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DASH diet for a road to a healthy heart


What is a DASH DIET:

DASH is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life.

DASH diet lowers blood pressure and LDL cholesterol in the blood and shaped the NHLBI’s DASH eating plan recommendations, which includes following a DASH diet with reduced sodium intake.

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals.


This plan recommends:

  • Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
  • Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils
  • Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.

Based on these recommendations, the following table shows examples of daily and weekly servings that meet DASH eating plan targets for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.

Daily and Weekly DASH Eating Plan Goals for a 2,000-Calorie-a-Day Diet :

Food Group Daily Servings
Grains 6–8
Meats, poultry, and fish 6 or less
Vegetables 4–5
Fruit 4–5
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products 2–3
Fats and oils 2–3
Sodium 2,300 mg*
Weekly Servings
Nuts, seeds, dry beans, and peas 4–5
Sweets 5 or less

*1,500 milligrams (mg) sodium lowers blood pressure even further than 2,300 mg sodium daily.


When following the DASH eating plan, it is important to choose foods that are:

  • Low in saturated and trans fats
  • Rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein
  • Lower in sodium

The DASH eating plan is just one key part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, and combining it with other lifestyle changes such as physical activity can help you control your blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol for life.


Other lifestyle changes to prevent and control high blood pressure :

  • Be physically active.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage and cope with stress.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Adequate sleep. Atleast 7-8 hrs.

To help make lifestyle changes for road to a healthy heart, try making one change at a time.  Add one change at a time and add another change once successful.  Its one Beat at a time. Once you practice  healthy lifestyle to make a  habit,  you are more likely to achieve road to a healthy heart and maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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