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DASH Diet for High Blood Pressure

Dash Diet

What is the Dash Diet?

The DASH diet is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a nutritious eating plan that can help you manage or avoid high blood pressure (hypertension). Foods high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium are included in the DASH diet. 

These nutrients aid with blood pressure management. The diet restricts sodium-rich, saturated-fat-rich, and sugar-rich foods.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats are all part of the DASH diet. The diet was developed after researchers discovered that people who ate a plant-based diet, such as vegans and vegetarians, had lower blood pressure. 

As a result, the DASH diet prioritizes fruits and vegetables while also including lean protein sources like chicken, fish, and legumes. The diet is low in red meat, salt, and other added sugars.

The DASH diet is a well-known treatment for hypertension, heart disease, and renal disease, and it can help to delay the course of these conditions. 

If you already have chronic renal illness, see your doctor and nutritionist before beginning any new diet, since you may be subject to additional limitations. 

While studies on the DASH diet found that those with the lowest salt intake had the largest decreases in blood pressure, the effects of salt restriction on health and lifespan are not obvious.

The DASH diet’s main goal is to lower blood pressure rather than lose weight. It can, however, aid those who are trying to lose weight, control cholesterol, or manage or prevent diabetes.

Also Read: Low cholesterol Diet

Aspects to be considered:

  • Ingesting a wide variety of nutritious foods, getting the right nutritional balance
  • People on this diet are told to eat less sodium (the main ingredient in salt) and more magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

How does the DASH Diet work?

Fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, whole grains, fish, chicken, legumes, and nuts are all part of the DASH diet. It advises cutting back on sodium, sugary carbonated beverages, and red meat. 

The diet is heart-healthy because it cuts down on saturated and trans fats while increasing potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber, all of which are thought to help manage blood pressure. It’s also possible that eating fewer carbs and more protein or unsaturated fats will help your heart. 

The Omni-Heart (Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial to Prevent Heart Disease) clinical trial discovered that replacing about 10% of carbohydrates with protein (especially plant proteins like legumes, nuts, seeds) or monounsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds) reduced blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in adults with early or stage 1 hypertension. 

It also helps to improve “good” HDL cholesterol by replacing carbohydrates with unsaturated fats. Overall, a dash diet helps to regulate sodium levels and keeps us healthy. 

Also Read: Low Carb Diet

Health Benefits of  DASH Diet

1. Improves Overall Health

This diet has been shown to help lower blood pressure and prevent or minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and gout, according to research.

2. Good for Bone Health

Because of the increased calcium consumption from dairy products and green leafy vegetables, the DASH diet also helps to strengthen bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.

3. Manage Blood Pressure

Blood pressure reduction has been shown to decrease a few points in just two weeks of following the DASH diet, and if continued, the systolic blood pressure can drop by eight to fourteen points.

4. Helps to manage Metabolic Ailments

The DASH diet’s balanced food intake reduces metabolic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as cerebral-vascular illnesses, by lowering fat consumption and increasing the replacement of complex carbohydrates for simple sugars. This results in lower total and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as lower blood pressure.

5. Good for Uricemia Patients

Another advantage of the DASH diet is that it lowers the risk of gout by lowering uric acid levels in hyperuricemic patients.

Do you know why the Dash Diet is so popular?

Below are some of the reasons mentioned, that make it so effective and popular in such a short span of time. 

  • Saturated fat is in short supply.
  • Cholesterol-free diet.
  • Total fat content is low.
  • Fruits and veggies are in abundance.
  • Low-fat dairy items abound.
  • Products that are high in dietary fiber or whole grains are also included.
  • Fish, poultry, and nuts are all included.
  • It is low in red meat, sugary foods, and sugary beverages.

Who Should follow a Dash Diet?

  • Dash diets are basically formulated and designed for individuals who are suffering from hypertension. It can be followed by any individual for the maintenance of health. 
  • The Dash diet is also effective for patients who are allergic to or unable to digest dairy products properly. It can also be recommended for patients whose cholesterol levels are elevated.

Dash Diet Food List

Foods to Eat

1. Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, oranges, and lemons, have been shown to reduce blood pressure. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals that may help keep your heart healthy by lowering risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure.

Potassium and minerals are abundant in brightly coloured green, orange, and red foods, which aid in decreasing blood pressure.

