We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. The main aim of the DASH diet is to reduce high blood pressure. A person will eat fruits, vegetables, whole grain, low-fat dairy foods, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans, but they will limit their intake of red meat, fat, sugar, and salt. High blood pressure is a major health concern in the United States. Learn about it here. The main aim of the DASH diet is not to lose weight but to reduce blood pressure. However, it can also help those who want to lose weight, lower cholesterol, and manage or prevent diabetes. DASH is not a vegetarian diet, but it adds more fruits and vegetables, low or nonfat dairy foods, beans, nuts, and other nutritious items. It also gives samples of meal plans and their nutritional values.
In fact, the number of people with high blood pressure has doubled in the last 40 years — a serious health concern, as high blood pressure is linked to a higher risk of conditions such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke 1, 2. As diet is thought to play a major role in the development of high blood pressure, scientists and policymakers have engineered specific dietary strategies to help reduce it 3, 4. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, is a diet recommended for people who want to prevent or treat hypertension — also known as high blood pressure — and reduce their risk of heart disease. The diet was created after researchers noticed that high blood pressure was much less common in people who followed a plant-based diet, such as vegans and vegetarians 5, 6. The diet is low in red meat, salt, added sugars and fat. Scientists believe that one of the main reasons people with high blood pressure can benefit from this diet is because it reduces salt intake. The regular DASH diet program encourages no more than 1 teaspoon 2, mg of sodium per day, which is in line with most national guidelines.
The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. It includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans, and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. None of the plans were vegetarian, but the DASH plan incorporated more fruits and vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, beans, and nuts than the others studied. These changes in blood pressure occurred with no changes in body weight. The DASH dietary pattern is adjusted based on daily caloric intake ranging from 1, to 3, dietary calories.