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DASH diet: Guide to recommended servings

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jul 1, 2021.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can help you control your blood pressure.

The DASH diet is rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It includes fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans and nuts. It limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats and full-fat dairy products. The DASH diet also limits sodium to between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams a day.

Here are recommended servings from each food group for two calorie levels of the DASH diet, followed by examples of a single serving size.

Recommended number of servings
Food group 1,600-calorie diet 2,000-calorie diet
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Grains (mainly whole grains) 6 a day 6-8 a day
Vegetables 3-4 a day 4-5 a day
Fruits 4 a day 4-5 a day
Low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products 2-3 a day 2-3 a day
Lean meats, poultry and fish 3-4 one-ounce servings or fewer a day 6 one-ounce servings or fewer a day
Nuts, seeds and legumes 3-4 a week 4-5 a week
Fats and oils 2 a day 2-3 a day
Sweets and added sugars 3 or fewer a week 5 or fewer a week

A note about serving sizes

Serving sizes in the DASH diet may not be what you're used to with other eating plans. Examples of single servings for each food group are listed below.

Grains

  • 1 slice whole-wheat bread
  • 1 ounce dry whole-grain cereal
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta (preferably whole grain)

Vegetables

  • 1 cup raw leafy green vegetable
  • 1/2 cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) low-sodium vegetable juice

Fruits

  • 1 medium fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) 100% fruit juice

Fat-free or low-fat dairy products

  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) low-fat or fat-free milk
  • 1 cup low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • 1 1/2 ounces low-fat or fat-free cheese

Lean meats, poultry and fish

  • 1 ounce cooked lean meat, skinless poultry or fish
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites

Nuts, seeds and legumes

  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) nuts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) seeds
  • 1/2 cup cooked legumes (dried beans or peas)

Fats and oils

  • 1 teaspoon soft margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat salad dressing (or 1 tablespoon regular dressing)

Sweets and added sugars

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon jelly or jam
  • 1/2 cup sorbet
  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) sugar-sweetened lemonade

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