DASH Diet for Lowering Blood Pressure

18 Apr


 [Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension]

In addition to following the American Heart Association’s (AHA) heart healthy diet recommendations (low-fat, high fiber diet with fruits and vegetables and plant-based protein), the DASH diet emphasizes a low sodium diet with adequate amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium. This plan has been shown to lower blood pressure in as quickly as two weeks. Following this plan may also lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

The Guidelines:

    • 1500mg sodium [The AHA recommends this amount of sodium for ALL individuals]
    • 4700mg potassium
    • 1250mg calcium
    • 500mg magnesium

How to lower sodium intake:

  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks
  • Cook from scratch and freeze leftovers
  • Don’t add salt to your food
  • Eat out less often; ask servers how the food is prepared and ask for sauce on the side and/or no salt added
  • Go easy on the condiments
  • Rinse canned beans well
  • Choose frozen/fresh over canned vegetables
  • Limit frozen dinners or if you do have one on occasion, look for ones with less than 600mg sodium
  • Read labels: aim for foods with no more than 300mg per serving (less than 150mg is even better)

Reducing your sodium intake is extremely important to lowering blood pressure, but the following nutrients have also been shown to play a role. Focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily (5 to 9 servings per day) as well as the other nutrient-dense foods below.

 Potassium rich foods: potatoes, banana, soybeans, apricots, sweet potato, lentils, spinach, zucchini, almonds, kidney beans, oranges, fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, fish, wheat germ


Photo source


Magnesium rich foods: halibut, almonds, cashews, soybeans, spinach, whole wheat products, shredded wheat cereal, oatmeal, potatoes, peanuts, wheat bran, pumpkin seeds, low-fat yogurt, brown rice, lentils, avocado, kidney beans, wheat germ, banana, sunflower seeds, flaxseed

 Calcium rich foods: fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, collard greens, black strap molasses, calcium-fortified orange juice, turnip greens, tofu, tempeh, kale, soybeans, okra, bok choy, broccoli, tahini, almonds, fortified soy milk, wheat germ

For more information visit the DASH Diet.

DASH Yogurt Parfait

Yield: 1 parfait

Time: 5 minutes


  • ½ cup wheat bran cereal
  • 1 6oz container of vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt [better yet, plain yogurt – lower in sugar]
  • ½ medium banana, sliced
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped dried apricots

 Place ¼ cup cereal in a small bowl; layer 3oz yogurt, ¼ banana, 1/16 cup almonds, ½ Tbsp apricots. Repeat.

 Nutrition Stats: 300 calories, 5gm fat, 0.6gm saturated, 66mg sodium, 47gm carbohydrate, 9.5gm fiber, 27gm sugar, 22gm protein

 Other ways to lower your blood pressure:

  • Exercise at least 30-60 minutes 3-6 days per week
  • Weight loss, if needed
  • Caffeinated beverages can increase blood pressure, consume sparingly
  • Quit smoking
  • Practice stress management
  • Increase fiber intake [fruits, vegetables, whole grains]

8 Responses to “DASH Diet for Lowering Blood Pressure”

  1. Timi Gustafson April 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Dear Brittany,

    Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

    Best regards,


  2. cyanik June 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Great article with very useful information. I’m going to pass this along to both my parents who take blood pressure medication for hypertension. Thanks for the info.

    • Brittany Glassett, RD June 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      Glad to provide it – hope it provides some benefit! It’s amazing what diet can do for preventing/managing/reversing many of the most common chronic diseases/health conditions! Let me know if there is any other information you’re looking for 🙂

  3. wheatandglutenfreedietinfo2011 August 2, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Great article, changing peoples food habits can have a massive benefits for peoples health, especially things like blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

  4. Sandy Hines August 23, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    These are interesting diets that I haven’t come across before, so thank you for sharing them. I intend to save these if it is OK with you, and to share them with some of my friends and colleagues who are on sodium-reduced diets.

  5. Jenna Riley August 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Good post and I guess many people need alternative diet options, if people would stick to real food and exercise we would all be living healthier.

  6. Jillian Mckee May 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm #


    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?



  1. DASH Diet for Lowering Blood Pressure » Lose Weight Central - May 6, 2011

    […] DASH Diet for Lowering Blood Pressure […]

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