Introducing the DASH Diet for high blood pressure


  4 Minutes

The DASH Diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It was developed by a team of specialists and was funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It is the first diet of its kind proven to lower blood pressure. It is also shown to reduce other heart-related risk factors such as blood glucose, high cholesterol and central obesity, and combat gout.

It is one of the most recommended eating plans to help control blood pressure and is still prescribed by doctors as a therapeutic intervention for hypertension and menopausal hypertension. It is said that in many cases, high blood pressure cannot be cured because it is a chronic disease underscoring the importance of lifestyle changes such as correct eating plans, dietary habits and leading healthy lifestyles in general.

Did you know?

  • High blood is also known as hypertension.
  • It affects one in three adults and causes half of the strokes and two out of five of all heart attacks in South Africa.
  • Hypertension may also negatively impact kidney health contributing to chronic kidney disease, cholesterol, diabetes and possibly damage the retinas.
  • High blood pressure costs the South African government just over R10 billion per year.
  • The DASH Diet combined with the Living Naturally lifestyle might just hold the answer to sustainable and long term results.
  • Living Naturally has taken the guesswork out of heart health for you with these selected products. Learn more.

The DASH Diet in a nutshell

The recommended DASH Diet foods

The recommended DASH Diet foods include:

Shopping List Items Servings


A selection of what is in season.

These are high in antioxidants.

Avoid canned fruit that is preserved in sugar.

X5 servings per day.


A selection of what is in season for extra nutrients – careful to avoid starchy vegetables.

X5 servings per day.


Black beans, broad beans, butterbeans, cannellini beans, kidney beans, red beans, and white beans.

Tinned beans are allowed and need to be low in brine, salt and sugar.

Chickpeas, green beans and lentils may be used instead.

X5 servings a week.


Barley, brown rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa, rolled oats, popcorn, wholewheat flour, wholegrain breakfast cereals and wholewheat pasta.

Sourdough bread is encouraged and to be enjoyed with olive oil and not butter, butter spreads or margarine.

X8 servings a day.


Oily fish that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids including salmon and sardines.

X2 servings a week.


Chicken and turkey (not deep-fried).

X2 servings a week.

Red meat:

For non-vegetarians opt for lean cuts of red meat including beef, pork, lamb, and low salt products made from these meats.

X4 servings per week.

Raw and unsalted nuts:

A variety of nuts such as chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts.

Almonds and cashews are seeds while peanuts are legumes. Living Naturally recommends almonds.

X5 servings per week.

(a handful).


What foods to eat less of on the DASH Diet:

Limit foods that are rich in saturated and trans-fatty acids. These foods are mostly filled with fats that turn solid at room temperature and that smoke or sizzle when you fry food in them.

Butter, ghee, margarine, palm oil:

Note: Coconut butter and coconut oil is naturally free from trans-fatty acids and can be more easily digested by your liver although it turns solid at room temperature.

Less than x1 tablespoon per day.


Water is the preferred drink.

Opt for drinks with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

X2 litres of good quality filtered water consistently through the day.

Crisps, candies, pastries, sweets:

All baked and deep-fried floury goods made with refined white flour, sugar, saturated fats and salt, including things like cookies, potato chips, sugary candies, dairy ice-cream, donuts, cakes, and roasted and salted nuts.


X5 small serving maximum per week.


Low-fat milk and dairy products.

X3 serving per day.
Fried foods: Steam, grill, roast or air-fry instead.


Opt for low-sodium salt and limit salt intake.

Living Naturally recommends A.Vogel Herbamare and A.Vogel Trocomare. These are naturally lower in sodium content and full of flavour as they contain fresh organic herbs and vegetables too, a must-have for anyone needing to reduce sodium levels.

1,500 mg = Half a teaspoon per day.

The total daily calorie count should equate to roughly 2,000 calories per day on the DASH Diet.

This diet should be combined with moderate daily exercise of 30 minutes per day such as walking, swimming, running and stretching. Remember that the body needs between six to eight hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep consistently every night. This is when it does most of its repair work to stay healthy. Your heart is no exception.

Top tip: Learn more about how to keep your heart even healthier in this article.

Living Naturally has a dedicated helpline to see you through every season of your life. Feel free to get in touch on:
Tel: +27(0)31-783-8000
09:00 to 16:00 – Mondays to Fridays.

Yours in good health,
The Living Naturally Team