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Dash Diet Program Review - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan

The DASH Diet

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The DASH Diet

The DASH eating plan is not primarily designed for weight loss.The Dash Diet - or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan - is designed (along with reduced salt intake) to reduce (or prevent the onset of) high blood pressure (hypertension) and boost nutrition and general health.

The DASH Diet - What's Involved

The DASH Diet is based on 2,000 calories a day. It provides recommended daily servings of grains, vegetables and meat etc. However, the DASH diet doesn't provide a specific menu plan. You make up your own menu based on the advice given. You may also convert it into a weight-reduction plan by choosing lower-calorie food options.

The DASH Diet - High in Fruit, Vegetables and Wholegrains

It's worth noting that the DASH eating plan has more daily servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods than you may be used to eating. And because the DASH diet plan is high in fiber, it can cause bloating and diarrhea in some persons. To avoid these problems, gradually increase your intake of fruit, vegetables, and whole grain foods.

You Can Start Your Own DASH Diet Plan Today

It’s easy to adopt the DASH eating plan. Here are some ways to get started:

  • If you now eat one or two vegetables a day, add a serving at lunch and another at dinner.
  • If you don't eat fruit now or have only juice at breakfast, add a serving to your meals or have it as a snack.
  • Gradually increase your use of low fat dairy products to 3 servings a day. For example, drink milk with lunch or dinner, instead of soda, sugar-sweetened tea, or alcohol. Choose lowfat (1 percent) or fat free (skimmed) dairy products to reduce your intake of saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol, and calories.
  • Read food labels on margarines and salad dressings to choose those lowest in saturated fat and trans fat. Some margarines are now trans-fat free.
  • Treat meat as one part of the whole meal, instead of the focus.
  • Limit meat to 6 ounces a day (2 servings) - all that’s needed. Three to four ounces is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • If you now eat large portions of meat, cut them back gradually - by a half or a third at each meal.
  • Include two or more vegetarian-style (meatless) meals each week.
  • Increase servings of vegetables, rice, pasta, and dry beans in meals. Try casseroles and pasta, and stir-fry dishes, which have less meat and more vegetables, grains, and dry beans.

The DASH Diet is About Healthy Nutritious Eating

The DASH Diet isn't rocket-science; nor is it a quick-fix for people wanting to lose weight. But it is an excellent way of eating and it will boost general health. The only drawback is the lack of a specific diet menu.

How to Order the DASH Diet

You can order a printed copy the Dash Eating Plan from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute for free. Or phone the NHLBI Health Information Center, 301-592-8573 or 240-629-3255 (TTY).

Blood Pressure and Diet Links

Blood Pressure Diet
Low Sodium Diet



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