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

Alcohol use and high blood pressure

Alcohol increases blood pressure and should be consumed in moderation in the DASH diet plan. The recommendations for alcohol are to limit it to one drink per day for women, and two per day for men.

Smoking and high blood pressure

Smoking raises blood pressure as well as contributing to other chronic diseases. It is difficult to quit smoking, so ask for help if you need it. Options to help you quit range from support groups to medications to hypnosis.

Weight management and high blood pressure

Losing weight is difficult for most people, but it ultimately improves more than your just blood pressure. With weight loss, most cardiovascular (heart) risk factors improve, your risk for cancers, diabetes, dementia, and many other chronic diseases decreases. Social support is very important to be successful in weight loss. Make a commitment with several friends or join a program that helps keep you accountable and provides support. If you are struggling to lose weight despite eating a DASH diet and being physically active, there might be problems with your metabolism or other underlying factors. Discuss the situation with your health-care professional to see if other conditions may be impacting your metabolism.

Where can I find more information about low sodium foods, diet plans, and low sodium shopping lists?

The following resources provide more information about how to lower sodium in your diet, and other healthy food choices that help lower blood pressure.

  • Get the Facts: Sources of Sodium in Your Diet
  • Low Sodium Foods: Shopping List


Appel, L. J., et al. "A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group." N Engl J Med. 1997 Apr 17;336(16):1117-24.

Blumenthal, J. A. et al. "Effects of the DASH diet alone and in combination with exercise and weight loss on blood pressure and cardiovascular biomarkers in men and women with high blood pressure: the ENCORE study." Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jan 25;170(2):126-35.

Cano-Montoya, J. et al. "Interaction between antihypertensive therapy and exercise training therapy requires drug regulation in hypertensive patients." Rev Med Chil. 2016 Feb;144(2):152-61.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/10/2016

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