Reducing sodium leads to substantial drop in blood pressure, finds NHLBI study


Healthy lower-sodium eating based on the DASH diet isnt just about restrictions, according to Dr. Obarzanek. To follow this plan, people should eat 8 to 10 servings a day of fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried or unsalted canned), 7 to 8 servings of grains and grain products, and 2 to 3 daily servings of lowfat or fat-free dairy foods. The DASH diet also calls for 2 or less daily servings of meats, poultry and fish and 4 to 5 servings a week of nuts, seeds, and dry beans.

Just as with sodium reduction, making small changes is the easiest way to begin following the DASH diet. Start out by trying to have two servings of fruits and/or vegetables at each meal and as snacks. Use fruits as dessert. To increase dairy foods, try to have one low-fat or fat-free dairy serving at each meal. Treat meat as part of the whole meal, not the focus, and instead emphasize vegetables, whole grains, and dry beans.


Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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