Food and Nutrition
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)
 

​Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for lowering the level of blood pressure; your food affects the possibility of suffering high blood pressure (hypertension). And since following a healthy and balanced diet curbs the risk of low or high blood pressure, it is highly recommended to adopt a heart-friendly diet. Such a diet helps control blood pressure, mitigate the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other health complications. The blood pressure can be lowered by eating low-fat, low-cholesterol foods, skimmed or low-fat dairy products, and eating more vegetables and fruits. ‘DASH’ stands for: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

A good diet involves:

​Less
​More
  • Saturated and trans fat
  • Sodium
  • Red meat
  • Sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy productsSkinless poultry and fish
  • Nuts and legumes
  • Plant oils


Read the nutritional information label before buying a food product 
Read the nutritional information label, to avoid the foods with saturated or trans fat that may increase the level of blood cholesterol. Pick the foods with a lower level of sodium (salt); the more the salt in food is, the higher the level of blood pressure gets.

DASH diet: 
The DASH diet is recommended for those willing to avoid or treat hypertension, and reduce the risk of heart diseases. This diet was put forward by the researchers who found out that hypertension was less common in vegetarians.

DASH diet involves the following:
  • Eating foods with low saturated fat and cholesterol levels, and low-fat dairy products, as well as more fruits and vegetables;
  • Eating whole-grain foods, as well as fish, chicken nuts, and limiting the consumption of red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages; High intake of potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein and fiber;
  • Low intake of sodium (by limiting the consumption of salt); low-sodium foods help lower the blood pressure.
General DASH diet tips
  • Add an extra serving of vegetables or fruits at lunch and at dinner.
  • If you have a problem digesting dairy products, you may need to consider choosing lactose-free milk or leben, and then adding lactase enzyme.
  • Eat the foods rich in vitamin B (e.g. whole grains).
  • Add two servings of fruit or vegetables to each of your meals, or as a snack.
  • Make sure you have two or more meat meals per week.
  • Use fruit and low-fat foods as sweets and snacks.
Consume less salt/ sodium
Most people consume more salt (and, hence, sodium) than their bodies need. Too much salt affects the health of some, especially older persons. It is important, as such, to be cautious as to the amount of salt consumed. Therefore, choosing low-salt food products is a substantial part of any healthy diet. The daily intake of sodium should not exceed 2.4g (2400mg), which is equivalent to 6g (around a small spoon) of salt. 
For those suffering hypertension, the doctor may prescribe limiting the intake of salt to less than 6g a day. This includes all the salt consumed (whether in cooked food or at the table).

To reduce salt/ sodium intake:
  • Pick the fresh, frozen or packed vegetables without salt;
  • Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meats instead of cured/processed food;
  • Use herbs, spices and salt-free flavors in cooking, and ag the table;
  • Try cooking and eating rice and pasta without salt;
  • Limit the consumption of instant, flavored or salted rice or pasta;
  • Limit the consumption of commercially prepared/ packed food (e.g. pizza, packed soups and fast food);
  • Soak/ rinse salt-cured foods (e.g. dried fish) to remove some of the salt;
  • Replace salt with spices, to make the food edible;
  • Take note of nutrition information on packaged food to avoid salty foods.

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