Control hypertension with the DASH Diet

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia. 041621. Dan Watson/The Signal
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia. 041621. Dan Watson/The Signal

Patrick Moody

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital

Eating right is an important part of controlling your blood pressure. These tips can help you change your diet for the better.

 If your blood pressure has crept into a dangerous range, you’re going to need to make some changes to bring it under control. Specifically, your doctor may recommend that you try a special eating plan known as DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. In several studies, DASH has shown to be helpful in reducing blood pressure, especially when it’s combined with other lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on salt.

DASH basics

Following the DASH diet means cutting back on saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and choosing more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods.

The amount of food you eat in the DASH diet will depend on how many calories you need. 

For a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, DASH calls for:

Six to eight servings of grains and grain products a day. Examples of a serving include one slice of bread or half a cup of cooked rice or pasta.

Four to five servings of vegetables a day. A serving equals one cup of raw, leafy vegetables, half a cup of cooked vegetables or half a cup of vegetable juice.

Four to five servings of fruits a day. A serving equals one medium fruit, a quarter cup of dried fruit, half a cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruit, or half a cup of fruit juice.

Two to three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods a day. One serving could be a cup of milk, a cup of yogurt or 1.5 ounces of cheese.

Six or fewer 1-ounce servings of cooked lean meats, skinless poultry or fish a day.

Four to five small servings per week of nuts, seeds, dry beans or peas. A serving equals 1.5 ounces of nuts, 2 tablespoons of seeds or half a cup of cooked dry beans or peas.

Only 27% of calories should come from fat, including fat in or added to foods, such as margarine, vegetable oil or mayonnaise.

Sweets — no more than five servings per week — should also be low. in fat. 

Patrick Moody is the director of marketing and public relations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. For more information about local community health programs, visit

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