASH diet, the meat is not excluded, that will make the diet even more effective.

Fat dairy products

Cheese, fat milk and yogurt are eliminated from the diet as well due to excess of saturated fats in them.

Sugar and sweets

The DASH diet does not completely eliminate sweets with refined sugar, but limits to 5 servings of low-fat sweets per week. A serving is considered 1 tablespoon sugar, jam or jelly, 1 Cup of lemonade or any beverage containing sugar. Of course, it is better to completely abandon this portion of sugar and replace it with fresh fruit.


There are two limit sodium intake under DASH-diet: 2300 mg and 1500 mg per day. Start with the first level, limiting salt to 1 teaspoon a day. After the adaptation of the taste buds, reduce the amount of sodium further, to 2/3 teaspoon of salt. Consider all the sodium in foods, not only added to food salt.


The DASH diet does not exclude categorically the alcohol, but only advised to adhere to moderation in the use. This means no more than one serving per day for women and no more than two servings for men. One portion of this section looks like 400 ml. of beer, 170 ml of wine or 50 ml of spirits. Remember that alcohol shall not bear health benefits, while complete rejection of it significantly increases the healing effect of any diet. [20]

How to control the content of sodium in the DASH diet

To obtain the results promised by the DASH-diet, level of daily intake of sodium should not exceed 2,300 mg or, if required, 1500 mg.

The main way to achieve this is to choose more healthy foods during the grocery shopping, cooking in your kitchen, or visiting the catering outlets.

Write out tips for reducing sodium in the diet in more detail for each situation.

Buying products in the store:

  • Study labels of food products, especially semi-finished products and seasonings to choose low salt and sodium in another form.
  • Choose fresh meat products – poultry, fish, lean meat, instead of canned bacon, ham, etc.
  • Give preference to fresh, frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned.
  • Avoid foods with obvious excessive addition of salt – pickled cucumbers, pickled vegetables, olives, sauerkraut.
  • Avoid fast food – noodles, fragrant rice, mashed potatoes, minute, etc.

Cooking your meals:

  • Do not add salt when cooking cereals and side dishes of rice, pasta and cereals.
  • Pripravljena ready meals fresh or dried herbs, spices, juice of lemon or lime, seasonings without salt.
  • Foods soaked in brine, canned, rinse under running water to remove excess salt.
  • Reduce added salt in all their dishes.

Eating out:

  • Ask them to cook without adding salt and monosodium glutamate.
  • It is better to refuse the order of Asian dishes, they are especially popular in the preceding paragraph, the flavor enhancers.
  • Avoid dishes containing bacon, pickles, olives, cheese and other salty components.
  • Avoid dishes containing smoked, pickled, canned, or cooked with adding soy sauce or broth components.
  • Instead of chips or fries, choose fruit or vegetables as a side dish.

Undesirable convenience foods are frozen dinners, packaged foods and a La carte soups. Condiments that contain “hidden” sodium – ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, various salad dressings and barbecue sauce.

Please note that the majority of sodium entering the body is not salt from the salt shaker. It is the sodium from processed foods, salty snacks, cheese, sandwiches and burgers, meat dishes and pasta, soups and cold meats, pizza and even bread.

To effectively lose excess weight, except for restrictions on sodium/salt, you should gradually reduce the total number of daily consumed calories.

General tips for non-aggressive calorie reduction:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day, avoiding long intervals between meals and bouts of overeating after the break.
  • Reduce the servings of meat, increasing the amount of vegetables, fruits, dishes of dried beans or whole grains.
  • Replace desserts and sweets for fruit and vegetables.
  • Replace drinking juice or carbonated sugary drinks for clean water.

In addition to reducing sodium intake, the effectiveness of the DASH diet achieved by increasing the amount of potassium in the diet.

Most are rich in potassium foods such as potatoes (regular and sweet), yogurt (regardless of fat), orange juice, bananas, apricots, prunes, various legumes (soybeans, lentils, beans, peas), almonds. [21]

Approximate weekly diet DASH-diet


  • Breakfast – whole wheat bagel with 2 tbsp peanut butter-no salt. 1 orange. 1 Cup low fat milk, or decaffeinated coffee.
  • Lunch – salad of spinach leaves, fresh pear, slices of Mandarin, almonds, seasoned with wine vinegar. 12 unsalted crackers. 1 Cup of skim milk.
  • Dinner – oven baked cod with herbs. A side dish of brown rice with vegetables. Fresh green beans, steamed. 2 tsp olive oil. Dessert of fresh berries with chopped mint. Herbal iced tea.
  • Snack – 1 Cup fat-free yogurt. 4 vanilla wafers.


