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The DASH Diet. By Our Student Pharmacist, Sam Berens.

We are now about two weeks into the new year and many of us are looking for a good New Year’s resolution to start the year off right.  After this crazy year, I think a lot of adults are looking to get back to a healthier lifestyle.  With around half of the adult population struggling with hypertension, this blog post could apply to a large portion of the community.

This post is designed to help provide tips for health benefits to your heart and overall wellbeing, while also giving you the opportunity to lose some weight.

It has been proven through research that by following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, high blood pressure can be prevented and lowered, which has numerous health benefits.  This eating plan considers your age, gender, and activity levels to give you a daily calorie goal.  The DASH diet does not require any special foods or hard-to-follow recipes, which makes it easy to follow.

To find out the calories you should have each day, we need to determine your activity level.

Identify your physical activity level:

  • Sedentary – typically light physical activity that is a part of your day-to-day routine
  • Moderately active – physical activity equal to walking about 1 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 mph, plus light physical activity
  • Active – physical activity equal to walking more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 mph, plus light physical activity


The calorie level that you fall into will help tell you how many servings of each food group to eat each day.  Choose the calorie goal that most closely matches your recommended daily calories on the DASH eating plan included here to see what is recommended that you eat each day.

One of the most important criteria for the DASH diet is limiting the daily sodium intake to 2,300 (about 1 teaspoon), which can be difficult due to all the processed foods that we are regularly provided.  To help reach this, aim for foods that contain 5% or less of the recommended daily value of sodium and try to avoid canned and frozen foods, which contain higher amounts of sodium.


It can be difficult to change up your entire diet, so here are a few recommended suggestions to help you start the DASH diet:

  • Begin adding a serving of vegetables at lunch or dinner one day and add in fruit as a snack or during a meal.
  • Start buying only fat-free or low-fat milk products.
  • Include at least two vegetarian meals each week.
  • Limit lean meats to 6 ounces a day.
  • Begin increasing daily servings of vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and cooked dry beans.
  • Eat fruits or foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar and calories for snacks and desserts.
  • Use fresh, frozen or low sodium canned vegetables and fruits.

The DASH diet can help you prevent and control high blood pressure and help you lose weight. Start today and live a healthier life!

Reference: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/dash_brief.pdf


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