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Dash Diet For High Blood Pressure

August 18, 2020

DASH is an acronym for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” and you can implement the DASH diet for high blood pressure at any time. It is widely regarded as the ultimate eating plan for lowering high blood pressure. Studies show the DASH diet can help reduce blood pressure significantly in as little as two weeks.

So, let’s take a look at the DASH diet for high blood pressure to see how you can get started.

What The Studies Say

Since the creation of DASH 23 years ago, numerous studies have demonstrated that it consistently lowers blood pressure across a diverse range of patients with hypertension and prehypertension. This includes a study from 2003 that suggested, that if people with hypertension were fully adherent to DASH, an estimated 400,000 cardiovascular disease events could be prevented over 10 years.

And there are more recent studies that back up the earlier findings. This includes the study that not only associates the DASH diet with lowering blood pressure but that it also lowers the risk of adverse cardiac events, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Yet another study concluded that among diabetic patients, the DASH diet has beneficial effects on cardiometabolic risks.

DASH Eating Plan

The DASH diet calls for you to increase the number of healthy foods in your diet and cutting back on foods that are detrimental to your blood pressure. Foods that you should consume more of include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grain products
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Nuts

You can think about it another way: Look for foods that are high in potassium, magnesium and calcium. And eat less red meat, sweets, added sugar, and foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat.

Servings and Serving Sizes

Here is a list of the food groups that are recommended in the DASH diet and their suggested serving amounts:

  • Grains: 7-8 servings a day
  • Vegetables: 4-5 servings a day
  • Fruits: 4-5 servings a day
  • Low-fat dairy products: 2-3 servings a day
  • Fish, poultry, and meat: 2 or fewer servings a day
  • Nuts, dry beans, and seeds: 4-5 servings a week
  • Fats and oils: 2-3 servings a day
  • Sweets: less than 5 servings a week

A typical serving guide for following the DASH diet is as follows:

  1. Vegetables: about five servings per day
  2. Fruits: about five meals per day
  3. Carbohydrates: about seven servings per day
  4. Low-fat dairy products: about two servings per day
  5. Lean meat products: about two or fewer servings per day
  6. Nuts and seeds: 2 to 3 times per week

And here are the suggested serving sizes for some of the recommended foods:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ cup of cooked pasta or rice
  • 1 cup of raw vegetables or fruits
  • ½ cup of cooked vegetables or fruits
  • 3 ounces of cooked meat
  • 3 ounces of tofu
  • 8 ounces of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

It might be easier to see all of this information in pyramid form.

Where to Begin

Hypertension is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It’s one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Numerous studies show the wide-ranging health benefits of the DASH diet. A consistent body of research also finds that DASH lowers blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Making subtle changes to your diet is a good place to start down the road to lower blood pressure.

NOH-DrLanger-SocialPost-2-(Screen for Heart Disease)

You can also get additional tips for eating healthy in our guide: “Eating Healthier on a Busy Schedule.” It contains simple steps for healthy eating at home and on the go.

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