DASH Diet Guidelines


DASH diet guidelines are easy to follow and designed to ultimately lower blood pressure while improving overall health. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension(DASH) regimen increases your healthy food consumption, limits fats and sodium and provides the daily requirements of the major nutrients. This diet is not only beneficial for those looking to reduce the risks associated with hypertension; it can also be a great routine for someone simply looking to eat and feel better.

Basic DASH Diet Guidelines

  1. Limit daily sodium intake by consuming between 1500 mg and 2300 mg per day
  2. Limit your consumption of Trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol
  3. Increase the number of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods
  4. Increase fiber intake by choosing whole grain products
  5. Limit the amount of sugar and sugar derivatives in your diet
  6. Reduce alcohol consumption
  7. Follow a moderate exercise program for at least 30 minutes per day such as brisk walking, weight training, biking or aerobics.

The breakdown of the DASH diet is as follows:

  • Total fat: 27 percent of calories
  • Saturated fat: six percent of calories
  • Protein: 18 percent of calories
  • Carbohydrate: 55 percent of calories
  • Cholesterol: 150 mg
  • Sodium: 2300 mg
  • Potassium: 4700 mg
  • Calcium: 1250 mg
  • Magnesium: 500 mg
  • Fiber: 30 g

The DASH diet offers a broad range of food options and includes enough servings and variety to please any palate and lifestyle.

Sample DASH Diet Daily Menu

This is what a 2000-calorie day could look like while following the DASH Diet Guidelines.

  • Breakfast:
    • One cup cooked oatmeal topped with one half cup skim milk, one half cup fresh berries and one tablespoon sliced raw almonds
    • One medium banana or half a grapefruit
    • One medium whole grain bagel topped with sliced tomato and one tablespoon parmesan cheese
    • One cup juice
    • Herbal tea
  • Lunch:
    • Tuna and cheese plate containing one half cup water packed tuna, three ounces cubed low sodium cheese, two whole wheat flat breads and a mixed green salad with three cups assorted chopped vegetables including cucumber, tomato, celery, carrot and peppers. Use two tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice as a dressing.
    • One half cup juice
    • Herbal tea with skim milk
  • Dinner:
    • Three ounces lean chicken meatloaf
    • One small baked potato, topped with one tablespoon fat-free sour cream, one tablespoon reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and one chopped scallion or a baked sweet potato with one tablespoon sweet butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
    • One cup spinach, sautéed with one teaspoon canola oil and a dash of minced garlic
    • One medium piece of fruit
  • Snacks:
    • One cup natural yogurt with a half cup berries and one tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
    • One cup cut up broccoli or cauliflower with a splash of rice wine vinegar

Strategies When Following DASH

Starting any diet plan can be hard initially but a few productive tips might make your success easier to obtain and the plan simpler to follow.

  1. Be aware of your serving sizes. This is an issue for any diet plan because people do not know what a standard serving size looks like and overeat as a result. Learn the correct sizes for the various foods and controlling your food intake, even while eating out, will become second nature.
  2. Eliminate all sugary, empty calorie beverages from your diet. Enjoy fresh water, herbal teas, healthy juices and skim milk instead of soda or power drinks.
  3. Do not revolve your meals around a traditional serving of meat. Try having a delicious nutrient packed vegetarian option such as chili or whole wheat grilled vegetable lasagna.
  4. Have a plan in place for the week when you go shopping. Try to create a menu that includes many of the same items in the preparation stage. This can cut the time needed to create your meals and keep you on the plan. Most unhealthy eating occurs due to lack of planning and being too tired to cook anything nutritious.
  5. Read all the labels on whatever processed foods you have in the cart when you are shopping. Look at serving size, sodium, fat, sugar and additives to determine if this product is appropriate for the DASH Diet.
  6. Do not completely deprive yourself of sweet treats. Have a square of decadent dark chocolate if you want; but only eat one piece. Studies have shown that people on completely restricted diets will cheat, and the resulting binge will be more damaging then a couple squares of chocolate or a caramel.

DASH as a Lifestyle Change

Remember you are trying to create and execute a lifestyle change, not looking for short-term effects. Have a diet plan in place that suits your lifestyle and food tastes. Many people fail when they venture too far out of their comfort zone or try to change their diet too fast. The DASH diet combines many familiar, healthy foods and can become a simple routine in most households. To see if this plan fits your daily life, visit the following websites and explore the interesting recipes.

DASH Diet Guidelines