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DASH diet

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension means high blood pressure, so the DASH diet uses diet changes to help control blood pressure. The diet emphasizes having lots of vegetables and fruit, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish and poultry, and some nuts and seeds and limits refined sugars, red and processed meat, and high fat and saturated fat.

Does it work?

It has been proven to lower blood pressure within two weeks. It brings even better results if paired with a reduced salt intake. The DASH diet recommends how many servings of each food group to have each day or each week, which varies depending on your required daily calorie intake.

High blood pressure is very common, with almost half of the adults in the US suffering from it. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart problems, kidney problems, and strokes, so keeping it under control is of the utmost importance to prevent these conditions.

The DASH diet can have other benefits, including lowering your risk of certain cancers and developing Type 2 Diabetes.

When should I see my doctor?

You should book a routine visit with your doctor if you are considering commencing the DASH diet.

What will my doctor do?

The doctor will initially discuss your reasons for starting the DASH diet and check if it is right for you. They can answer any questions you may have. They will take initial health checks such as your blood pressure, check your pulse and may offer an up-to-date blood test to look at things like your current cholesterol level and diabetes.

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor's practice will monitor it at regular intervals to see if it is improving and likely encourage you to continue your new healthy eating regimen. If you are overweight, they will encourage weight loss. And if you're on medication and the DASH diet greatly benefits your blood pressure, they may consider reducing the dose or stopping these altogether.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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