Elsevier Logo

English

ThisisPatientEngagementcontent

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR PATIENT GOES HOME?

Learn more about our Patient Engagement products now! Turn your patients into active participants in their healthcare by giving them easy access to the same evidence-based information you trust – but delivered in an easy-to-understand format.

Nov.20.2020
 DASH Eating Plan

DASH Eating Plan

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH eating plan is a healthy eating plan that has been shown to:
  • Reduce high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Help with weight loss.

What are tips for following this plan?

Reading food labels

  • Check food labels for the amount of salt (sodium) per serving. Choose foods with less than 5 percent of the Daily Value of sodium. Generally, foods with less than 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving fit into this eating plan.
  • To find whole grains, look for the word "whole" as the first word in the ingredient list.

Shopping

  • Buy products labeled as "low-sodium" or "no salt added."
  • Buy fresh foods. Avoid canned foods and pre-made or frozen meals.

Cooking

  • Avoid adding salt when cooking. Use salt-free seasonings or herbs instead of table salt or sea salt. Check with your health care provider or pharmacist before using salt substitutes.
  • Do not fry foods. Cook foods using healthy methods such as baking, boiling, grilling, roasting, and broiling instead.
  • Cook with heart-healthy oils, such as olive, canola, avocado, soybean, or sunflower oil.

Meal planning

  • Eat a balanced diet that includes:
    • 4 or more servings of fruits and 4 or more servings of vegetables each day. Try to fill one-half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
    • 6–8 servings of whole grains each day.
    • Less than 6 oz (170 g) of lean meat, poultry, or fish each day. A 3-oz (85-g) serving of meat is about the same size as a deck of cards. One egg equals 1 oz (28 g).
    • 2–3 servings of low-fat dairy each day. One serving is 1 cup (237 mL).
    • 1 serving of nuts, seeds, or beans 5 times each week.
    • 2–3 servings of heart-healthy fats. Healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as walnuts, flaxseeds, fortified milks, and eggs. These fats are also found in cold-water fish, such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel.
  • Limit how much you eat of:
    • Canned or prepackaged foods.
    • Food that is high in trans fat, such as some fried foods.
    • Food that is high in saturated fat, such as fatty meat.
    • Desserts and other sweets, sugary drinks, and other foods with added sugar.
    • Full-fat dairy products.
  • Do not salt foods before eating.
  • Do not eat more than 4 egg yolks a week.
  • Try to eat at least 2 vegetarian meals a week.
  • Eat more home-cooked food and less restaurant, buffet, and fast food.

Lifestyle

  • When eating at a restaurant, ask that your food be prepared with less salt or no salt, if possible.
  • If you drink alcohol:
    • Limit how much you use to:
      • 0–1 drink a day for women who are not pregnant.
      • 0–2 drinks a day for men.
    • Be aware of how much alcohol is in your drink. In the U.S., one drink equals one 12 oz bottle of beer (355 mL), one 5 oz glass of wine (148 mL), or one 1½ oz glass of hard liquor (44 mL).

General information

  • Avoid eating more than 2,300 mg of salt a day. If you have hypertension, you may need to reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day.
  • Work with your health care provider to maintain a healthy body weight or to lose weight. Ask what an ideal weight is for you.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise that causes your heart to beat faster (aerobic exercise) most days of the week. Activities may include walking, swimming, or biking.
  • Work with your health care provider or dietitian to adjust your eating plan to your individual calorie needs.

What foods should I eat?

Fruits

All fresh, dried, or frozen fruit. Canned fruit in natural juice (without added sugar).

Vegetables

Fresh or frozen vegetables (raw, steamed, roasted, or grilled). Low-sodium or reduced-sodium tomato and vegetable juice. Low-sodium or reduced-sodium tomato sauce and tomato paste. Low-sodium or reduced-sodium canned vegetables.

Grains

Whole-grain or whole-wheat bread. Whole-grain or whole-wheat pasta. Brown rice. Oatmeal. Quinoa. Bulgur. Whole-grain and low-sodium cereals. Pita bread. Low-fat, low-sodium crackers. Whole-wheat flour tortillas.

Meats and other proteins

Skinless chicken or turkey. Ground chicken or turkey. Pork with fat trimmed off. Fish and seafood. Egg whites. Dried beans, peas, or lentils. Unsalted nuts, nut butters, and seeds. Unsalted canned beans. Lean cuts of beef with fat trimmed off. Low-sodium, lean precooked or cured meat, such as sausages or meat loaves.

Dairy

Low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk. Reduced-fat, low-fat, or fat-free cheeses. Nonfat, low-sodium ricotta or cottage cheese. Low-fat or nonfat yogurt. Low-fat, low-sodium cheese.

Fats and oils

Soft margarine without trans fats. Vegetable oil. Reduced-fat, low-fat, or light mayonnaise and salad dressings (reduced-sodium). Canola, safflower, olive, avocado, soybean, and sunflower oils. Avocado.

Seasonings and condiments

Herbs. Spices. Seasoning mixes without salt.

Other foods

Unsalted popcorn and pretzels. Fat-free sweets.
The items listed above may not be a complete list of foods and beverages you can eat. Contact a dietitian for more information.

What foods should I avoid?

Fruits

Canned fruit in a light or heavy syrup. Fried fruit. Fruit in cream or butter sauce.

Vegetables

Creamed or fried vegetables. Vegetables in a cheese sauce. Regular canned vegetables (not low-sodium or reduced-sodium). Regular canned tomato sauce and paste (not low-sodium or reduced-sodium). Regular tomato and vegetable juice (not low-sodium or reduced-sodium). Pickles. Olives.

Grains

Baked goods made with fat, such as croissants, muffins, or some breads. Dry pasta or rice meal packs.

Meats and other proteins

Fatty cuts of meat. Ribs. Fried meat. Bacon. Bologna, salami, and other precooked or cured meats, such as sausages or meat loaves. Fat from the back of a pig (fatback). Bratwurst. Salted nuts and seeds. Canned beans with added salt. Canned or smoked fish. Whole eggs or egg yolks. Chicken or turkey with skin.

Dairy

Whole or 2% milk, cream, and half-and-half. Whole or full-fat cream cheese. Whole-fat or sweetened yogurt. Full-fat cheese. Nondairy creamers. Whipped toppings. Processed cheese and cheese spreads.

Fats and oils

Butter. Stick margarine. Lard. Shortening. Ghee. Bacon fat. Tropical oils, such as coconut, palm kernel, or palm oil.

Seasonings and condiments

Onion salt, garlic salt, seasoned salt, table salt, and sea salt. Worcestershire sauce. Tartar sauce. Barbecue sauce. Teriyaki sauce. Soy sauce, including reduced-sodium. Steak sauce. Canned and packaged gravies. Fish sauce. Oyster sauce. Cocktail sauce. Store-bought horseradish. Ketchup. Mustard. Meat flavorings and tenderizers. Bouillon cubes. Hot sauces. Pre-made or packaged marinades. Pre-made or packaged taco seasonings. Relishes. Regular salad dressings.

Other foods

Salted popcorn and pretzels.
The items listed above may not be a complete list of foods and beverages you should avoid. Contact a dietitian for more information.

Where to find more information

Summary

  • The DASH eating plan is a healthy eating plan that has been shown to reduce high blood pressure (hypertension). It may also reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
  • When on the DASH eating plan, aim to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and heart-healthy fats.
  • With the DASH eating plan, you should limit salt (sodium) intake to 2,300 mg a day. If you have hypertension, you may need to reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day.
  • Work with your health care provider or dietitian to adjust your eating plan to your individual calorie needs.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

;