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What is DASH Diet?

Learn more about DASH diet and its health benefits.

In this article, you will learn more about DASH diet and research studies that show its health benefit.

What is DASH Diet?


  • The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was originally developed for hypertension but has been modified as a weight loss solution
  • It is a low-fat diet that emphasises reducing sodium intake and eating foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium – nutrients that lower blood pressure
  • For weight loss, it has been modified to reduce the amount of wholegrains and carbohydrates and focus on bulky, filling low-calorie vegetables and protein-rich foods
  • There are similarities between the DASH diet and the more commonly known Mediterranean diet, however, the DASH diet does not emphasise fish, olive oil, or wine.

DASH Diet Recipes

DASH Diet. 6-8 Servings per day: whole grains. 4-5 Servings per week: nuts, seeds, and legumes. 4-5 Servings per day: vegetables. 4-5 Servings per day: fruit. 2-3 Servings per day: fat-free/ low fat diary. Less than 6 servings per day: lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish. Less than 5 servings per week: sweets. 2-3 Servings per day: fat, oils. Do: Filling low calorie vegetables, fruits, lean proteins. Don't: Salt, added sugars, fats.

Summary of the principles of the DASH diet. Adapted from: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute UK

Food group; What is 1 serving size for the DASH Diet? Wholegrains; 1 slice of bread / 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Vegetables; 1 cup of raw leafy greens / 1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables. Fruit; 1 medium fruit / 1/4 cup drief fruit / 1/2 cup fresh frozen or canned fruit. Low fat diary; 1 cup milk / yogurt, 54g cheese. Fats/Oils; 1 tsp soft margarine, 1 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp salad dressing. Nuts/ seeds/ legumes; 1/3 cup nuts/ 2 tbsp peanut butter / 1/2 cup cooked legumes. Lean meats / fish/ eggs; 30g cooked meat or fish / 1 egg. Sweets; 1 tbsp sugar / 1 tbsp jam / 1 cup lemonade.

Evidence Supporting DASH diet

Evidence shows that the DASH dietary pattern is associated with reduced weight, decreased incidence of cardiovascular disease, and improved blood pressure with evidence of other cardiometabolic advantages in people with and without diabetes13. Combining the DASH diet with cognitive-behavioural weight management strategies gives superior results for weight loss and blood pressure than the diet alone.14

The DASH diet is recommended by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to reduce blood pressure.

Resources For Patients and Health Professionals Offering Support

Most of the resources for the DASH diet have been developed in the United States of America – the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provides lay summaries of the diet for use with patients. Find a downloadable NIH summary below.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has DASH resources available via their website – including a helpful downloadable (DASH diet cheat sheet) below.

This article is from the free online

EduWeight: Weight Management for Adult Patients with Chronic Disease

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