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The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a dietary pattern promoted by the U.S.-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. It includes meat, fish, poultry, nuts, and beans, and is limited in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, red meat, and added fats. In addition to its effect on blood pressure, it is designed to be a well-balanced approach to eating for the general public. DASH is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a healthy eating plan. The DASH diet is one of three healthy diets recommended in the 2015–2020 US Dietary Guidelines, which also include the Mediterranean diet and a vegetarian diet. The AHA considers the DASH diet "specific and well-documented across age, sex and ethnically diverse groups."The DASH diet is based on NIH studies that examined three dietary plans and their results. None of the plans were vegetarian, but the DASH plan incorporated more fruits and vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy, beans, and nuts than the others studied. The DASH diet reduced systolic blood pressure by 6 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg in patients with high normal blood pressure (formerly called "pre-hypertension"). Those with hypertension dropped by 11 and 6 mm Hg, respectively.
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