The DASH diet, short for "Dietary Guidelines to Control Hypertension," is an evidence-based diet focused on reducing high blood pressure. It emphasizes the intake of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, and a variety of lean protein sources.
The DASH diet was created by a team of nutritionists and researchers funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the 1990s. It's regularly ranked as one of the best overall diets for health and unanimously praised for its effect on reducing hypertension.
The DASH diet recommends ingesting no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily while lowering typical American consumption – from 3,400 to 4,500 milligrams per day – to 1,500 milligrams.
A recommended breakdown of calories on the DASH diet consists of 55% to 60% carbohydrates, 25% to 30% fat, and 10% to 15% protein.
Fruits and vegetables are recommended daily, particularly those low in sodium, such as apples, oranges, bananas, and potatoes.
DASH Diet recommends eating whole-grain bread, cereal, and brown rice.
The diet encourages reducing fat intake, especially from saturated sources like red meat, butter, cheese, and fried foods.
Low-fat dairy products such as skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and reduced-fat cheese are preferred on the DASH diet.
DASH diet suggests consuming lean proteins, fish, poultry, and beans several times a week.
Foods high in fiber, like nuts, seeds, and legumes, are also encouraged.
Unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish should replace saturated fats on the DASH diet.