The DASH (Dietary Approached to Stop Hypertension) diet is an eating plan that was first developed in 1995 to treat patients with high blood pressure. The diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts, beans and seeds & rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium.
The basics of the DASH eating principles:
Less than 2,300mg per day
6-7 servings per day
Focus on whole grains versus refined grains. Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, whole wheat bread & bread products, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, oats, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, etc. For a complete list of whole grains click here.
4-5 servings per day
Use vegetables as more than just a side dish. Make vegetables the focus of meals.
4-5 servings per day
Fruits make great snack and dessert options.
2-3 servings per day
Make sure to choose low fat or nonfat dairy options. Be sure to watch the sodium content of cheeses, as they tend to be high.
Lean meat, poultry, & fish
6 or fewer servings per day
1 serving of protein equals 1oz.
2-3oz is about the size of a deck of card. Be sure to watch portion sizes here.
Nuts, seeds, & legumes
4-5 servings per week
Nuts seeds and legumes are full of fiber, healthy fats and plant chemicals that protect against cardiovascular disease. Serving sizes are small and intended to be consumed weekly as these foods can be high in calories.
Fats & oils
2-3 servings per day
Focus on monounsaturated fats such as vegetable oils.
5 or fewer per week
Men: less than 2 drinks per day
Women: less than 1 drink per day
The DASH diet was originally developed for the sole purpose of lowering blood pressure. However, recent research has indicated that the DASH diet can be beneficial in other health conditions such as achieving weight loss, overall heart health and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
DASH diet & Weight Loss
The DASH diet has been associated with reduced waist circumferences and body weight. Both of which are indicators of various different obesity related health conditions. By maintaining a healthy body weight and waist circumference, risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders is greatly reduced.
DASH diet & Cardiovascular Disease
Research has found that following the DASH diet can have beneficial effects on blood pressure in as little as two weeks. In addition to the original intent of lowering blood pressure, the DASH diet has also been found to lower homocysteine levels and LDL cholesterols. High levels of both homocysteine and LDL cholesterol associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
DASH diet & Diabetes
The high amounts of calcium, magnesium, fiber, and low amounts of saturated fat, the DASH diet has been found to be beneficial in improving insulin resistance for individuals for individuals with type 2 diabetes.
DASH diet & PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal endocrine disorder seen in women. PCOS has been associated with an increased risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease. Research has indicated that the DASH diet can improve insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and abdominal fat in overweight or obese women with PCOS.
Ultimately, recent research is indicating that the DASH diet can provide benefits to the general population in all stage of life. Try the recipe below to incorporate more of the DASH principles into your own eating!
DASH Approved Recipe- Apple Spiced Oatmeal
Recipe from: dashdietoregon.com (adapted from foodhero.org)
1 egg, beaten
1⁄2 cup applesauce
1 1⁄2 cups non-fat or 1% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons oil
1 apple, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil or spray an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan.
- Combine the egg, applesauce, apple, milk, vanilla, and oil in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the rolled oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- Add to the liquid ingredients and mix well.
- Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts. Return to oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes until top is browned and the sugar bubbles. (Keep an eye on it during this step to keep it from burning).
Cut into 9, 2.5 inch by 2.5 inch squares. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Per serving: 160 calories, 6 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 22 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber, 150 mg sodium, 69 mg calcium, 30 mg potassium, 4 mg magnesium.
For more DASH approved recipes and resources, visit the dashdietoregon.org
Nutrition Education Services/Oregon Dairy Council
Haghighatdoost, F., Onvani, S., Azadbakht, L. (2015). Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan: Beyond the Hypertension. Nutrition and Food Sciences Research 2(1).
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Whole Grains Council