The “Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension” (DASH) diet successfully reduced patients systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
They achieved this reduction without special foods, food supplements, drugs, or weekly meetings. Furthermore, they achieved it without emphasizing weight loss by reducing kilocalories, without insisting on salt reduction, and without demanding exercise.
Are you intrigued? The DASH program is usually based on a 2,000-kilocalorie-a-day diet. In the following sections, I provide you with the foods and servings in the program, sample menus, and tips for getting started and sticking with it.
If you find that following DASH is too difficult, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian.
The 2,000-kilocalorie DASH eating plan has the following foods and servings. If you need fewer kilocalories to maintain your weight, take the lower number of servings; if you need more kilocalories, take the higher number of servings.
- 7 to 8 servings of grains and grain products daily – A serving is 1 slice of bread, 1.2 bagel, 1.2 cup dry cereal, 1.2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or other cereal.
- 4 to 5 servings of vegetables daily – A serving is 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables, 1.2 cup cooked vegetables, 6 ounces vegetable juice.
- 4 to 5 servings of fruit daily – A serving is 6 ounces of fruit juice, 1 medium fruit, 1.2 cup dried fruit, 1.2 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit.
- 2 to 3 servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy products daily – A serving is 1 cup 1-percent milk, 1 cup low-fat yogurt, and 11.2 ounces nonfat cheese.
- 2 or fewer servings of meats, poultry, or fish daily – A serving is 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, fish, or poultry.
- 21.2 servings of fats daily – A serving is 1 teaspoon oil, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, or 1 tablespoon regular or 2 tablespoons light salad dressing.
- 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, or legumes per week – A serving is 1.3 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons seeds, 1.2 cup cooked legumes, or 3 ounces tofu.
- 5 servings of sweets per week – 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon jelly or jam, 1.2 ounce jelly beans, or 8 ounces of lemonade.
Examples of good food choices in each group include
- Grains and grain products – English muffins, high-fiber cereals, oatmeal, pita bread, and whole wheat breads
- Vegetables – Artichokes, broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, kale, peas, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and turnip greens
- Fruits – Apples, apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangos, melons, peaches, pineapples, prunes, raisins, strawberries, and tangerines
- Dairy products – Buttermilk . skim or low-fat; cheese . nonfat and partskim mozzarella; milk . skim or 1-percent; yogurt . nonfat or low-fat
- Fish, meats, and poultry – Lean meats, poultry without skin, and no frying or sauteing
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes – Almonds, mixed nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, and walnuts; sesame or sunflower seeds; garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, lentils, split peas, and tofu
Note: Lowering blood pressure is very important for diabetes