What Is the DASH Diet?

The DASH Diet

DASH Diet and High Blood Pressure
Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. The full DASH diet plan is shown here and sample menus are shown here. However, if you already suffer from a chronic kidney disease , you require a more controlled diet and should speak with your doctor before adopting any new diet. The higher the level, the greater the health risk. The idea was that while the original DASH Diet has reduced the consumption of saturated fat, it has also reduced the consumption of monounsaturated fat which is directly linked to the reduction of risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases. A meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies". These were the top requests from readers of the DASH diet books.

DASH Diet Food List

Incredible Benefits of DASH Diet

Sign up for our Diet and Nutrition Newsletter! Thanks for signing up for our newsletter! You should see it in your inbox very soon. Please enter a valid email address Subscribe We respect your privacy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

United States Department of Agriculture. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. Nutrition and Healthy Eating.

This is normally written with the systolic blood pressure above the diastolic pressure, like this: Interestingly, the DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure in both healthy people and those who already have high blood pressure. Furthermore, it achieved this even though people didn't lose weight or restrict their salt intake 7 , 8.

However, when sodium intake was restricted, they found that the DASH diet lowered blood pressure even further. In fact, the greatest reductions in blood pressure were seen in people with the lowest intakes of salt 9. These low-salt DASH diet results were most impressive in people who already had high blood pressure, reducing it by an average of 11 points.

In people with normal blood pressure, it reduced blood pressure by three points 5. This is in line with other studies that have found that restricting salt intake can reduce blood pressure, especially in those who have high blood pressure However, it's important to note that a decrease in blood pressure does not always translate to a decreased risk of heart disease or death The DASH diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure, regardless of whether people lose weight or not.

However, if you already have high blood pressure, chances are you have been advised to lose weight. This is because the more you weigh, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be 12 , 13 , Additionally, losing weight has been shown to lower blood pressure 15 , Some studies have shown that people can lose weight on the DASH diet 17 , 18 , However, those who have lost weight on the DASH diet have been in a controlled calorie deficit, meaning they were told to eat fewer calories than they were using.

Given that the DASH diet cuts out lots of high-fat, sugary foods, people may find that they automatically reduce their calorie intake and lose weight. Other people may have to consciously restrict their intake Either way, if you want to lose weight on the DASH diet, you'll still need to reduce your calorie intake so you're taking in fewer calories than you are using up. It's well documented that the DASH diet can help lower blood pressure.

However, the diet has additional benefits. Many of these protective effects have been attributed to the high fruit and vegetable content of the DASH diet.

This is because, in general, eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of disease 27 , 28 , 29 , One of the key findings of DASH diet studies was that the greatest reductions in blood pressure were seen in those with the lowest intakes of salt. While this is interesting, the benefits of salt restriction on health and lifespan are not clear cut.

For people with high blood pressure, reducing salt intake has been shown to significantly affect blood pressure 6. However, in people who have normal blood pressure, the effects of reducing salt intake are much smaller This could partly be explained by the theory that some people are "salt sensitive," meaning some people are more sensitive to salt and that it has a greater effect on their blood pressure Eating too little salt has been linked to health problems, such as an increased risk of heart disease, insulin resistance and fluid retention.

However, it's currently unclear whether there are any benefits to reducing salt intake this low, even in people with high blood pressure In fact, a recent review found that the current evidence doesn't show a link between salt intake and the risk of death from heart disease. This is despite the fact that lowering salt intake caused a modest reduction in blood pressure Overall, most people eat too much salt. This means lowering your salt intake from very high amounts of 9—12 grams a day to 5—6 grams a day may be beneficial 6.

This target can be achieved easily by reducing the amount of highly processed food in your diet and eating mostly whole foods. Instead, it recommends a dietary pattern that focuses on the number of servings of different food groups. The number of servings you can eat depends on how many calories you need to eat to achieve your goals.

Below is an explanation of the number of servings you should be aiming for, based on a 2,calorie diet. Examples of whole grains include whole wheat or whole grain breads, whole grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, bulgur, quinoa and oatmeal. All vegetables are allowed on the DASH diet. This includes broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans and cabbage, to name a few.

If you're following the DASH approach, you'll be eating a lot of fruit. Examples of fruits you can eat include apples, pears, peaches, berries and tropical fruits like pineapple and mango. Dairy products on the DASH diet should be low in fat. Examples include skim milk and low-fat cheese and yogurt. Choose lean cuts of meat and try to eat a serving of red meat only occasionally, no more than once or twice a week.

These include foods like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, kidney beans, lentils and split peas.

The DASH diet recommends that you choose vegetable oils over other oils. These include margarines and oils like canola, corn, olive or safflower. They also recommend you choose low-fat mayonnaise and light salad dressing. Added sugars are kept to a minimum on the DASH diet, so limit your intake of candy, soda and table sugar. The DASH diet also requires you to limit unrefined sugars and alternative sugar sources, like agave nectar.

Outside of measured fresh fruit juice portions, this diet recommends you stick to low-calorie drinks like water , tea and coffee.

Starting the DASH Diet