Putting together a DASH Diet shopping list is easier than you think. You may think you have to overhaul your approach every time you walk into the store, but you don’t. All you really have to do is to modify your current diet by adding some heart-healthy items to your daily menu.
DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” It is widely regarded as the ultimate eating plan for lowering high blood pressure. Studies show that the DASH diet can help reduce blood pressure significantly in as little as two weeks.
Let’s look at some of the foods you should always include if you’re trying to put together a DASH diet shopping list.
What Not To Eat
Basically, the DASH eating plan requires you to increase the consumption of healthy foods and cut back on foods that are detrimental to your blood pressure.
Before we get into what should be on your list, let’s talk about foods that you should try to keep off your list, or at best, eat only in moderation. Some of the food items you should eat less often include:
- Red meat
- High-cholesterol foods
- Foods that are high in saturated fat and total fat
Many people consider meat the main item in their meals. If you want to adopt a heart-healthy diet you have to treat meat as just a part of your meals and not the main focus.
Another thing to pay attention to is the amount of added sugar in your foods. And you don’t want to overdo it with carbohydrates as well. If you don’t know your blood sugar levels, get a blood test — and maybe even check your cholesterol levels at the same time.
Foods To Include
Foods that you should consume more include:
- Whole grain products
- Low-fat dairy products
- Foods that are high in potassium, magnesium and calcium
DASH Diet Shopping List
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 less 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
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
Whether your goal is losing weight or just trying to eat healthier, the DASH diet is a good place to start. And remember changes in your diet should be made gradually. If you try to change everything at once, you may not be able to adapt and you’ll deviate from your diet plan.
If you’d like more information on living a heart-healthy lifestyle, download our guide about “Blood Pressure Numbers.” Inside you’ll find additional ways (on top of your diet) to decrease your risk for high blood pressure and other heart problems.