|NHLBI Offers Updated Guide with Practical Information for
Lowering High Blood Pressure Through Diet
If you’re one of the 65 million American adults, one in three, with high blood
pressure, you have probably heard the advice, “watch your diet, cut back on salt.” But
how? Figuring out what to eat and how much to eat is not always simple.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has developed “Your Guide
to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH” to provide step-by-step advice on
lowering and controlling high blood pressure by following the DASH eating plan.
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, follows heart-healthy
guidelines to limit salt or sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol,
and focuses on increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat
milk products. It is also rich in whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts.
“NHLBI studies have shown that the DASH eating plan can significantly lower
high blood pressure, even within the first few weeks,” said NHLBI Director Elizabeth
G. Nabel, M.D. “They demonstrate that by making healthy choices in diet and physical
activity, you can get on track to a healthier life.”
The new guide updates previous publications of the DASH Eating Plan with a new
look, and is consistent with the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
It also contains new information on potassium, weight loss, physical activity,
a week’s worth of menus, easy-to-prepare recipes, and a food diary for recording
what you eat and the physical activity you do. In addition, the guide provides
tips for heart-healthy choices at every meal, even when dining out, and for increasing
Sometimes getting started on a heart-healthy eating plan can be the hardest
part. The guide provides practical advice and suggestions for beginning with
small changes such as:
- If you eat only one or two servings of vegetables per day, try adding one
serving at lunch and another at dinner.
- Gradually switch to fat-free or low-fat milk and reduce servings of soda
or other sweetened beverages.
- Choose whole grain foods, such as whole wheat bread or whole grain cereals
to get added nutrients, such as minerals and fiber.
- When shopping, read the Nutrition Facts label on foods to find sodium content,
and choose items lowest in salt or sodium.
- Start with a simple 15-minute walk during your favorite time of day and slowly
- Don’t worry about a slip. Start again, and be sure to celebrate successes.
The DASH guide is available for ordering through the NHLBI Information Center,
(301) 301-592-8573 or 240-629-3255 (TTY) or online at http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/yourguide/.
DASH is used as an example of a healthy eating plan by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines
for Americans, 2005. DASH is also featured in a consumer book, A Healthier You:
Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services.
Information is available on the Web at:
Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure With DASH: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/index.htm
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and A Healthier You: www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines/
Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the
causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung,
and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national
health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children,
and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.