DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet and high blood pressure – Part 1

Is it more effective to lower blood pressure with foods – or by using supplements?

Well, I am of the opinion that rather than seeing these as opposites and mutually exclusive of one another, I prefer to consider them as allies.  And therefore it would really make more sense to use them in an orchestrated approach to hypertension.  I feel that they both have their role to play.

This article today is focussed on one particular way to lower blood pressure with foods and diet.  It even reflects this within its acronym!

The one I am referring to is:

THE DASH DIET – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

So what exactly is this diet which was initially developed specifically to deal with high blood pressure?

Well, in essence it consists of foods which are low in three things:

  • Total Fat
  • Saturated Fat
  • Cholesterol

Additionally, high emphasis is placed on the consumption of:

    • Vegetables
    • Fruits
    • Whole Grains

And the Protein sources for this diet come from:

  • Fish
  • Poultry, 
  • Nuts
  • Low Fat Dairy

Foods which need to be restricted, but not completely removed include:

  • Red Meat
  • Desserts and Sweets
  • High Sugar Beverages.

So in a nutshell, the Dash Diet supports eating foods which are high in fibre, and in  the essential minerals – Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium – yet low in Sodium.  Kathy McManus, Director of the Dept. of Nutrition at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (an affiliate of Harvard)  has this to say about the Dash Diet:

 “Research has shown us that the DASH diet is a great diet

for people with hypertension or prehypertension.”

The Dash at work – daily servings per food group:


Dash Daily Servings

 Personal Observations about the Dash Diet

It is important to consider that Whole Grain refers to the entire kernel of the grain, which includes the bran, the germ and the endosperm.  The nutrients gained from eating the whole grain, as opposed to the refined grain where the bran and germ are removed, are far better for you. wheat kernel

If you are concerned about grains which may have been genetically modified, then I suggest that rather than eating wheat, oats and barley you could try substituting ancient whole grains, such as

  • amaranth,
  • einkorn,
  • sorghum,
  • spelt
  • kamut.

Ancient grains have typically not been tampered with, are usually not refined, and offer a variety of beneficial nutrients.

When it comes to choosing your Vegetables and Fruit I would recommend eating a variety of different colours (think rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, dark blue) to optimize the nutrient value.  Organic choices are best in order to avoid pesticide residues and the risk of GMO.

To Sum it Up

There are a number of books in the DASH diet series, including one to promote weight loss The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution:, an action plan The DASH Diet Action Plan: and a cookbook The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook: Over 150 Fresh and Delicious Recipes.

the DASH diet


And customers’  feedback on the effectiveness of the diet is very positive, scoring 4 out of 5 stars:




The DASH diet itself is endorsed by the following bodies:

  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (one of the National Institutes of Health, of the US Department of Health and Human Services)
  • The American Heart Association (AHA)
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • US guidelines for treatment of high blood pressure
  • The Mayo Clinic

All things considered I believe that the DASH diet does indeed deliver.  Not only does it provide a return to eating a healthy balanced diet of wholesome foods which are good for your BP.  But… because it promotes weight loss, this in itself assists with blood pressure management. So it’s a win-win!

In DASH Diet and high blood pressure – Part 2 of this blog I am going to examine the food groups in more depth.

I hope this article was useful and would welcome any comments below.  I would especially love to hear from you if you have had success with this particular Diet.