It stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Apart from the use of medication, it's one of the most effective ways to keep blood pressure in a healthful range. The diet includes:
• Eight to 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables
• Six to eight daily servings of whole grains
• Two to three daily servings of low-fat dairy foods
• Six or less servings of meat, poultry, and fish
People who follow the diet are often able to lower systolic pressure (the first reading in your blood pressure measurement) by more than 11 points and diastolic pressure (the second reading) by more than 5 points. Those are about the same improvements that some people get from taking medications.
"The DASH diet is a little difficult for people to follow, but it's ideal for the patient who is motivated to stick with it," says Dr. Weitz.