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DASH to lower blood pressure
DASH to lower blood pressure

DASH to lower blood pressure

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Nutrition, Wellness

Doctors often suggest patients start following the DASH diet, which isn’t a diet at all. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life.  


It’s not just for hypertension (high blood pressure). The DASH plan improves the lipid panel, helps people lose weight and reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  


The plan emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains and includes fish, poultry, beans, nuts and healthy oils. It limits foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats and full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel and palm oils


The science behind the DASH plan  

The DASH diet has been the subject of several studies funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). One study tested the diet’s health benefits by comparing it with the typical American diet.  


Another study, The Premier Clinical Trial, followed three groups that participated in a different program to lower blood pressure, lose weight and improve health. After six months, the participants whose study included the DASH diet had the greatest reductions in blood pressure. 


Not sold yet? Take it for a test drive 

Here’s a sample of one day of DASH meals.  



  • 1 cup mixed fruit such as melon and grapes 

  • 1/2 whole-wheat bagel 

  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter 

  • 1 cup skim milk 

  • Coffee, tea or water 



  • Spinach salad: 

    • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves 

    • 1 sliced pear 

    • 1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges 

    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil 

    • 1 ounce of goat cheese 

    • 3 ounces of cooked chicken 

  • 1 small whole-wheat roll 

  • Water 



  • Vegetarian pasta: 

    • 1/2 cup marinara sauce 

    • 1 cup chopped summer squash 

    • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach 

    • 1 1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta 

  • 1 cup melon 

  • 1 cup skim milk 


Snack (anytime) 

  • 1/4 cup trail mix, unsalted 


Here’s a tip to make adopting the DASH diet easier:  

The Internet is a fantastic resource for DASH information. You’ll find meal plan ideas like those above, links to sites where you can have personalized DASH meal plans created for you (some for a fee), study information and cookbooks galore.  


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.