The Complete Guide to the DASH Diet


The word DASH is the abbreviation of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This is a special diet plan, made to treat Hypertension or High Blood Pressure because with the passage of time it has been observed that the number of people affected by Hypertension and heart disease is growing day by day. Some other risk factors linked with Hypertension such as Higher Cholesterol level and low density Cholesterol are also treated through the DASH Diet. In this article, we will discuss all the essential information about the DASH Diet so that this article may help you like a Complete Beginner’s Guide to the DASH Diet.

What is the DASH Diet?: This diet consists of nutrients like minerals( Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium), Vegetables, Fruits and Whole Grains as well. Poultry, Fish and Low Fat Dairy Products are also included in the DASH Diet but with a specific proportion. Beans and nuts are also part of this special diet plan but the foods containing Sodium like salt and saturated fats like fatty meats or high fat density dairy products and sugar are excluded from the DASH Diet.

History and Development of the DASH Diet: This diet was first introduced in 1997 by the National Institute of Health to minimize the blood pressure in humans. It is a diet plan having a variety of food groups, supporting the heart and blood circulation. Some important food groups included in DASH Diet are jotted below;

  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins 
  • Fat free dairy products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Dietary minerals such as Potassium, Calcium and magnesium with fibers.
  • Low quantity of trans fats and saturated fats.

 Understanding the Principles of the DASH DietThe DASH Diet has a planned diet list which is full of eating choices. It doesn’t contain any special item but just simple items of grocery which are easily available at stores. The important thing is to convert that food group into a balanced diet that ensures regulation of your blood pressure. The DASH Diet is the best source to design a number of daily and weekly nutritional goals by keeping a check on per meal calories intake. Number of servings per day depends on your calories need per day.

The Science Behind the DASH Diet: Scientists and nutritionists have studied the food sciences for the last three decades to search the ways how food can be beneficial for regulating or controlling blood pressure. Therefore, the diet plan of Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension has been profound to treat high blood pressure by diet. In a comparison between the DASH Diet and other American or different diets, it is revealed that the main thing in DASH Diet is the controlled sodium|(salt)  intake in the body through food. Another health institute NHLBI studied the effects of the DASH Diet on the human body and showed the results as beneficial effects of weight loss and reduced blood pressure. Additionally, the DASH Diet is more advantageous for health if it is used along with regular physical activity.

How the DASH Diet Differs from Other Diets: The premier clinical studies show that the DASH Diet is different from other types of diets due to its amazingly positive effects of controlling hypertension and heart diseases. Some diets includes food groups which has drastic impacts on different biochemical reactions or procedures in body such as food rich in lipids or unsaturated fats cause high cholesterol levels in blood but the DASH Diet lowers the cholesterol, blood pressure and helps in losing weight along with the reduction in risk of heart failure or diabetes. DASH Diet also improves the lipid panel in the body with reduced sodium intake thus having the greatest effects on controlling high blood pressure.

Benefits of the DASH Diet

High blood pressure affects approximately half of the population of American adults. Research has shown that 50 to 60 percent deaths in America are Hypertensive due to two significant risk factors i.e. stroke and heart disease. Moreover, in the USA, out of four one is affected by high blood pressure which is the leading cause of heart disease. Studies have supported the use of this special Diet plan to lower the high blood pressure along with lifestyle interventions with healthy eating patterns that may lower the blood pressure as well as limiting the risk factors of related health problems.

Health Benefits: American college of Health Sciences performed some important experiments on the effects of the DASH Diet on human health and results have proved that this Diet affects the blood pressure and weight management in the human body. This Diet also improves health by preventing disease and cholesterol management. It works as a perfect diet to treat high blood pressure. NIH has funded to find its useful effects on blood pressure and concludes that the Dash Diet is an effective tool to lower the blood pressure even without considering weight loss or sodium restriction but in accordance with intentional sodium restriction and physical activity for weight loss can enhance the positive impacts on blood pressure reduction.


Weight Loss and Management: This Diet is the best choice to manage your weight. People with obesity and overweight may benefit by using this diet. A recent study about this amazing Diet has proven the weight management technique of the DASH Diet i.e. adults can observe a particular weight loss by using this diet as compared to using a calorie-restricted diet over 36 weeks.

Disease Prevention and Management: This Diet is effective for reducing cholesterol level in the blood and causes a significant decrease in HDL cholesterol. The DASH Diet is also beneficial for reducing cardiovascular diseases and has proved its efficacy to lower the risk factors of Diabetes type 2. It also plays an important role in improving Metabolic Syndrome( high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, obesity and high triglycerides are collectively called metabolic syndrome.) It lowers the Gout risk and has positive effects on kidney health.

Getting Started with the DASH Diet

The initiative phase of getting started with the DASH Diet consists of low carbohydrates in the absence of fruits and whole grains from your diet chart. This  is the first phase of your special Diet to burn your calories to reset your metabolism therefore, in this phase you will take protein-rich but low carbs and sugar and it will bring a significant weight loss in you. After two to four weeks the second phase will introduce the whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet to produce immunity against blood pressure fluctuations.

