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High Blood Pressure: Nutrition Tips - Topic Overview

DASH diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can help you lower your blood pressure. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. For more information on the DASH diet, see:

actionset.gif High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet.
DASH Diet Sample Menu.

Follow these daily recommendations:

The DASH eating plan
FoodRecommended servingsExamples

Low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products

2 to 3 servings a day

A serving is 8 ounces of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces of cheese.

Fruits

4 to 5 servings a day

A serving is 1 medium-sized piece of fruit, 1/2 cup chopped or canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, or 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of fruit juice. Choose fruit more often than fruit juice.

Vegetables

4 to 5 servings a day

A serving is 1 cup of lettuce or raw leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup of chopped or cooked vegetables, or 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of vegetable juice. Choose vegetables more often than vegetable juice.

Grains

6 to 8 servings a day

A serving is 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of dry cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal. Try to choose whole-grain products as much as possible.

Meat, poultry, fish

No more than 2 servings a day

A serving is 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards

Legumes, nuts, seeds

4 to 5 servings a week

A serving is 1/3 cup of nuts, 2 tablespoons of seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked dried beans or peas.

Fats and oils

2 to 3 servings a day

A serving is 1 teaspoon of soft margarine or vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, or 2 tablespoons of salad dressing.

Sweets and added sugars

5 servings a week or less

A serving is 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam, 1/2 cup of sorbet, or 1 cup of lemonade.

Cut down on fats

Eating a diet low in both saturated fat and total fat will help lower your blood pressure.

Although you need some fat in your diet, limit how much saturated fat you eat. These fats are mostly in animal foods, such as meat and dairy foods. Coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter are also saturated fats. Palm and coconut oils are often found in processed foods, including crackers and snack foods.

Follow the recommendations below to include healthy fats in your diet. DASH recommends that a little less than a third of your total calories come from fats. And most of these calories should come from healthy fats such as vegetable oils, nuts, and fish. Very few calories should come from saturated fat, which is found in animal meat, dairy products, and processed foods.

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