Also Read: List of Red Fruits

2. Vegetables

Nitrates, which are abundant in leafy green vegetables, aid with blood pressure control. According to some studies, eating 1–2 servings of nitrate-rich veggies per day can lower blood pressure for up to 24 hours.

To get a potassium boost, eat leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, kale, or collards. There are two ways the mineral helps you flush out sodium from your body: by making your urine less salty, and by relaxing your blood vessel walls.

3. Whole Grains

Whole grains include a lot of fiber, which makes you feel full and content, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Whole grains have also been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain malignancies, and other ailments.

Whole grains are a better source of fiber and other key elements, including B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium, and magnesium, than other types of grains. Whole grains are low in salt and play an important role in the DASH diet’s balance.


4. Dairy product with low fat

When the fat content of dairy products is reduced, calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol are reduced, while protein, calcium, and most other vitamins and minerals are maintained.

You now know that low-fat dairy products are no more processed than full-fat dairy products, and that full-fat dairy products contain more saturated fat overall.

It’s fine to eat full-fat dairy products on rare occasions, but consuming largely reduced-fat, sugar-free goods is a better choice. Low-sugar, low-salt unprocessed low-fat dairy products are ideal for hypertension sufferers.

5. Beans and Nuts

Nuts are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower cholesterol levels. Nuts and beans should be eaten at least four times a day for the best results.

Foods to Avoid

1. High Sugar

The ability of cells in your pancreas to generate insulin is steadily eroded by high sugar levels. Insulin levels remain excessively high due to the organ’s overcompensation. The pancreas is permanently destroyed over time.

High blood sugar levels can trigger changes in the blood vessels that contribute to atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. The synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) in blood vessels can be inhibited by consuming too much sugar. Vasodilation is generally aided by nitric oxide (which expands the blood vessels).

Vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) can happen even if there is not enough NO in the body. This results in high blood pressure.

2. High Salt

When you consume too much sodium-containing salt, your body stores more water to “flush” the salt out of your system. This may cause blood pressure to rise in certain people. The extra water puts your heart and blood vessels under strain.

The majority of salt is sodium, a mineral found naturally in foods. Sodium is the substance that has the potential to raise your blood pressure.

3. Bakery Items

Eating too many baked goods, such as pastries, cakes, and cookies, on a regular basis can contribute to obesity, which exacerbates the problem of high blood pressure. Bakery products are high in saturated fats and sugar, which can cause hypertension and hypoglycemia.

If you want to lower your blood pressure, but you also want to lose weight, this diet could help you do both of those things. But you cannot expect sudden weight loss by following a DASH diet. As this diet is low in fat, sugar, and salt, it will help you to lower your weight loss goals, but it cannot be recommended only for weight loss as it is formulated for hypertension.

1 Week Dash Diet Meal Plan

Day 1

Breakfast 2 egg white toast + cucumber salad
Lunch Veggie hummus sandwich
Snacks Bowl of raspberries
Dinner Salmon tossed in tomato sauce with herbs + 1 serving of rice

Total Energy 1192kcal
Protein 60gm
Fat 34gm
Sodium 1438mg

Day 2

Breakfast 1 fig with flavored yogurt
Lunch White bean cooked with quinoa + green salad
Snacks Bowl of grapes
Dinner Cauliflower curry + curd+ 2 multigrain chapattis

Total Energy 1184kcal
Protein 41gm
Carbohydrates 155gm
Fat 34gm
Sodium 818mg

Day 3

Breakfast  Unsalted peanut butter with cinnamon toast
Lunch Hummus sandwich- 2
Snacks Bowl of raspberries
Dinner Mediterranean chicken with quinoa

Total Energy 1212kcal
Protein 56gm
Carbohydrates 162gm
Fat 35gm
Sodium 1234mg

Day 4

Breakfast  Yogurt with bowl of fresh fruits
Lunch White bean and avocado toast
Snacks Cinnamon apple with half scoop of unsalted peanut butter
Dinner Baked sweet potato with hummus

Total Energy 1181kcal
Protein 58gm
Carbohydrates 176gm
Fat 36gm
Sodium 976mg

Day 5

Breakfast  Green salad + 1 boiled egg
Lunch Green salad with multi grain veggies sandwich with hummus
Snacks Clementine + bowl of grapes
Dinner Chicken with baked yam

