2.80 The DASH Diet

In this HeartStrong.com video/article, we are going to discuss the DASH diet and how it can help your heart health. As you will see, the content of the DASH diet is similar to what is recommended by the AHA, USDA and similar to what you will see in the Mediterranean diet with some minor alterations.

DASH actually stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” and is the main diet recommended when blood pressure control is the primary goal. The DASH diet is low in sodium and has been researched specifically in patients with hypertension. The DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure.

The concepts of the DASH diet are actually identical to that of the AHA diet and the USDA recommendations, so they do not need to be repeated in detail here, but we will mention them briefly and then mention the differences. The components of the DASH diet include:

  • Whole grains (6-8 servings/day)
  • Vegetables (non-starchy) and fruits (4-5 servings each per day)
  • Legumes and nuts (4-5 servings per week)
  • Poultry and fish (6 ounces or less)
  • Healthy fat (2-3 teaspoons daily)
  • Low fat dairy (2-3 servings daily)
  • Limiting sweets (5 servings or less per week)

Note that the exact number of servings in each of these groups is determined by how many calories you need to eat daily. Most diets vary between 1600 calories and 2000 calories per day depending on your metabolism, weight and/or weight loss goals (see Obesity and Weight Loss: Basic Concepts).

Some of the rules of the DASH Diet include:

  • Sodium is limited to less than 2300 mg per day
  • Total fat is 27% of calories
  • Saturated fat is 6% of calories
  • Protein is 18% of calories
  • Carbohydrates are 55% of calories
  • Cholesterol is limited to 150 milligrams
  • Fiber is 30 grams per day

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