DASH är en diet för personer med högt blodtryck

DASH is a diet for people with hypertension

What you eat affects your risk of developing hypertension or hypertension as it is called in medical language. Scientific studies show that blood pressure can be lowered by various dietary recommendations. In general, it can be said that low salt intake is associated with lower blood pressure levels.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is counted as one of the common diseases and in Sweden more than half of all people aged 65 have high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the pressure present in the arteries (blood vessels that bring blood from the heart to the body). The body’s blood pressure is at its highest at the moment when the heart pumps the blood into the body and this is called overpressure (systolic blood pressure). When the heart rests between the pumping, blood pressure drops to a lower level called suppression (diastolic blood pressure).

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, mmHg. Blood pressure varies greatly during the day. It rises at physical activity and subsides at rest. When you enter a blood pressure, you first enter the upper pressure (systolic blood pressure) and then the suppression (diastolic blood pressure). For example, blood pressure 120/80 mmHg means that the excess pressure is 120, and the suppression is 80. This is a normal blood pressure in a state of rest in a middle-aged healthy adult person.

If you have too high blood pressure for a long time then you have hypertension (high blood pressure). There are limits for what is considered hypertension (see below). High blood pressure is dangerous because the heart works against higher resistance, which can eventually damage the heart and the increased blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels throughout the body, especially the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes. High blood pressure usually does not cause any symptoms and once a person suffers from high blood pressure, it usually lasts all his life. Thus, an uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, stroke and blindness.

What is hypertension (hypertension)?

High blood pressure means that blood pressure is higher than normal. One can have high blood pressure if the systolic or diastolic pressure is too high. If one has high blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic are usually elevated. There are different degrees of hypertension (hypertension). Today, the following gradation is used:

  • Normal blood pressure: < 120/ 80 (i. e. excess pressure lower than 120, diastolic pressure is lower than 80)
  • Normal but high: < 130/ 90
  • Mild hypertension: 140—159/90—99 mmHg
  • Moderate hypertension: 160-179/100—109 mmHg.
  • Severe hypertension: > 180/ 110 mmHg
  • Isolated systolic hypertension: > 140/ 90 mmHg (i. e. the systolic pressure is 140 but the diastolic pressure is < 90).

High blood pressure and diabetes mellitus

People with diabetes often have high blood pressure. In type 2 diabetes, blood pressure is often high, which is thought to be explained by being overweight. In type 1 diabetes, blood pressure may also be elevated, especially if you have kidney disease as a result of your diabetes. Thus, for people with diabetes there is often an explanation for the high blood pressure. However, the fact is that in other cases one rarely knows why blood pressure rises. However, we know that there are a number of factors that are strongly associated with hypertension. These factors are as follows:

  • Smoking – Smokers often have high blood pressure
  • Overweight and obesity – today it is considered that overweight and obesity cause high blood pressure
  • Lack of physical activity (exercise)
  • Too much salt in the food
  • Stress
  • High age – blood pressure rises with age and therefore high blood pressure
  • Genetic factors play a role – Having siblings or parents with high blood pressure means having a higher risk.
  • Chronic kidney disease leads to high blood pressure. People with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes may have kidney disease.
  • Disease of the adrenal gland or thyroid gland
  • Sleep apnea

What is essential hypertension?

In the whole 95% of cases with hypertension, one can not clarify why one received hypertension. This type of hypertension is called “essential hypertension”, which is due to the fact that in the past it was believed that high blood pressure was something that the body sought to correct for any disorder in the body (hence the pressure would be “essential”).

High blood pressure can be controlled if you do the following

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be moderately physically active most days of the week.
  • Follow a healthy diet plan, which consists of foods with lower salt levels.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do it in moderation. Read about alcohol and health.
  • If you have high blood pressure and have been prescribed medication (blood pressure medication), take it according to the instructions.

According to the SBU (State Preparation for Medical Evaluation), changing lifestyle is the basis for being able to treat hypertension. Changing lifestyle means increased physical activity, weight loss, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol intake and diet change. It should also be mentioned that today drug treatment of hypertension is very effective and drug treatment should always be considered, especially if other measures are not sufficient.

In addition, there is a diet that is used and developed to treat hypertension. That diet is DASH.

What is DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension)?

