What Is the DASH Diet?
Researchers and scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed the DASH eating plan to help reduce health risks associated with even slightly higher than normal blood pressure. DASH stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension."
This flexible, well-balanced eating plan, which is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat, emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts, and limits processed foods, lean red meats, added sugars and sweets. The DASH diet is also high in protein, fiber and minerals, including potassium, magnesium and calcium, and is lower in sodium than the typical American diet.
Benefits of the DASH Diet
Following the DASH eating plan can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke—especially when combined with other lifestyle measures, such as daily exercise, limiting your alcohol intake and quitting smoking. In addition to lowering blood pressure, it can reduce LDL cholesterol levels and help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.