High Blood Pressure

Frequently Asked Questions

19. What is the DASH Eating Plan?

"DASH" stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." This is the name of a clinical study that tested the effects of nutrients in food on blood pressure. Study results indicated that you can reduce high blood pressure by following an eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, and that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, total fat, and added sugars.

The DASH eating plan also includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and has reduced amounts of red meats, sweets, added sugars, and beverages containing sugars.

A second study, called "DASH-Sodium," showed that eating less salt also lowered blood pressure in people following either the DASH eating plan or the typical American diet. But those following DASH, especially those with high blood pressure, benefited the most. For more information on using the DASH eating plan, see "Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH," at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/index.htm.