Many studies have tried to identify which foods and drinks raise blood pressure. These studies have shown that diet rich in minerals most often has an antihypertensive effect. Minerals in the diet are derived, above all, from fruits and greens, cereals and low-fat dairy products. Diet that was at risk on these foods was therefore called DASH, Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension.

Scientists in the United States conducted two studies that form the basis of the DASH diet, the first study is called DASH, and the second DASH sodium. The DASH study examined whether the diet was as effective at lowering high blood pressure (hypertension) as treatment with blood pressure medications. The results of this study surprised the researchers because the DASH diet proved to be as effective as the most modern antihypertensive drugs.

Today, studies have demonstrated that the DASH diet is associated with a lower risk of developing serious and chronic diseases such as cancer, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones and diabetes.

For whom does the Dash diet fit?

The Dash diet is rich in fruits, green and low-fat dairy products that are shown to lower blood pressure. The diet is suitable for younger people with high blood pressure as the only risk factor and who have not yet started taking medicines for high blood pressure. The diet is designed in such a way that the individual keeps his weight and blood pressure goes down within about 8 weeks (with today’s blood pressure medications it can also take a couple of weeks before blood pressure goes down).

The Dash diet focuses on reducing the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol while increasing the intake of nutrients expected to lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein and fiber.

The second DASH study (DASH sodium) examined how reduced salt intake affected blood pressure, because the first study revealed that our salt consumption was likely to have a negative impact on blood pressure. The study included 412 participants who were randomized to two different diets where only the salt level (sodium) differed. The results showed that reduced salt intake lowered blood pressure, even with ingestion of about 1,500 milligrams per day, a clear decrease in blood pressure was noted. These studies demonstrate the importance of lowering salt intake (sodium), regardless of your diet.

Daily nutrients included in the DASH diet (2.100 calories) 
Total fat27% of caloriesSalt (Sodium)2,300 mg*
Saturated fat6% of caloriesPotassium4,700 mg
Protein18% of caloriesCalcium1,250 mg
Carbohydrates55% of caloriesMagnesium500 mg
Cholesterol150 mgFibers30 g
 1,500 mg sodium is a lower target that was examined in one study and it turned out to be even better for lowering blood pressure. It was especially effective for middle-aged and elderly individuals, and those who already had hypertension.


g = gram; mg = milligram

Should I eat DASH or low-carbohydrate diet (LCHF)?

There are studies that show that a high intake of fat or carbohydrates is associated with slightly higher blood pressure. In a large study, discussed here at (see the PURE study), it was found that those who ate the most fat had about 2 to 3 mmHg higher blood pressure than those who ate the least fat. In fact, it noted the same figures for carbohydrates (more carbohydrates were associated with higher blood pressure).2

In the same study, it was noted that high intake of protein is associated with lower blood pressure. For those who have diabetes, it is important to make a balance. Low-carbohydrate diet can be effective for people with type 2 diabetes, although it means more fat and more protein. As we discussed at, low carbohydrate diet has no significant negative effects on blood pressure but good effects on weight and blood sugar in most studies. Therefore, if you have type 2 diabetes and are considering a diet change, consider a low-carbohydrate diet. However, DASH is appropriate if it is blood pressure (high blood pressure) that is the main problem.

You can not combine DASH with low-carbohydrate diet because DASH allows foods with a lot of carbohydrates.

DASH — This is what you get to eat

The Dash diet recommends high intake of fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products, whole grains, fish, beans, various seeds and nuts. The diet is aimed at reducing the daily intake of salt (sodium), sweets, added sugars, soft drinks, fat and red meat. The Dash diet is considered to be more cardio-healthy than normal diet because several of the recommended nutrients contain low levels of salt (sodium), but high levels of potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein and.

Strive for 1.5 g of salt per day. Scientific studies show that potassium-rich diet can help you reduce high blood pressure. Fish, fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of potassium and bicarbonate have a positive effect on the acid-base metabolism, which in turn has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. Increased potassium intake can help reduce the risk of kidney stones and bone loss.

