The DASH Eating Plan

Healthy Eating, Proven Results | The DASH eating Plan

Healthy Eating, Proven Results

Source: The DASH Eating Plan is a heart healthy approach that has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and have other health benefits. To learn more, go to www.nhlbi.nih.gov/DASH.

What you choose to eat can affect your chances of developing high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Following the DASH—Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension—eating plan and eating less sodium have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and have other health benefits.

Developed through research by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the DASH eating plan emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, low-fat dairy, and healthy oils. It focuses on reducing sodium and limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, including fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils. It also limits sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. The eating plan is aimed, in part, at helping Americans with high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and has easy recipes. It’s flexible and can be adapted for your entire family to meet varied nutritional needs and food preferences.

Daily and weekly nutritional goals are a key part of the DASH eating plan and help you learn about nutrition and keep track of what you eat. Complementing the eating plan with physical activity can help you control high blood pressure and create heart healthy habits for a lifetime.

The DASH Journey

Starting a new way of eating can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. DASH provides easy-to-understand guidelines, delicious recipes, and lessons to develop the skills to prepare healthy meals at home or make smart choices when dining out. Where are you on your health journey?

LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED

You have just been diagnosed with high blood pressure and don’t know where to begin. You are ready to make a change but it all seems so overwhelming. Everywhere you turn there are quick-fix diets and complicated, expensive eating plans with special foods and many restrictions. Perhaps you discovered DASH through a web search because you are pre-hypertensive and want to learn more about prevention, or maybe your doctor told you to learn more about DASH. Understanding what is happening in your body is the first step, with gradual and easy steps to follow.

It’s easy to adopt the DASH eating plan. Even small changes made gradually lead to significant benefits. Follow these steps to begin a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime.

  1. Assess where you are now.

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and has no hard-to-follow recipes. One way to begin is by using the free, interactive, online Body Weight Planner (niddk.nih.gov/bwp) to find out how many calories you need per day to maintain or reach your goal weight. Then fill in the What’s on Your Plate? worksheet for a few days and see how your current food habits compare with the DASH plan. This will help you see what changes you need to make.

  • Discuss medication with your doctor.

If you take medication to control high blood pressure or cholesterol, you should not stop using it. Follow the DASH eating plan and talk with your doctor about your medication treatment as part of an overall plan for wellness.

  • Make DASH a part of your healthy life.

The DASH eating plan along with other lifestyle changes can help you control your blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol. Important lifestyle recommendations include: achieve and maintain a healthy weight, get regular physical activity, and, if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men).

  • DASH is for everyone in the family.

Start with the meal plans in A Week With the DASH Eating Plan if you want to follow the menus similar to those used in the DASH trial— then make up your own using your favorite foods. In fact, your entire family can eat meals using the DASH eating plan because it can be adapted to meet varied nutritional needs, food preferences, and dietary requirements.

  • Don’t worry.

Remember that on some days the foods you eat may add up to more than the recommended servings from one food group and less from another. Or, you may have too much sodium on a particular day. Just try your best to keep the average of several days close to the DASH eating plan and the sodium level recommended for you.

A Week With the DASH Eating Plan

Eating a variety of delicious foods and cutting back on salt can help lower your blood pressure. What are you waiting for? Take control of your heart health with the DASH eating plan.

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and has no hard-to- follow recipes. The following DASH menus allow you to plan healthy, nutritious meals for a week. There are a variety of delicious whole foods that fill you up while fueling your body and lowering your blood pres- sure and cholesterol levels. You’ll find plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, lean meats, beans, nuts, whole grains and low-fat dairy.

Built around the recommended number of servings in each of the DASH food groups, these menus sometimes call for you to use lower sodium, low-fat, fat-free, or reduced-fat versions of products. These menus are based on 2,000 calories a day. Serving sizes should be increased or decreased for other calorie levels. Daily sodium levels are either 2,300 milligrams or, by making the suggested changes, 1,500 milligrams.

The total daily servings by DASH food group are listed at the top. Next to each food item on the daily menu, you can check the exact serving amount for that item.

