A change in overall diet pattern that emphasises fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, and which includes whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts but limits saturated fat, red meat, sweets and sugar-containing beverages.
The dietary changes result in a reduced consumption of sodium and an increased consumption of potassium, calcium and magnesium compared with a typical Australian diet.
There are strong similarities between the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. However, the DASH diet does not emphasise olive oil and fish and does not include wine.
The DASH diet has been rated the best diet for overall health and wellness for the past 5 years in a row.
Reduction of blood pressure. The DASH diet has been shown to reduce BP within 2 to 4 weeks (by 6 mmHg systolic and 3 mmHg diastolic). After this initial reduction the blood pressure is maintained rather than reduced further. Effects are more pronounced in people who are hypertensive rather than normotensive.
The DASH diet may further reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk through reduction in total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDLs) and body mass index (BMI).
Changes achieved with the DASH diet predict a reduction of CVD of approximately 13% using the 10-year Framingham risk score.
The DASH diet consists of foods that are readily available in Australia.
The DASH diet plan includes the following.
The DASH diet plan
Tips and challenges
Referral to a dietitian is recommended for tailored advice and ongoing follow-up. Refer to Dietitians Association of Australia.
NHMRC Level 2 evidence.