  • Breakfast – fruit salad with melon, bananas, apples, berries and walnuts, dressed with low-calorie non-fat vanilla yogurt. Bran muffin with 1 tsp butter without TRANS fats. Herbal tea.
  • Lunch – Shawarma whole wheat tortillas, chicken curry, Apple and carrot. Skim milk.
  • Dinner – spaghetti with steamed vegetables without salt with 1 tsp of olive oil. Vegetable salad with greens, dressed with low-fat dressing. Small whole grain roll. 1 nectarine. Sparkling water without sugar.
  • Snack – raisins. 30 gr. unsalted croquettes. Sunflower seeds.


  • Breakfast – oatmeal low-fat milk or water without salt with 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp oil without TRANS fats. 1 banana. 1 whole grain toast.
  • Lunch – tuna salad with plums, grapes, celery, and parsley salad.
  • Dinner – grilled beef and vegetables with a side dish of wild rice. Pecans. Pineapple. A drink of cranberry-raspberry juice and sparkling water.
  • Snack – low-fat yogurt. 1 peach.


  • Breakfast – egg cooked with 1 tbsp olive oil. Pudding low-fat yogurt with Chia seeds, figs and honey. Herbal tea.
  • Lunch sandwich of whole wheat bread with chicken breast, cheese, tomato, lettuce, low-fat mayonnaise. 1 Apple.
  • Dinner – spaghetti with grated Parmesan. Spinach salad, carrots, fresh mushrooms, frozen corn and canned peaches with the vinegar.
  • Snack – unsalted roasted almonds or dried apricots.


  • Breakfast – toast with wholemeal bread with unsalted peanut butter. Coffee without sugar or low fat milk. 2 Clementine.
  • Lunch is a Turkey baked in a whole wheat tortilla with pear, herbs and cheese. Plums and walnuts.
  • Dinner – baked chicken with Chile. The side dish of sweet potatoes. Avocado. Low-fat yogurt.
  • Snack – apples with cinnamon. Berries.


  • Breakfast – toasted whole wheat bread with scrambled eggs in olive oil. Banana. Coffee without sugar and cream.
  • Lunch – a side dish of white beans with avocado. A salad of shredded carrots, fresh cucumbers and greens with the salad dressing.
  • Dinner – oven baked stuffed sweet potatoes with hummus.
  • Snack – low-fat yogurt with raspberries.


  • Breakfast – rice porridge with low-fat milk and 1 tsp. oil-free traseiro. Banana.
  • Lunch – spaghetti with meatballs of lean Turkey. Green peas.
  • Dinner – mashed potatoes with cod. Salad of broccoli, steamed. Low-fat milk.
  • Snack – Cranberry juice. Orange. [22]


DASH diet was developed specifically to deal with hypertension and relief of diseases, a symptom which is high blood pressure. A key principle of the diet is restriction on salt and focus on foods rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium.

The diet is based on intake of healthy and wholesome dishes based on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and legumes, with a limited amount of lean meat products and fish or no, but also beneficial for the cardiovascular system fats. A diet rich in delicious, nutritious and healthy dishes, without severe limitations. If necessary, reduce weight, additionally you should pay attention to the daily caloric intake.

The DASH diet is suitable for almost any family member and heals everyone.

We have collected the most important point about the DASH diet in this illustration, and will be very grateful if you could share the picture in social networks with a link to our page:

Sources of information
  1. The DASH Diet Home, With the Mediterranean Diet, source
  3. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, source
  4. 2017 Guideline for High Blood Pressure in Adults source
  5. DASH Diet and High Blood Pressure, the source
  6. The DASH Diet Home, With the Mediterranean Diet, source
  7. The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy, source
  8. DASH Diet: A Vegetarian Meal Plan for Heart Health, the source
  9. DASH Eating Plan: Tools and Resources, source
  10. DASH diet recipes source
  11. DASH Diet, the source
  12. Influence of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet on Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Randomized Controlled Trials, the source
  13. Effects on Blood Pressure of Reduced Dietary Sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet, source
  14. Managing Weight to Control High Blood Pressure, the source
  15. The Effect of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet on Weight and Body Composition in Adults, the source
  16. Dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH): diet components may be related to lower prevalence of different kinds of cancer: A review on the related documents, the source
  17. The Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets and colorectal cancer, the source
  18. Low-Carbohydrate Diets, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension-Style Diets, and the Risk of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer, the source
  19. Healthy Heart Tips: 17 Ways to a Happy Heart, the source
  20. DASH Diet: A Vegetarian Meal Plan for Heart Health, the source
  21. DASH Eating Plan source
  22. Sample menus for the DASH diet, the source
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