DASH is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure.
The DASH eating plan focuses on foods that are high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients can lower blood pressure. The foods that are highest in these nutrients are fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, and beans. Taking calcium, potassium, and magnesium supplements instead of eating these foods does not have the same effect.
|Low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products||2 to 3 servings a day||A serving is 8 ounces of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces of cheese.|
|Fruits||4 to 5 servings a day||A serving is 1 medium-sized piece of fruit, 1/2 cup chopped or canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, or 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of fruit juice. Choose fruit more often than fruit juice.|
|Vegetables||4 to 5 servings a day||A serving is 1 cup of lettuce or raw leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup of chopped or cooked vegetables, or 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of vegetable juice. Choose vegetables more often than vegetable juice.|
|Grains||6 to 8 servings a day||A serving is 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of dry cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal. Try to choose whole-grain products as much as possible.|
|Meat, poultry, fish||No more than 2 servings a day||A serving is 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards|
|Legumes, nuts, seeds||4 to 5 servings a week||A serving is 1/3 cup of nuts, 2 tablespoons of seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked dried beans or peas.|
|Fats and oils||2 to 3 servings a day||A serving is 1 teaspoon of soft margarine or vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons of salad dressing.|
|Sweets and added sugars||5 servings a week or less||A serving is 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam, 1/2 cup of sorbet, or 1 cup of lemonade.|
The DASH eating plan is one of several lifestyle changes your doctor may recommend.
Your doctor may also want you to decrease the amount of sodium you eat. Lowering sodium while following the DASH plan can lower blood pressure even further than just the DASH plan alone. For good health, less sodium is best. Try to eat less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, if you are African-American, or if you are older than age 50, try to limit the amount of sodium you eat to less than 1,500 mg a day.1