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Staying Healthy

DASH Diet

Fruits and vegetables

If you change the way you eat, you can lower your blood pressure

If you eat a healthy diet, your heart won't have to work as hard to pump blood. The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, can help. This is a diet that can lower your blood pressure in just two weeks!

To follow the DASH diet you should:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy foods
  • Cut back on foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat
  • Eat more whole grain products, fish, poultry, nuts and dry beans
  • Eat less red meat and sweets
  • Eat foods that are rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium
  • Limit the amount of salt you eat each day - Cut back the salt you eat from 2,300 mg a day to about 1,500 mg a day (about 2/3 teaspoon)

If you add the DASH diet into your lifestyle, you can lower your blood pressure. It can help improve your heart health today.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Add a plate of vegetables or a small salad to your lunch and dinner meals. Try to eat 4-5 servings of vegetables each day. One serving is about the size of a baseball.
  • Eat fruit for dessert or as a snack. Try to eat 4-5 servings of fruit each day. One serving is about the size of a baseball or a light bulb.
  • Use half the butter, margarine or salad dressing. Use low-fat or fat-free dressings.
  • Drink or eat low-fat or fat-free dairy foods three times a day.
  • Limit meat to 2 or less servings each day. One serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. Try eating some vegetarian meals too!
  • Don't eat chips or candy for a snack. Instead eat unsalted pretzels or nuts, raisins, graham crackers, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, a handful of carrots or unsalted plain popcorn with no butter.
  • Read nutrition labels. Choose foods that are low in salt.
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