under control. DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, could lower your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks. Over time, your blood pressure could drop by eight to 14 points.

The DASH diet offers other health benefits, too, such as protection against osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The DASH diet is especially effective in reducing blood pressure in blacks and older adults. If adopted early and combined with other lifestyle changes such as exercising more and quitting smoking, the DASH diet can prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).

The DASH diet: What to eat
The key to the DASH diet is variety, including lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. It also includes some fish, poultry and legumes. You can eat red meat, sweets and fats in smaller amounts. This variety means the DASH diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, total fat and sodium, while rich in protein, fiber and healthy nutrients, particularly magnesium, potassium and calcium.

The DASH diet now has two versions: the standard DASH diet and the lower sodium DASH diet. Both DASH diets aim to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, but the lower sodium DASH diet encourages an even further reduction in the amount of sodium you eat. This can help to reduce blood pressure even more than can the standard DASH diet. You don't need to modify the DASH diet any further than reducing the amount of salt you eat to follow the lower sodium version.