Various foodNutrient (Minerals, protein, fiber)
Broccoli, carrots, kale, haricots verts, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoesThese nutrients are rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber
Apples, apricot, bananas, dates, grapefruit, grapes, orange, mango, watermelon, prunes, pineapple and strawberriesImportant nutrients containing high levels of potassium magnesium and fiber
Frozen yogurt, low-fat milk, low-fat cheeseContains a lot of calcium and protein
almond nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanut cream, beans and lentilsHigh levels of energy, magnesium protein and fiber
Increase the intake of fruit, both fresh fruit and dried fruit is useful and prevents you from eating other usefulness.
 Various nutrients Salt (sodium) mg
–   Rice and pasta


–   Bread






– Fresh or frozen, cooked without salt






– Fresh or frozen




Almond nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, beans and lentils High levels of energy, magnesium protein and fiber

Use this chart to help you plan your meals or take with you when you go to the store

FoodPortions per dayPortion sizeExample and adviceNutrients
Whole grain66–810–111 slice bread


1 flakes


Boiled rice, pasta, or cereals

Wheat bread, pasta, pita bread, bagel, cereals, oatmeal, brown rice, husked rice, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta and popcornHigh energy levels and fibres
Vegetable3–44–55–61 cup raw leaf vegetable



½ cup raw or cooked vegetables

½ cup vegetable juice

Broccoli, carrots, green beans, green peas, corn, cabbage, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, spinach leaves, peas and berriesPotassium, magnesium and fibres
Fruit44–55–61 fruit


¼ cup dried fruit


½ cup fresh, frozen or conserved fruit

½ cup fruit juice

Apples, apricots, bananas, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mango, melon, peaches, pineapples, raisins, strawberries or tangerinesPotassium, magnesium and fibres
Fatfree or low fat dairy products2–32–331 cup milk or yogurtFat-free or low-fat milk or buttermilk, low-fat cheese, frozen yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheeseCalcium och protein
Meat, chicken and fish3–66 or less61 portion meat, chicken or fish


1 egg

Choose only lean meat, remove visible fat, skinless chicken/turkey, eggs and tofuProtein and magnesium
Nuts, seeds, beans3 per week4–5 per week1⅓ cup nuts or peanutbutter


2 tablespoon or seeds

½ cup beans

Almond nuts, hazelnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, kidney beans, lentilsMagnesium, protein, och fiber
Fat and oils22–331 teaspoon margarine


1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2   teaspoon salad dressing

Soft margarine, vegetable oil (like corn, olive oil), light salad dressing 
Sweets and added sugar05 or less per week<21 teaspoon sugar



Avoid candy, cookies, buns, sugary drinks, and other added sugarsSweets should contain low levels of fat


Use the chart below to estimate your daily calorie needs

 Calorie requirements for each activity level
GenderAge (years)SedentaryQuite activeActive

Tips for those who want to eat DASH

Implement these changes for a few days or weeks to give you a chance to adapt and make them part of your daily routine

  • Eat a portion of vegetables for lunch and dinner as often as possible, add fruit at a meal or as snack.
  • Increase your use of fat-free dairy products to three servings a day.
  • Limit the amount of lean meat
  • Include two or more vegetarian or meat-free meals each week. more servings of vegetables, brown rice, pasta and cooked beans.
  • For snacks and desserts, use fruit or other foods containing low levels of saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, sugar and calories. For example, unsalted nuts, seeds, raisins, frozen yogurt

Recipe for food that is DASH

What you should keep in mind is to avoid salt, sugar and saturated fat such as butter and red meat. Recommended raw materials are wholemeal products, vegetables, seeds, berries, lean meat such as chicken and turkey, beans and peas, fish and more.

Strawberry salad with nuts and meat


250-500g steak Romance salad
½ teaspoon salt2 cup fresh strawberry
¼ teaspoon pepper 1 red onion
2 teaspoon oliveoilMold cheese
2 tablespoon limejuice Walnuts or other nuts of choice

Shrimp with nectarine salad


1/3 cup orange juice500 g shrimps
3 teaspoon cidervinäger¼ teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustardOptional salad
1-1/2 teaspoon honey3-4 nectarines
1 teaspoon dragonörtTomatoes, corn and red onion

Thai Chicken Pasta


Whole grain spaghetti500 g fried chicken
2 teaspoon oliveoil1 cup Thai peanut sauce
Salad peasCucumber
1 teaspoon dragonörtNuts

Tomato and Bean Soup


1 cup sliced onion1 garlic
1 cup sliced carrot3 cup fresh tomatoes
2 teaspoon butter¼ cup basil
Unsalted chicken½ teaspoon salt
Green peas1/4 teaspoon pepper
5/5 (3 Reviews)