DASH Eating Plan

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chicken and vegetables

A number of major research studies have shown that following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Plan can lower blood pressure.

This plan emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy, seafood, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It contains less salt and sodium, sweets, added sugars, fats, and red meats than the typical American eats.

DASH recommendations are spread over eight food groups. If you need to, refer to How many calories do you need? Then see the appropriate column below for the amounts you should eat each day, unless given as weekly amounts:

DASH Plan Recommendations for Several Daily Calorie Count Examples
  1,600 calories 2,000 calories 2,600 calories
Grains 6 servings 6-8 servings 10-11 servings
Fruits 4 servings 4-5 servings 5-6 servings
Vegetables 3-4 servings 4-5 servings 5-6 servings
Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products 2-3 servings 2-3 servings 3 servings
Lean meat, poultry, and fish 3-4 ounces or less 6 ounces or less 6 ounces or less
Nuts, seeds, and legumes 3-4 servings per week 4-5 servings per week 1 serving per day
Fats and oils 2 servings 2-3 servings 3 servings
Sweets and added sugars 3 servings or less per week 5 servings or less per week less than 2 servings per day

DASH is organized by servings for most food groups. A DASH serving equals:

  • Grains—one ounce or equivalent
  • Fruits—half cup cut-up fruit or equivalent
  • Vegetables—half cup cooked vegetables or equivalent
  • Meats, poultry, and fish—one ounce cooked meats, poultry, or fish or one egg
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes—foods like two tablespoons peanut butter, third cup or 1-1/2 ounces of nuts, half cup cooked beans, or one cup bean soup
  • Fats and oils—one teaspoon soft margarine or vegetable oil, one tablespoon mayonnaise, and one tablespoon regular salad dressing or two tablespoons low-fat dressing
  • Sugars—one tablespoon jam or jelly, half cup regular jello, or one cup regular lemonade

What's On Your Plate? is based on the nutrition recommendations for older adults in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).