Lower your blood pressure with the DASH diet

Here's what you need to know about the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet

The first line of treatment for hypertension (high blood pressure) is lifestyle intervention. Although further drug treatment can be built upon the dietary and lifestyle modifications, the DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has been proven to create similar reductions in blood pressure to those achieved by medications.

The DASH diet is a diet that effectively lowers blood pressure when combined with dietary sodium restriction. It was voted the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 top overall diet by U.S. News & World Report Best Diets, described by the panel as an ‘all-star’ diet for its “nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity, and role in supporting heart health. Though obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets”.

“This creates a diet that is not only lower in saturated fat and sodium, but also higher in fibre, antioxidants, and key vitamins and minerals.”

 

As reinforced by the New England Journal of Medicine, in order to reduce blood pressure, an individual is required to follow a high quality diet rich in potassium rather than a sodium reduced diet (of less than 1500 mg daily) alone. As such, the DASH diet includes an adequate consumption of colourful fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and nuts, moderate amounts of reduced fat dairy, and lesser amounts of energy-dense nutrient-poor treat foods and animal proteins (especially red and processed meats).

This creates a diet that is not only lower in saturated fat and sodium, but also higher in fibre, antioxidants, and key vitamins and minerals (such as the blood pressure lowering potassium, calcium and magnesium). The DASH diet contains all the delicious foods found in the Mediterranean diet, another highly regarded style of eating to improve cardiovascular risk markers.

The DASH diet is a healthy eating model for the whole family and is also a sustainable, safe and effective way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. For the best results, incorporate additional lifestyle changes such as choosing water as the main drink and moderating alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and being involved in regular physical activity.

DASH diet plan sample

Here’s an example of what a day following the DASH principles could look like:

Breakfast: Porridge made from rolled oats and reduced fat milk. Top it with fruit, some nuts and seeds.

Morning tea: Vegetable sticks (carrot, celery, capsicum) with hummus or guacamole.

Lunch: Crispy and colourful garden salad with grilled chicken and avocado, topped with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Afternoon tea: Greek yoghurt topped with berries, or a small handful (30 g) of mixed, unsalted nuts.

Dinner: Grilled salmon topped with diced tomato and avocado, and served with one baked potato (sprinkled with cheese) and steamed veggies.

Recommended reading - Warm up recipe book

Recipes

Chai spiced almond milk recipe

A soothing wintry beverage, with just the right blend of spices

Read more
Recipes

Baked Pumpkin, Chickpea and Brown Rice Salad with Crispy Pumpkin Seeds recipe

A comforting winter salad, with an invigorating blend of textures and flavours

Read more
Recipes

Pink snapper and potato cakes with salsa verde recipe

Deliciously light and full of succulent flavour – this is not your average fish and chip shop feast

Read more
Recipes

Coconut roasted pumpkin and apple soup recipe

A hearty, belly-warming soup to rejuvenate and nourish

Read more
Recipes

Quinoa, berry and yoghurt porridge recipe

Blend up a revitalising morning feast – this porridge is bursting with flavour and goodness

Read more
Recipes

Stuffed breakfast mushrooms recipe

Start your day out right with this filling, flavoursome breakfast

Read more
Recipes

Pear crumble tea cake recipe

The classic tea cake gets a fresh makeover from Thoroughly Nourished Life

Read more
Recipes

Pecan, buckwheat, coconut and date granola recipe

Superfoods ahoy! This refreshing, crunchy blend is one sure way to get your morning fired up

Read more
Recipes

Vegetarian laksa recipe

Fill up on colourful winter veggies in a light, creamy laksa

Read more
Recipes

Porcini mushroom and kale buckwheat risotto recipe

A creamy, comforting risotto, full of the flavoursome goodness of mushrooms

Read more
Recipes

Warm coconut and caramel pudding recipe

A soft, wholesome pudding overflowing with natural caramel – now that's our kind of dessert

Read more
Recipes

Chipotle sweet potato soup with black bean salsa

This spicy, fragrant sweet potato soup will banish any thought of the winter chills

Read more
Recipes

Minty lemon and banana hot cakes recipe

What Sunday mornings were made for – luscious, wholesome pancakes, with the perfect amount of zest

Read more
Recipes

Ultimate roasted vegetables recipe

Roast those root veggies with the perfect infusion of herbs and spices

Read more
Recipes

Peach cobbler recipe

Savour the sweetness of this scrumptious, fruity treat

Read more
Recipes

Goji and coconut bliss balls recipe

Bliss out on the super-goodness of these delectable treats

Read more
Recipes

Mushrooms and feta on toast recipe

Wake up to the succulent flavours of crumbly feta, fresh greens, and sautéed mushrooms

Read more
Recipes

Aromatic and spicy Indian lamb curry recipe

Fragrant spices, succulent lamb, and slow cooking at its most nourishing

Read more
Recipes

Quinoa chocolate cake recipe

Soft and succulent, this cake is a decadent delight. Trust us, nobody will guess it's quinoa

Read more
Recipes

Apple and oat pancakes recipe

Warm, oaty pancakes served with rich stewed apples – the perfect way to brighten up your weekend

Read more
Recipes

Shakshuka baked eggs recipe

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, this invigorating, spice-infused dish is a warming feast

Read more
Recipes

Ginger coconut black rice pudding with roasted rhubarb recipe

A vibrant, fruity dessert with a twist of Indonesian flavour

Read more
Recipes

Curried cauliflower soup with toasted chickpeas recipe

The nutty goodness of chickpeas takes this creamy soup to delicious new levels

Read more
Recipes

Winter turmeric elixir recipe

Feel strong and vibrant this winter with a powerful, gingery mix

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.