What Foods are Allowed on the DASH Diet? A Comprehensive List for Your Healthy Eating Plan


The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a healthy eating plan that has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. It was developed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a way to help people control their hypertension without medication. The DASH diet emphasizes whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products while limiting sodium intake. Here’s a comprehensive list of foods allowed on the DASH diet:

1. Fruits – Any type of fresh or frozen fruit can be included in your DASH diet. Berries, apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, and pineapple are all great options. You should aim for 4-5 servings per day.

2. Vegetables – Vegetables are an essential part of the DASH diet. Include a variety of colors such as green leafy veggies, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash, and bell peppers. Try to eat about 6 servings per day.

3. Whole Grains – Brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats, and wheat bread are some examples of whole grain foods you can include in your meals. Make sure they make up half of your total grain consumption.

4. Lean Proteins – Choose fish, chicken, turkey, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, and tofu as sources of protein. Limit red meat consumption to no more than twice a week.

5. Low-Fat Dairy Products – Milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are all acceptable on the DASH diet but only if they are fat-free or low-fat versions.

Tips for Making Healthy Meals While on the DASH Diet:

1. Add colorful veggies to every meal – This will ensure you get enough nutrients from different types of produce.

2. Use herbs and spices instead of salt – Seasoning your dishes with garlic, ginger, paprika, rosemary, thyme, and other flavorful seasonings can add taste without adding excessive sodium.

3. Cook with healthy fats – Olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are good for your heart.

4. Keep it simple – Simple recipes made with fresh ingredients tend to have fewer calories and less added sugar compared to processed foods.

Remember, following the DASH diet doesn’t mean depriving yourself of delicious food. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can enjoy tasty meals while still reaping the benefits of this healthy eating plan.


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