The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is recommended by the American National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

This way of eating can help lower blood pressure.

Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who adopted the DASH diet saw improvement in several health parameters in addition to blood pressure, including blood sugar, weight, waist circumference, blood lipids and a reduction in incident cardiovascular disease.

Basic principles

The DASH diet is similar to the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide.

It recommends a diet high in:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • skim milk products

It emphasizes the consumption of:

  • whole grain products
  • legumes and pulses (beans and lentils)
  • nuts
  • fish
  • poultry

It suggests reduced consumption of:

  • red and processed meat
  • sweets and sugary beverages
  • foods containing trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol

This type of diet results in a menu high in:

  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • dietary fibre
  • protein

Tips for adopting a DASH-style diet

  • Increase your consumption of fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Get in the habit of munching fruit at breakfast and for snacks. Aim for a “balanced plate”: vegetables should make up about half your lunch and supper plate.
  • Several times per week, replace meat-based dishes with meals based on legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), fish or other meat alternatives.
  • Choose whole grain products as often as possible: whole-wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, oats, quinoa, etc.
  • Opt for low-fat milk and yogurt. Milk is a nutritious drink, a healthy alternative to sugary beverages.
  • Eat a variety of unsalted nuts and seeds a few times per week; they go well with yogurt, cereal and salads, and are easy to carry with you for snacks!
  • Get in the habit of reading the Nutrition Facts table on food labels to compare and choose the foods lowest in saturated and trans fats.