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Evangelical Homes of Michigan Senior & Assisted Living in Michigan | Saline, Detroit, Sterling Heights and Ann Arbor

Eat Right, Live Well
Eat Right, Live Well

Eat Right, Live Well

DASH: Good for Mind and Body

Eating well can certainly improve our physical health, but what if it could improve our mental well-being as well?  The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan has been tested, successfully by researchers since the last 1990s, as a way to lower blood pressure.  A recent study suggests that people who follow DASH may also have a lower risk for depression.  DASH emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy and is low in meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, and saturated fat.  This makes is an overall healthful way of eating for people with and without high blood pressure.  Here are a few key parts of the DASH eating plan.

Increase your fruits and vegetables: Nicole, our Registered Dietitian, recommends when following the DASH diet, you are urged to eat 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This is double of what most Americans consume in one day! A good way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption is making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, adding a salad to at least one meal a day, and incorporating fresh fruit into breakfast cereals or breakfast smoothies.   By choosing more fruits and vegetables, you will unintentionally be decreasing your consumption of sodium and meat proteins, which is an important aspect of the DASH diet.

Don’t skip the dairy: If you haven’t been getting your 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy, it may be time to reconnect with this food group.  Calcium is another nutrient thought to help with DASH’s beneficial effect on blood pressure.  If cow’s milk products are not for you, look for replacements that offer similar amounts of calcium, protein, and vitamin D.

Nuts and Seeds: In addition to protein, fiber, and magnesium, nuts provide an antioxidant that may work to lower high blood pressure.  Aim for 4-5 servings per week to take advantage of this benefit!

Want to learn more about the DASH eating plan?  Visit the NIH for more information.



1. Diet Shown to Reduce Stroke Risk May Also Reduce Risk of Depression.

2. DASH ranked Best Diet Overall for eighth year in a row by U.S. News and World Report.

3. Lin PH, Allen JD, Li YJ, Yu M, Lien LF, Svetkey LP. Blood Pressure-Lowering Mechanisms of the DASH Dietary Pattern. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:472396.