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Eat Better with the DASH Diet

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Did you know that the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can help reduce the risk of hypertension and effectively reduce high blood pressure? There is evidence to suggest including full-fat milk products as a part of a DASH pattern of eating has beneficial effects on hypertension and blood pressure control as well as cardiovascular disease risk.1

What is the DASH diet?

It’s a way of eating well with an emphasis on vegetables, fruit and milk products. According to the DASH diet, we should get 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruit as well as 3 servings of milk products every day.

What makes it so effective?

Vegetables, fruit and milk products provide calcium, magnesium and potassium, a combination of nutrients that has long been associated with healthy blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure and the DASH diet, download our brochure and our DASH tracker.

The Evidence

The original landmark1997 DASH diet trial showed a diet including: 8-10 servings/day of vegetables and fruit, and 3 servings/day of milk products lowers blood pressure more than both a control diet and a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, but low in milk products.2

A 2016 study found that a higher-fat DASH diet replacing low-fat milk products with full-fat milk products (milk, cheese and yogurt): lowers blood pressure as much as standard DASH diet; doesn’t raise bad cholesterol and lowers triglycerides, despite a higher saturated fat content; and reduces components of different types of blood cholesterol that are highly implicated in heart disease.1 

In summary, milk products (including full-fat milk, cheese and yogurt) help to lower blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk by improving cholesterol levels and reducing triglycerides.

What is a DASH serving size?

Milk Products:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) of milk
  • ¾ cup (175 g) of yogurt
  • 1½ oz (50 g or roughly half a deck of cards) of cheese
  • ½ cup (125 mL) of shredded cheese

Vegetables and Fruit:

  • 1 medium piece of fruit (an apple, a pear, a banana)
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) of dried fruit
  • ½ cup (125 mL) of vegetables or fruit
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of raw leafy vegetables

Practical tips

  • Craving an after-dinner snack? Make your own veggie chips. Be sure to try different kinds, like beets, sweet potatoes or kale.
  • Eat a variety of colourful foods and fill half your plate with vegetables. Enjoy them in salads, add them to your soups or roast or stir-fry them. There’s definitely something for everyone!
  • Liven up your favourite raw veggies with a plain Greek-yogurt dip.
  • Make this delicious spiced chia pudding for dessert. It’s sure to be a hit with everyone!
  • Opt for a latté in the morning or turn your regular coffee into a latté by simply adding ½ a cup of hot milk.
  • Whip up a smoothie with yogurt, fruit and a dash of milk.


  1. Chiu S et al. Comparison of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and a higher-fat DASH diet on blood pressure and lipids and lipoproteins: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2016;103:341-347.
  2. Appel LJ et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. NEJM 1997;336:1117-1124. 
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