Definition of DASH diet

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a healthy-eating plan designed to treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).

Overview of DASH diet

Let us see here ‘What does DASH diet mean?’ and ‘How does DASH diet work?’.

The DASH-Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is a dietary strategy that was designed to lower high blood pressure, enhance heart health, and minimise the risk of other chronic diseases. The diet’s main focus is eating complete, nutrient-dense meals while limiting high-sodium, high-fat, and high-sugar foods.

Fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, lean protein sources, and low-fat dairy foods are abundant in the DASH diet. It has less cholesterol, added sugar, saturated and trans fats. The DASH diet is also rich in fiber, essential nutrients that support overall health, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and other medical institutions worked together to create the DASH diet. It has been demonstrated in various research to be efficient in lowering blood pressure and enhancing heart health. For people with high blood pressure or who are at risk of developing high blood pressure, healthcare practitioners frequently suggest the DASH diet as a healthy eating regimen.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is not necessarily designed specifically for weight loss, but it can still be an effective way to achieve weight loss goals. 

How does DASH diet work?

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet encourages the consumption of foods high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are also nutrient-dense, while restricting the consumption of foods that are high in salt, added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and other unhealthy ingredients.

The DASH diet provides an effective combination of carbs, protein, and fat that can help to manage blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and enhance overall health by placing emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. The risk of overeating can be decreased by consuming a lot of fiber in the diet, which can also aid in promoting feelings of fullness.

In addition to lowering blood pressure, the DASH diet’s sodium restriction reduces a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,  along with its other health benefits. The DASH diet can aid in lowering fluid retention and blood vessel tension, which can aid in lowering blood pressure, by reducing the quantity of sodium in the diet.

DASH diet food list

The following is a list of foods that are typically recommended on the DASH diet:

  1. Fruits:
    Berries, apples, bananas, oranges, pears, grapes, melons, mangoes, peaches, pineapples, and other fresh fruits.
  2. Vegetables:
    Leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, and other vegetables.
  3. Whole grains:
    Brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, oats, barley, and other whole grains.
  4. Lean protein:
    Chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef, tofu, beans, lentils, and other lean protein sources.
  5. Low-fat dairy:
    Milk, yogurt, cheese, and other low-fat dairy products.
  6. Nuts and seeds:
    Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and other nuts and seeds.
  7. Healthy fats:
    Olive oil, avocado, and other healthy fats in moderation.
  8. Limited amounts of sweets and processed foods:
    The DASH diet emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods, and recommends limiting the intake of sweets, sugary drinks, and processed foods high in saturated and trans fats.

DASH diet meal plan

Here is a sample one-day meal plan for the DASH diet,


  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal with 1 sliced banana and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup non-fat or low-fat milk
  • 1 small orange


  • 1 small apple
  • 1-ounce low-fat cheddar cheese


  • Turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with sliced tomato, lettuce, and mustard
  • 1 small bag of baked chips
  • 1 cup baby carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1 small pear


  • 1 small banana
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter


  • Grilled salmon with 1/4 cup brown rice and steamed broccoli
  • Spinach salad with sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, and low-fat vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 small whole-grain dinner roll
  • 1 small apple


  • 1/2 cup non-fat or low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries

To create a meal plan that suits your unique nutritional requirements and tastes, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare expert or registered dietitian. The experts have deep knowledge about ‘How does DASH diet work?’ in an efficient way. They will consider your health condition and DASH diet guidelines to design a proper plan that would suit you best.