DASH high blood pressure

The DASH approach to eating is an effective way to lower your blood pressure and increase your overall health and well-being.

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH study has shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy products could substantially lower blood pressure which could reduce heart disease by 15% and strokes by 27%. The DASH diet works as well for women as men and blood pressure began to drop within 2 weeks on the diet!

There are 3 key nutrients that you can get from the foods you eat and these nutrients could lower your blood pressure by an average of 6 mmHg systolic and 3 mmHg diastolic pressure. For example, your blood pressure could drop from 160/95 to 154/92.

The 3 key nutrients you need from your diet are magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Magnesium-rich foods (aim for 500 mg per day
The target amount used in the study is 500 mg magnesium.
flax seeds, ¼ lb or 4 oz 500 mg
Branbuds cereal, 1 cup 270 mg
dried, blanched almonds, slivered, 1/3 cup 150 mg
avocado, medium 100 mg
wheat germ, ¼ cup 90 mg
canned split-pea soup, 1 cup 50 mg
spinach, cooked, ½ cup 80 mg
mixed, dry-roasted nuts, ¼ cup 80 mg
artichoke, boiled, 1 medium 70 mg
canned navy beans, ½ cup 60 mg
potato, 1 medium, baked 60 mg
molasses, 2 tbsp 60 mg
apricots, dried then cooked, 1 cup 60 mg


Potassium-rich foods (aim for 4,700 mg per day)
The target amount of potassium used in the study is 4,700 mg potassium. Tip:high-potassium foods tend to be orange in color.
apricots, dried, 1 cup 2,200 mg
sultana raisins, 1 cup 1,280 mg
papaya, 1 raw 800 mg
potato, 1 medium, baked 640 mg
mackerel, cooked, 3 oz 550 mg
melon (cantaloupe), 1 cup 480 mg
broccoli, cooked, 1 cup 450 mg
molasses, 2 tbsp 440 mg
spinach, cooked, ½ cup 420 mg
orange juice, 1 cup 400 mg
chicken roasted, 3 oz 200 mg
salmon, cooked 3 oz 350 mg
mango, 1 medium 320 mg


The target amount of calcium used in the study is 1,240 mg. Remember it must be low fat (1% milk fat (M.F.) or less).
One theory is that eating plenty of high calcium foods may help to lower blood pressure by increasing the calcium in the cells of smooth muscles like blood vessels. That causes the smooth muscle to relax which means the blood vessels are more elastic or flexible so blood pressure drops.

Putting it all together

The DASH way of eating is healthy because it gets you to eat more fruits and vegetables. You can easily follow the DASH diet by using national food guides.

Recommended daily servings

  • 7 to 7½ breads and cereals
  • 8½ to 9½ fruits and vegetables
  • 3 low fat dairy products
  • 1½ meat/alternates
  • 1 serving nuts

Don't remain unaware and silent about high blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked regularly by either your family doctor or at local blood pressure clinics. Learn your blood pressure number. Finally, practice the 5 healthy lifestyle recommendations:

  • eat less salt
  • lose weight if you're heavy
  • drink less alcohol
  • exercise and follow the DASH diet - one that has plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.

The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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