The DASH Diet

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - The DASH diet is based on eating meals rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat or non-fat dairy, with whole grains. It is a high fibre, low to moderate fat diet, rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The DASH diet is a healthy plan designed for the whole family.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, focuses on reducing sodium intake to either 2,300 milligrams per day (recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans) or 1,500 milligrams per day for certain populations. The DASH diet is an evidence-based eating plan that can help reduce high blood pressure. This plan may also decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.

DASH tips to lower sodium include:

  • Using spices instead of salt to add flavor
  • Reading sodium content on processed or canned food labels and choosing low-sodium options.
  • Removing some sodium from canned foods (such as beans) by rinsing the product before consumption
  • Avoiding salt when cooking

DASH dieters are recommended to consume various whole grains and high-fiber fruits and vegetables and moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and heart-healthy fish. Also, DASH limits the use of saturated fats to less than 7 percent of total calories and limits sweets and alcohol consumption. The DASH diet also calls for consuming less added sugar and drinking fewer sugar-sweetened drinks. It replaces red meat with fish and legumes and calls for increased calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Also, even though some people on the DASH diet may find it lowers their HDL (good) cholesterol along with their LDL (bad) cholesterol, it still has a positive cumulative effect on heart health.


  • Recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association, and many physicians
  • Helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Reduces risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Reduces the risk of certain cancers
  • Reduces diabetes risk


  • There are very few negative factors associated with the DASH diet.
  • Risk for hyponatremia