What is the DASH diet?
It’s a healthy way of eating with an emphasis on vegetables, fruit, and milk products. According to the DASH diet, we should get 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruit as well as 3 servings of milk products every day.
For an easy way to follow this diet, download our DASH tracker.
What makes it so effective?
Vegetables, fruit and milk products provide calcium, magnesium and potassium, a combination of nutrients that has long been associated with healthy blood pressure.
The original landmark 1997 DASH diet trial (1) showed a diet including: 8-10 servings/day of vegetables and fruit, and 3 servings/day of milk products lowers blood pressure more than both a control diet and a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, but low in milk products.
A 2016 study found that a higher-fat DASH diet (2) replacing low-fat milk products with full-fat milk products (milk, cheese and yogurt) lowers blood pressure as much as the standard DASH diet and doesn’t adversely impact blood cholesterol levels. So in this context, the type of milk, cheese, and yogurt you choose can be a question of personal preference.
What is a DASH serving size?
- 1 cup (250 mL) of milk
- ¾ cup (175 g) of yogurt
- 1½ oz (50 g or roughly half a deck of cards) of cheese
- ½ cup (125 mL) of shredded cheese
Vegetables and fruit:
- 1 medium piece of fruit (an apple, a pear, a banana)
- ¼ cup (60 mL) of dried fruit
- ½ cup (125 mL) of vegetables or fruit
- 1 cup (250 mL) of raw leafy vegetables
Practical tips for following the DASH diet
- Craving an after-dinner snack? Make your own veggie chips. Be sure to try different kinds, like beets, sweet potatoes or kale.
- Eat a variety of colourful foods and fill half your plate with vegetables. Enjoy them in salads, add them to your soups or roast or stir-fry them. There’s definitely something for everyone!
- Liven up your favourite raw veggies with a plain Greek-yogurt dip.
- Make this delicious spiced chia pudding for dessert. It’s sure to be a hit with everyone!
- Opt for a latté in the morning or turn your regular coffee into a latté by simply adding ½ a cup of hot milk.
- Whip up a smoothie with yogurt, fruit and a dash of milk.
Appel LJ et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. N Engl J Med 1997;336:1117-1124.
Chiu S et al. Comparison of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and a higher-fat DASH diet on blood pressure and lipids and lipoproteins: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2016;103:341-347.