Struggling with high blood pressure and searching for an effective way to manage it? Look no further than the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Endorsed by the National Institute of Health (NIH), this diet has gained widespread popularity for its ability to help control hypertension. With its emphasis on wholesome, nutrient-rich foods, it can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle and keep your blood pressure in check.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a growing health concern affecting over a billion people worldwide. If left unchecked, it can lead to health complications such as strokes and kidney disease.

While medication can help manage hypertension, diet and lifestyle factors also play a crucial role in controlling it. A diet high in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, can even render medication ineffective. However, making necessary dietary changes can help manage hypertension to a significant extent.

One popular dietary approach for managing hypertension is the DASH diet. It is also referred to as the hypertension diet plan or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet and is considered one of the most popular methods to tackle high blood pressure. Let’s know more about it.

Starting the DASH Diet: The Know How

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a science-backed diet, developed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) as a dietary intervention to reduce high blood pressure.

DASH is a well-researched eating plan that promotes the consumption of lean meat, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and minerals, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It also restricts daily sodium intake to 1500 mg to control elevated blood pressure. Apart from including certain foods, the diet also limits the consumption of sweetened beverages, processed meats, and full-fat dairy products.

It is pertinent to note that, although well-researched and safe, a sudden dietary change in your lifestyle may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, to ensure that you achieve optimal health benefits, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet.

Some Important DASH Diet Tips

Let us have a closer look at the DASH recommendations:

1. Carbohydrates

Healthy carbohydrates in the DASH diet include whole grains and legumes. These carbohydrates are included in the diet to provide energy. Several patients make the mistake of excluding carbohydrates from their hypertension diet. Such low-carb diets may lead to decreased caloric intake and the consumption of unhealthy fats as a substitute.

Instead of avoiding carbohydrates, healthy sources like cracked wheat, millets, oats, and legumes can be included in your diet. One tasty and nutritious way to include healthy carbohydrates in your diet is through amaranth thoran.

2. Proteins

The DASH diet includes both plant-based and animal-based proteins. Animal proteins that you consume should be unprocessed or lean, while plant proteins from soy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds are encouraged. Examples of healthy animal-based proteins include low-fat dairy, eggs, and fish. Try preparing a soybean curry with your daily food for a protein-packed meal.

3. Fats

Fats have been in the bad limelight for quite some time now. Research, however, has shown that not all fats are bad. Fats are of two types: good fats and bad fats.

Good fats, when consumed in moderation, may increase high-density cholesterol (good cholesterol) in the body. The good fats you can consume in the DASH diet are olive oil, flax seeds, fish, avocados, hemp seeds, nuts, and so forth. The bad fats that you should be limited are butter, margarine, and a few vegetable oils, such as palm oil.

It is important to eat even the good fats in moderation, as these are a highly condensed form of energy source. This is one of the main reasons why the fat recommendation in the DASH diet is much lower than others.

Recommended Serving Guide for DASH Diet

A typical serving of the DASH diet for 2,000 calorie-a-day is as follows:

  1. Grains: about 7 servings per day. 1 serving = 30g
  2. Low-fat dairy products: about 2 servings per day. 1 serving = 100ml
  3. Lean meat products: about 2 or fewer servings per day. 1 serving = 30g
  4. Vegetables: about 5 servings per day. 1 serving = 100g
  5. Fruits: about 5 meals per day. 1 serving = 100g
  6. Nuts and seeds: 2-3 times per week.
  7. Fats and oils: 2-3 servings per day. 1 serving = 5g
  8. Sweets: 5 or fewer servings per week. 1 serving = 5g

Please note that these dietary recommendations are general guidelines and may vary according to your specific health needs. It's, therefore, important to consult with a healthcare professional to plan your specific hypertension diet to suit your needs.

DASH Diet and Its Relationship with Sodium

One teaspoon of salt contains 2300 mg of sodium. The regular DASH diet program encourages no more than 1 teaspoon of sodium per day, which is in line with most national guidelines. The lower-salt version recommends no more than ¾ teaspoon (1500 mg) of sodium per day. To improve blood pressure, it is recommended to reduce sodium intake to < 2300 mg/day in the general population and a lower goal of < 1500 mg/day for people with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic diseases. Numerous studies have reported that reduced salt intake combined with the DASH diet has shown to effectively reduce blood pressure levels, as well boost heart health.

If someone is suffering from hypertension, they can limit their sodium intake by carefully reviewing the sodium content on food labels, and minimising the consumption of canned goods. By adopting these practices and taking tiny steps to manage your sodium intake, you can support your overall health.


Hypertension has become a major health concern and a significant contributor to several serious ailments. Incorporating a special high blood pressure diet into your life is crucial to managing it. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a well-researched, science-backed eating plan that can significantly reduce high blood pressure. The diet emphasises the consumption of lean meat, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and minerals while limiting the intake of sodium, sweetened beverages, and processed meats. The DASH diet can be an effective solution for hypertension, but it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet to ensure optimal health benefits. By following the DASH diet serving guide and dietary recommendations, individuals can manage hypertension and improve their overall health.