The DASH Diet

  • Medical Author:
    Erica Oberg, ND, MPH

    Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View the High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideHigh Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Warning Signs, Risks, Medications

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Warning Signs, Risks, Medications

What foods are allowed in the DASH diet eating plan?

People often ask what foods are on the DASH diet eating plan. The good news is that it includes a wide variety of foods, and many options. The DASH diet is simple. Eat more fruit, and especially vegetables, and eat fewer foods high in salt (sodium). For example:

  • Eat a salad with protein for lunch instead of a burger and fries.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products such as Greek yogurt instead of fruity, sweetened yogurt.
  • Choose snacks such as fruit, raw veggie sticks, bean-based spreads like hummus or black bean dip, and raw unsalted nuts.

Whole grains are encouraged, such as brown rice or quinoa along with lean proteins such as chicken, lean pork, and fish.

What foods and drinks should be avoided while following a DASH diet?

Foods and drinks to avoid when following the DASH diet include high sugar, high fat snacks, and foods high in salt such as:

  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Chips
  • Salted nuts
  • Sodas
  • Sugary beverages
  • Pastries
  • Snacks
  • Meat dishes
  • Prepackaged pasta and rice dishes (excluding macaroni and cheese because it is a separate category)
  • Pizza
  • Soups
  • Salad dressings
  • Cheese
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Breads and rolls
  • Sandwiches
  • Sauces and gravies
  • Soups

Using a salt substitute made with potassium not only works as a substitute in cooking and on the table, but the additional potassium can help lower blood pressure. People who are on blood pressure medications that increase potassium should ask their doctors to help them monitor the blood level of potassium (K) while they are making changes.

What about red meat and heart disease?

While not specifically recommended, grass-fed beef and buffalo would fit within these parameters. Grass-fed beef has a very different composition than conventional grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is high in omega-3s and is more similar to fish, nutritionally. Grain-fed red meat is high in omega 6s and saturated fat, both of which are promote inflammation and contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Red meat that is not grass-fed is not allowed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/10/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Heart Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors