Two recent studies showed that following a particular eating plan, call the DASH diet, and reducing the amount of sodium consumed lowers blood pressure. The combination of the eating plan and a reduced sodium intake gives the biggest benefit and may help prevent the development of high blood pressure.
General Principles of the DASH diet
|General Principles of the DASH diet|
|Low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat|
|High in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products|
|Includes whole grain products|
|Includes lean meats, fish and poultry and nuts|
|Reduced in red meat, sweets and sugared beverages|
|Rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, protein and fiber|
DASH diet Food list
|Servings Per Day|
|Serving Sizes||Examples and Notes||Significance of Each
Food Group to the DASH Eating Plan
|1 slice bread|
1 oz dry cereal
½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal
|Whole wheat bread and rolls, whole wheat pasta, English muffin, pita bread, bagel, cereals, grits, oatmeal, brown rice, unsalted pretzels and popcorn||Major sources of energy and fiber|
|1 cup raw leafy vegetable|
½ cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetable
½ cup vegetable juice
|Broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, green peas, kale, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes||Rich sources of potassium, magnesium, and fiber|
|1 medium fruit|
¼ cup dried fruit
½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
½ cup fruit juice
|Apples, apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, raisins, strawberries, tangerines||Important sources of potassium, magnesium, and fiber|
|Fat-free or |
|1 cup milk or yogurt |
1½ oz cheese
|Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk or buttermilk; fat-free, low-fat, or reduced-fat cheese; fat-free or low-fat regular or frozen yogurt||Major sources of calcium and protein|
|Lean meats, |
6 or less
|1 oz cooked meats, poultry, or fish|
|Select only lean meats; trim away visible fat; broil, roast, or poach; remove skin from poultry||Rich sources of protein and magnesium|
|Nuts, seeds, |
|⅓ cup or 1½ oz nuts |
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp or ½ oz seeds
½ cup cooked legumes
(dry beans and peas)
|Almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, kidney beans, lentils, split peas||Rich sources of energy, magnesium, protein, and fiber|
|Fats and |
|1 tsp soft margarine|
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp salad dressing
|Soft margarine, vegetable oil (such as canola, corn, olive, or safflower), low-fat mayonnaise, light salad dressing||The DASH study had 27 percent of calories as fat, including fat in or added to foods|
|Sweets and |
5 or less
|1 Tbsp sugar|
1 Tbsp jelly or jam
½ cup sorbet, gelatin
1 cup lemonade
|Fruit-flavored gelatin, fruit punch, hard candy, jelly, maple syrup, sorbet and ices, sugar||Sweets should be low in fat|
DASH Diet Calorie
4 oz servings
6 oz servings
|3 - 4||4 - 5||4 - 5||4 - 5|
|Vegetables||3 - 4||4 - 5||4 - 5||5 or more|
|Low fat and nonfat dairy||2 - 3||3||3||3 - 4|
|Beans and nuts||3 - 4 per week||3 - 4 per week||4 - 5 per week||5 per week|
|Lean meats, fish, poultry||5 ounces||5 ounces||7 ounces||9 ounces|
|Whole grains||3||3||3||3 - 5|
|Refined grains||0||3||5 - 6||6 - 8|
|Fats and sweets||2||3||4||5|
Tips on Eating the DASH Way
|Tips on Eating the DASH Way|
|Eat a medium apple instead of cookies for dessert.|
|Have a hamburger that is 3 oz. instead of 6oz; add extra vegetables to your burger.|
|Instead of 5 oz. of chicken, have a stir-fry with 2 oz. of chicken and 1 ½ cups of raw vegetables. Use a small amount of vegetable oil.|
|Have a ½ cup serving of low-fat frozen yogurt instead of a chocolate candy bar.|
|Use low-fat or fat-free condiments|
|If using regular margarine, mayonnaise or dressing, use half as much.|
|Use fat-free or low-fat dairy products.|
|Limit foods with a lot of added sugar such as sweets and soft drinks.|
|Eat fruits canned in their own juice.|
|Healthier snacks include: fruit, raw vegetables, light popcorn, graham crackers, nuts or bread sticks.|
|Drink water instead of carbonated beverages.
Tips To Reduce Salt and Sodium
|Tips To Reduce Salt and Sodium|
|Choose low- or reduced- sodium, or no-salt-added versions of foods and condiments when available.|
|Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned with “no-added-salt” vegetables.|
|Use fresh poultry, fish and lean meat, rather than canned, smoked or processed types.|
|Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.|
|Limit cured foods (such as bacon and ham), foods packed in brine (such as pickled foods) and condiments (such as MSG, mustard, horseradish, and catsup). Limit even lower sodium versions of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce-treat these condiments just like salt).|
|In cooking and at the table, flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar or salt-free seasoning blends. Start by cutting salt in half.|
|Cook rice, pasta and hot cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.|
|Choose “convenience” foods that are lower in sodium. Limit frozen dinners, packaged mixes, canned soups and dressings.|
|Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, to remove some sodium.|
|Choose fruits or vegetables instead of salty snack foods.|
The DASH Diet For Weight Loss
The DASH eating plan was not designed to promote weight loss. But it is rich in low-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables. You can make it lower in calories by replacing high-calorie foods with more fruits and vegetables—and that also will make it easier for you to reach your DASH eating plan goals. Here are some examples:
To increase fruits:
Eat a medium apple instead of four shortbread cookies. You’ll save 80 calories.
Eat 1/4 cup of dried apricots instead of a 2-ounce bag of pork rinds. You’ll save 230 calories.
To increase vegetables:
Have a hamburger that’s 3 ounces instead of 6 ounces. Add a 1/2 cup serving of carrots and a 1/2 cup serving of spinach. You’ll save more than 200 calories.
Instead of 5 ounces of chicken, have a stir fry with 2 ounces of chicken and 1 1/2 cups of raw vegetables. Use a small amount of vegetable oil. You’ll save 50 calories.
To increase lowfat or fat free dairy products:
Have a 1/2 cup serving of lowfat frozen yogurt instead of a 1 1/2-ounce milk chocolate bar. You’ll save about 110 calories.
And don’t forget these calorie-saving tips:
Use lowfat or fat free condiments, such as fat free salad dressings.
Eat smaller portions—cut back gradually.
Choose lowfat or fat free dairy products to reduce total fat intake.
Use food labels to compare fat content in packaged foods. Items marked lowfat or fat free are not always lower in calories than their regular versions. See box 11 on how to read and compare food labels.
Limit foods with lots of added sugar, such as pies, flavored yogurts, candy bars, ice cream, sherbet, regular soft drinks, and fruit drinks.
Eat fruits canned in their own juice.
Snack on fruit, vegetable sticks, unbuttered and unsalted popcorn, or bread sticks.
Drink water or club soda.