Total Energy 1186kcal
Protein 50gm
Carbohydrates 165gm
Fat 32gm
Sodium 1322mg

Day 6

Breakfast  French omelet
Lunch Tuna – quinoa salad
Snacks Bowl filled with strawberry and melons
Dinner Curried parsnip / tomato & apple soup with boiled rice

Total Energy 1189kcal
Protein 54gm
Carbohydrates 170gm
Fat 38gm
Sodium 685gm

Day 7

Breakfast Apples and granola breakfast
Lunch Thai curry + boiled egg + half quinoa bowl
Snacks Watermelon wedges with lime and honey [ watermelon popsicles]
Dinner Feta cheese with 3 multigrain veggies sandwich + baked –herbed zucchini

Total Energy 1265kcal
Protein 65gm
Carbohydrates 189gm
Fat 42gm
Sodium 758gm

Dietary Guidelines for Dash Diet

1. Increase your intake of fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products.

2. Reduce the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats in your diet.

3. Increase your intake of whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts.

4. Sodium, sweets, sugary drinks, and red meat should all be avoided.

5. At lunch and dinner, include a vegetable serving.

6. Fruit can be served as a side dish or as a snack. It’s simple to utilize canned and dried fruits, but make sure they don’t contain any added sugar.

7. Use half the amount of butter, margarine, or salad dressing you normally use, and low-fat or fat-free condiments.

8. When you would ordinarily use full-fat or cream, switch to low-fat or skim dairy products.

9. Increase the amount of vegetables and dry beans in your diet.

10. Snack on unsalted pretzels or almonds, raisins, low-fat and fat-free yogurt, frozen yogurt, unsalted plain popcorn with no butter, and raw veggies instead of chips or sweets.

11. Read food labels to find goods with reduced sodium levels.

12. Be smoke free.


Many people need medication to keep their blood pressure under control. For people with modest high blood pressure, lifestyle changes such as good food and frequent physical activity may be all that is required. 

The DASH diet is the major way to keep control of your high blood pressure. Following a healthy lifestyle may reduce the need for, or the quantity of, medication for people who need it to control their blood pressure. 

Although most people benefit from limiting their salt intake from processed foods, consuming too little salt can also be hazardous.

Even without cutting sodium intake, the DASH eating plan has been shown to reduce blood pressure in just 14 days. 

People with moderately high blood pressure, including those with pre-hypertension, had the best response. This can assist in improving drug responsiveness and lowering blood pressure in those with more severe hypertension who may not be able to go without medication.

 With weight loss and exercise, the DASH diet can help lower cholesterol and improve insulin resistance, lowering the risk of diabetes.


1. Is the Dash diet good for diabetics?

 Yes, as it contains food items which are low in sugar.

 2. How much sodium per day on a dash diet?

 As per RDA, less than 2300mg of sodium is recommended during the DASH diet.

3. Is the DASH diet healthy?

 Yes, it is healthy as it is low in sodium, sugar, and fat.

4. Is the DASH diet the same as the Mediterranean diet?

The only difference between the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet is fat content. The DASH diet is low in fat as compared to other ones. 

5. Can you drink coffee on a dash diet?

Yes, you can consume coffee on a dash diet . Intake of coffee should be in moderation . 

6. Can you eat peanut butter on the dash diet?

Homemade peanut butter with no added preservatives or salt is recommended in a low amount . A lot of salt and other things can raise your blood pressure when you eat peanut butter that has been packed.

7. Does the DASH diet lower cholesterol? 

The DASH Diet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are beneficial to your heart.

8. Which nutrients does the dash diet emphasize?

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and low-fat dairy are all part of the DASH diet. It lowers fat, sugar, prepared foods, and alcohol consumption. The DASH diet does not directly address salt consumption. Foods high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium are included in the DASH diet. These nutrients aid with blood pressure management.

9. Can I eat eggs on the dash diet? 

The DASH Diet includes eggs as they are low in sodium . 

10. What bread can you have on the DASH diet?

You can have bread made out of whole grains, millet, and cereals. 



  • Mausam Mangalam

    A dietitian and nutritionist who enjoys writing and eating. My goal is to help people feel as good as they look through healthy lifestyle changes focusing on nutrition, diet planning, advanced dietetics, female hygiene, and health.