Setting Realistic Goals: By implementing the above mentioned Diet plan you can get started with this diet but you have to set some real goals at first to achieve so that you may integrate the changes that appear as the consequence of following this Diet.

Creating a DASH Diet Meal Plan:  Start your DASH Diet by including lots of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. Replace the snacks with whole grain and eat regular meals. Don’t disturb your meal timings and strictly keep an eye on portion sizes. Avoid fatty meat and include physical activity on a regular basis.

Tips for Success on the DASH Diet

Taking a suggested DASH Diet is not enough to be benefited by its positive impacts, some rules and tips are must to be implemented while taking DASH Diet plan;

Meal Prepping and Planning: It is the most important step to get started for a DASH Diet meal that is fit to your lifestyle. Here are some strategies to select, prep and cook food according to the DASH Diet plan. So, add Rainbow Slaw, DASH mini pies, pop corns, boba bam to your meals for controlling the amounts of carbohydrates in your daily meals. A good set of meals will tell you how you are becoming closer to your goals of weight loss, lowering blood pressure and improving general health.

Smart Grocery Shopping: This Diet plan is very easy to follow, yes, you just need to add real foods to your daily diet. You don’t need any special grocery for this. You can easily shop from a general grocery store because you need low carbs and low fats foods which are easily available at grocery stores.Staying Active: Along with incorporating this special Diet in your daily meals, physical activity like some aerobic exercises( running, swimming, jogging, brisk walking) are essential tools for getting accurate benefits from the DASH Diet.

Potential Challenges and How to Overcome Them

It is obvious that this special Diet plan is a completely effective to lower the blood pressure and risk of other fatal diseases like heart diseases and high cholesterol levels. Everyone wants to adopt the DASH Diet meal plan but like all other habit changing tasks it is also a challenging task. There are many potential challenges to start a DASH Diet but we will discuss some of these hurdles along with the strategies to overcome them.

Dealing with Cravings: In the beginning, you will feel it difficult to restrain yourself from cravings of unhealthy meals. Sometime you will have cravings for fatty baked and spicy meat, on another day you will plan to eat pizza with creamy pasta and so on. But it is the time to overcome such cravings which may lead you to being obese and hypertensive. Try to use some healthy foods instead of these unhealthy meals. You should eat popcorn for a crunchy taste and try some fruits as sweets.

Cost of Fresh Products: It is also a big hurdle that the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables may be expensive and may upset your pocket but this hurdle can be overcome by purchasing such foods from sales, look for buy -in season products or replace them with frozen foods.

Lack of Familiarity:  Many of you are unaware of this special Diet and don’t know how to execute this plan. Therefore, you can’t understand the advantages of the DASH Diet. This problem can be solved by reading this article of Online Health Point to get complete knowledge about the principles of the DASH Diet. Moreover, there are many online resources to understand meal plans and recipes to get started.

Monitoring and Adjusting Your Progress

Some methods of monitoring your progress are discussed because it is essential to keep yourself on track and to get all the benefits of this special Diet.

Keeping a Food Diary: Keep a diary with you and write details of your meals throughout the day, also note the portion sizes, calories per meal along with time. This practice will help you to judge your eating habits and to improve your eating patterns and diet menu.

Tracking Your Weight and Measurements: Weight loss is one of the major goals of starting a DASH Diet so weigh yourself regularly i.e once a week, this will make you aware about your progress but never ignore this reality that weight loss is a time consuming process so don’t get panic and keep it on.


DASH Diet is a feasible and exceptional way to lower the blood pressure but including some nutrients in large quantities and cutting off some nutrients as a whole is not good for health. Therefore, apply this diet plan on yourself if you have high blood pressure or obesity issue. In case of being a healthy and fit person, you should avoid this or get started by the consultation of your doctor.In case of heart disease or salt sensitivity, this diet will be beneficial for you. It actually resembles a standard low-fat diet so implement this after taking a complete examination of your blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

A hypothesis is prevailing in society that high blood pressure is the causative agent to start a DASH Diet but it is false thinking actually this diet has been designed  to improve your  optimal wellness and prevention of diseases, so you can follow this Diet to get healthy, strong and disease resistant but main point is to remain stick to your goal so avoid eating outside, try cooking at home and keep healthy snacks with you while you’re on-the-go.

Hira Shabbir

Hey, I'm Hira shabbir. An experienced content writer who is providing quality SEO content to clients, from the past 2 years. I have been a biology and English teacher from the past 20 years, which gives me an edge in providing quality content.

Hey, I'm Hira shabbir. An experienced content writer who is providing quality SEO content to clients, from the past 2 years. I have been a biology and English teacher from the past 20 years, which gives me an edge in providing quality content.