What Is The DASH Diet?


5/9/20234 min read

a circle of food that includes fruits and vegetables
a circle of food that includes fruits and vegetables

What Is The DASH Diet?

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a dietary pattern developed to help manage high blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The DASH diet emphasizes eating whole foods while limiting the intake of processed and high-fat foods. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products.

What Are The Calorie Specifications Of DASH diet?

The DASH diet provides specific dietary recommendations to help meet individual nutrition goals, such as reducing sodium intake. The dietary recommendations are often based on calorie requirements, with options for both a 2,000-calorie or a 2,500-calorie diet.

Here are some key components of the DASH diet:

1. Fruits and Vegetables: The diet emphasizes consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, aiming for 4-5 servings of each per day.

2. Whole Grains: Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread are recommended, with a goal of 6-8 servings per day.

3. Lean Proteins: Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and fish, are recommended, as well as legumes such as lentils, beans, and peas.

4. Low-fat Dairy: The DASH diet recommends incorporating low-fat or fat-free dairy products into meals and snacks, with a goal of 2-3 servings per day.

5. Limited Sodium: The diet recommends limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, and ideally no more than 1,500 milligrams per day for individuals with high blood pressure.

6. Limited Sugar and Sweets: Foods high in added sugars are also limited, with the goal of no more than 5 servings or less per week of sweets.

The DASH diet is a well-balanced and flexible eating approach promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. It can help improve overall health, particularly in those with high blood pressure. The DASH diet is relatively easy to follow and can be tailored to individual preferences and dietary restrictions.

Benefits of DASH Diet:

1. Improves heart health: The DASH diet recommends a lower intake of sodium, unhealthy fats, and cholesterol, which can help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, therefore improving heart health.

2. Can assist in weight loss: The DASH diet may help with weight loss by emphasizing consumption of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, which are low in calories but high in fiber and nutrients.

3. Improves overall health: The DASH diet encourages consumption of nutrient-rich whole foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals, thereby helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

4. Flexibility: The DASH diet is a flexible eating plan that can be easily tailored to meet the needs of vegetarians, vegans or individuals with specific food allergies.

Drawbacks of DASH Diet:

1. Potentially costly: Depending on the food choices, the DASH diet can be relatively expensive, making it more challenging for individuals on a budget.

2. Can take time to prepare: Due to the emphasis on fresh and whole foods, certain meal preparations can be time-consuming.

3. Limiting alcohol intake: The DASH diet recommends limiting alcohol intake as excessive alcohol intake is known to cause adverse health effects.

Who Can Take The DASH Diet?

Eligible Candidates:

1. Individuals who have high blood pressure (hypertension): The DASH diet is recommended for individuals with high blood pressure, as it can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

2. People who want to maintain a healthy weight: The emphasis on consuming low-calorie, fiber-rich, and nutrient-dense foods can aid in weight reduction by minimizing calorie intake.

3. Anyone wanting to promote overall health and wellness: While the DASH diet is specially formulated to help reduce blood pressure, it can promote overall health and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

The DASH diet can provide significant health benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved heart health, and weight loss, among others. However, the diet can be costly and time-consuming, and excessive alcohol intake must be avoided. Generally, individuals with hypertension, those looking to maintain a healthy weight, or anyone seeking to improve overall health can benefit from the DASH diet. Even with these recommendations, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider before adopting the DASH diet, especially for individuals with certain health conditions or dietary restrictions.

Here are some examples of a diet chart according to the DASH diet:

1. Breakfast

- Whole-grain oatmeal with mixed berries and low-fat milk

- Scrambled egg whites with a side of whole-wheat toast and avocado slices

- Greek yogurt with sliced bananas and mixed nuts

2. Lunch

- Grilled chicken breast with a mixed salad, sliced oranges, and quinoa

- Brown rice with black beans, cooked spinach, and a side of low-fat cottage cheese

- Whole-grain pasta with steamed broccoli, mushrooms, and a tomato-based sauce

3. Dinner

- Broiled salmon with roasted asparagus, sweet potatoes, and fresh green salad

- Turkey or vegetable chili with brown rice, low-fat sour cream, and a side of steamed green beans

- Grilled lean steak with a baked sweet potato and a side of roasted vegetables

4. Snacks

- Lightly salted popcorn or whole-grain crackers with hummus

- Sliced apple with natural peanut butter

- Carrots or celery sticks with low-fat Greek yogurt dip

5. Beverages

-Water with lime or lemon, milk, unsweetened tea, and coffee.


The DASH diet emphasizes fresh, whole foods rich in fiber and nutrients while limiting processed foods and foods high in saturated fats, added sugar, and sodium. A well-balanced diet according to the DASH plan can help to reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, and promote overall wellness. It is essential to select nutrient-rich, whole foods and avoid processed foods or foods high in added sugars while incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins throughout the day.