DAY 1

The Day 1 menu contains this number of servings from each DASH Food Group

  • 5 Grains
  • 5 Vegetables
  • 6 Fruits
  • 2 1/2 Dairy Meats, Fish,and Poultry
  • 1 1⁄2 Nuts, Seeds,and Legumes
  • 3 1⁄2 Fats and Oils
  •  0 Sweets and Added Sugars
BREAKFASTSODIUM (MG)
3⁄4 cup bran flakes cereal:220
+ 1 medium banana1
+ 1 cup low-fat milk107
1 slice whole wheat bread: 149
+ 1 tsp soft (tub) margarine26
1 cup orange juice5
LUNCHSODIUM (MG)
3⁄4 cup chicken salad:179
+ 2 slices whole wheat bread299
+ 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard373
salad: 
+ 1⁄2 cup fresh cucumber slices1
+ 1⁄2 cup tomato wedges5
+ 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds0
+ 1 tsp Italian dressing, low calorie43
1⁄2 cup fruit cocktail, juice pack5
DINNERSODIUM (MG)
3 oz roast beef, eye of the round:35
+ 2 Tbsp beef gravy, fat-free165
1 cup green beans, sautéed with:12
+ 1⁄2 tsp canola oil0
1 small baked potato:14
+ 1 Tbsp sour cream, fat-free21
+ 1 Tbsp natural cheddar cheese, reduced-fat67
+ 1 Tbsp chopped scallions1
1 small whole wheat roll:148
+ 1 tsp soft (tub) margarine26
1 small apple1
1 cup low-fat milk107
SNACKSSODIUM (MG)
1⁄3 cup almonds, unsalted0
1⁄4 cup raisins4
1⁄2 cup fruit yogurt, fat-free, no sugar added86
TOTAL SODIUM (MG) FOR DAY 12,101

Total nutrients per day 2,062 calories, 63 g total fat, 28% calories from fat, 13 g saturated fat, 6% calories from saturated fat, 155 mg cholesterol, 2,101 mg sodium, 284 g carbohydrate, 114 g protein, 1,220 mg calcium, 594 mg magnesium, 4,909 mg potassium, 37 g fiber

Day 2

The menu below contains the recommended number of daily servings from each DASH food group as well as a heart healthy 2,300 mg of sodium. You can easily reduce the sodium in this menu to 1,500 mg by substituting some key food items, which are highlighted in yellow. Just follow the tips.

  • 6 Grains
  • 5 1/4 Vegetables
  • 6 Fruits
  • 2 1/2 Dairy Meats, Fish,and Poultry
  • 1 1⁄2 Nuts, Seeds,and Legumes
  • 3 1⁄2 Fats and Oils
  •  0 Sweets and Added Sugars
BREAKFASTSODIUM (MG)
3⁄4 cup bran flakes cereal:220
+ 1 medium banana1
+ 1 cup low-fat milk107
1 slice whole wheat bread: 149
+ 1 tsp soft (tub) margarine26
1 cup orange juice5
LUNCHSODIUM (MG)
3⁄4 cup chicken salad:179
+ 2 slices whole wheat bread299
+ 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard373
salad: 
+ 1⁄2 cup fresh cucumber slices1
+ 1⁄2 cup tomato wedges5
+ 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds0
+ 1 tsp Italian dressing, low calorie43
1⁄2 cup fruit cocktail, juice pack5
DINNERSODIUM (MG)
3 oz roast beef, eye of the round:35
+ 2 Tbsp beef gravy, fat-free165
1 cup green beans, sautéed with:12
+ 1⁄2 tsp canola oil0
1 small baked potato:14
+ 1 Tbsp sour cream, fat-free21
+ 1 Tbsp natural cheddar cheese, reduced-fat67
+ 1 Tbsp chopped scallions1
1 small whole wheat roll:148
+ 1 tsp soft (tub) margarine26
1 small apple1
1 cup low-fat milk107
SNACKSSODIUM (MG)
1⁄3 cup almonds, unsalted0
1⁄4 cup raisins4
1⁄2 cup fruit yogurt, fat-free, no sugar added86
TOTAL SODIUM (MG) FOR DAY 12,101

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