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Starting the DASH Diet

The DASH diet calls for a certain number of servings daily from various food groups. The number of servings you require may vary, depending on how many calories you need per day.

You can make gradual changes. For instance, start by limiting yourself to 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon). Then, once your body has adjusted to the diet, cut back to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day (about 2/3 teaspoon). These amounts include all sodium eaten, including sodium in food products as well as in what you cook with or add at the table.

Dash Diet Tips

Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and at dinner.
Add a serving of fruit to your meals or as a snack. Canned and dried fruits are easy to use, but check that they don’t have added sugar.
Use only half your typical serving of butter, margarine, or salad dressing, and use low-fat or fat-free condiments.
Drink low-fat or skim dairy products any time you would normally use full-fat or cream.
Limit meat to 6 ounces a day. Make some meals vegetarian.