Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or the DASH diet is a diet promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and BloodInstitute (part of the NIH, an organisation part of the government of the USA) to control hypertension. A major feature of the plan is limiting intake of sodium, and it alsogenerally encourages the consumption of nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables while lowering the consumption of red meats, sweets, and sugar. It is also "richin potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as protein and fiber."
The DASH diet is based on NIH studies that examined three dietary plans and their results. Noneof the plans were vegetarian, but the DASH plan incorporated more fruits and vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, beans, and nuts than the others studied. Not only doesthe plan emphasize good eating habits, but also suggests healthy alternatives to "junk food" and discourages the consumption of processed foods. The NIH has published aguidebook, "Your Guide to Lowering your Blood Pressure With DASH", which details the nutrition facts of popular mainstream food items and their healthy alternatives. Themanual also provides samples of meal plans and proportions along with their associated nutritional information. The last pages of the manual provides a list of resourcesand how to obtain them.
The diet reduced systolic blood pressure by 6 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg in patients with normal blood pressure. Those withhypertension dropped by 11 and 6, respectively. There are several eating plans included in the diet, with the daily caloric intake ranging from 1900 to 2500 dietary calories