How Does a Dash Diet Help People With High Blood Pressure?

It is common for people that live in the western world to have high blood pressure. The reason for this is the high amount of salt that is contained in fast food. Many types of meats that are sold in superstores can also contain a lot of salt. It is estimated that nearly half of the population in the United States of America have high blood pressure. 

Doctors and nutritionists recommend that if you have high blood pressure, you should consider a DASH. A DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is designed to help those that have high blood pressure. There have been many studies that have shown DASH diets can lower blood pressure within two weeks. This article will discuss everything you need to know about a DASH diet. Including the foods that you can eat to help lower blood pressure. 

A DASH Diet and Comparison To The Traditional Western Diet

The usual western diet will contain roughly 3,400 milligrams of sodium or more a day. This is a lot more compared to those that have a DASH diet. There are many negatives when it comes to the traditional western diet. Yes, there are some positives such as low cost, but in terms of health, it can harm your body.

The typical western diet will generally lack both fruit and vegetables. With the average person consuming a lot of processed, refined and unnatural foods. It can lead to weight problems such as obesity. An unhealthy western diet will change the gut in your bacteria over time. For example, consuming a lot of processed foods will lead to your good bacteria decreasing. Meaning there is going to be more bad bacteria than your body needs. 

As mentioned before, the western diet can lead to obesity. A study in 2014 showed that around 600 million adults were obese globally with, two billion adults being overweight according to WHO (World Health Organisation). Obesity can lead to many health issues such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and problems with joints. Those that are obese with most of their lives will require hip ad knee replacements at a much younger age than usual. Type two diabetes is another health issue that is on the rise in the western parts of the world. 

A DASH diet contains foods that are rich in nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It will also cut out many foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars. It is recommended that the average person in the western world should have at least 2,300 mg per day. If you do not know how much that is, get a teaspoon of table salt. That will be roughly the same amount. A dash diet will have more fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Other foods that are in a DASH diet will be fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as fish, poultry, beans and nuts. 

Recommended servings for a DASH Diet

The number of servings all depends on how many calories someone consumes. Here is a 2,000 calorie diet and the recommended servings that you should have for a DASH diet. For grains, you should have roughly six to eight servings a day. A serving will be a slice of bread or even an ounce of dry cereal. It could also be half a cup of cooked pasta or rice. For your vegetables, you should be aiming for around four to five servings a day, for example, one cup of leafy green vegetables or half a cup of cooked vegetables. 

For fruits, you will need to aim for roughly four to five servings a day. A serving would be half a cup of fresh, frozen and canned fruit. Half a cup of fruit juice is also considered a serving. For fat-free or low-fat dairy products, this will come to two to three servings a day. A cup of milk or yoghurt is one serving or one and a half ounces of cheese.

You will need to consider four to five servings a day for your nuts, seeds and legumes. A third of a cup with nuts, two tablespoons of peanut butter, two tablespoons of seeds or half a cup of cooked legumes are all considered as one portion. For your next food group, it is suggested that you should have two to three servings a day for fats and oils. It could be a teaspoon of margarine, one tablespoon of mayonnaise or two tablespoons of salad dressing. Finally, five servings or fewer a week for sweets and added sugars. One serving is a tablespoon of sugar or a cup of lemonade. SO it is time to cut out those sugar cravings

The recommended calorie intake for a man should be around 2,500 calories. Depending on how active they are and how physically demanding their job is. For a woman, it is recommended that they should have around 2,000 calories. Again, it all depends on how active you are and how much physical activity you do at work.

Other Ways To Reduce Sodium

The foods that you will be consuming will be low in sodium when you are on a DASH diet. There are many other ways that you can reduce your sodium intake. Try to use sodium-free spices and flavourings instead of using salt. As you may see on the television, many chefs will pour salt into the pan when cooking rice or pasta. There are many herbs and spices that you can use instead when you are cooking. Use pepper instead for seasoning your scrambled eggs, meats and other foods that you will often use salt. 

When shopping for meats, buy frozen skinless poultry, fish and lean cuts of meat. Meat that comes from a pig will be high in salt. Go for alternatives that are lower in salt like reduced-salt unsmoked back bacon. Last but not least, make sure you read the labels of the foods that you are buying from the store. Another thing to look out for is the ingredients that are contained in pasta salt. More often than not, those sauces will be high in salt. Either make your sauce using ripe tomatoes and garlic cloves or double-check the ingredients of these sauces. 

Other Diets That Are Low In Sodium

Plant-based diets are the easy go-to diet when it comes to reducing your calorie intake. However, it is far from perfect as there are many processed foods out there that contain salt. When somebody is either vegetarian or vegan, they must pay attention to all of the micronutrients. 

There will be many nutrients that a vegetarian will need such as vitamin B and vitamin D. Luckily enough, our bodies produce vitamin D when your skin is in contact with the sun for at least 15 minutes. During the winter months, there will be very little sunlight. So, a vegetarian/ vegan will need to take a vitamin D3 supplement to get their daily amount. Although, before taking any supplements, you should check with your doctor first. Just in case it is something that you do not require.       

What About Eating Out? 

It can be hard to stay healthy when it comes to eating out. However, if you only eat once every so often, the odd cheat meal will not harm your body. Nonetheless, if you are looking to stick with cutting out salt when eating out, there are a few things that you can look out for. 

If you are going to an Italian restaurant and considering getting a pizza. Choose a pizza that does not have pepperoni, bacon or extra cheese. There are many tasty pizzas out there. Try your best to stay away from the ingredients that contain salt. You can either go with a vegetable pizza or chicken toppings to make sure that you reduce your salt intake. Again, with pasta dishes, you will want to choose tomato sauces with vegetables or chicken. Avoid that bacon! 

Going out for a burger? Burgers are highly likely to contain plenty of salt. Again, avoid any burgers that include bacon, cheese or barbecue. We understand that this will be difficult when it comes to eating a burger. If you are going to a Chinese or Indian restaurant, avoid eating pilau or egg fried rice. Just go with your traditional plain, boiled rice. 

Other foods that you might be eating out with are salads, breakfasts, and sandwiches. When it comes to a sandwich, you will want to avoid the ones with cheese or ham. Keep it simple with white meat such as chicken. You can even have an egg sandwich instead. Consider sandwiches that don’t have any sauces synch as mustard and have a reduced-fat mayonnaise sauce. Remember to ask the people that serve your sandwiches. Finally, when buying a salad, ask for salad dressing and other sauces to be put on the side of your dish. That way, you can dip your salad whenever you want. 


Many foods contain a lot of salt. The main ones that you want to avoid are those that are processed meats. Avoid fast foods as well because they will also be full of salt. Your best bet will be limiting yourself to one cheat meal a week if you wish to reduce your salt intake. Remember to drink plenty of water as well.