DASH diet and Mediterranean diet are the most popular diet plans in the US. As per World Health Report and US News, both have been declared the top 2 best eating plans consistently over the years.

Both of these diets support a healthy lifestyle but in different ways of eating. Reduction in heart disease and chronic conditions and improvement in mental health are benefits associated with these diets.

The diets are similar, selecting whole food and healthy fats for the heart instead of processed food, so they are often confused with one another.

Let us take a look at the similarities and differences between these diets in detail.

What Is the DASH Diet?

DASH  diet

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is popularly known as the DASH diet. It focuses on food items that help to lower your blood pressure levels. The diet is overall low in sodium intake and processed foods. It emphasizes whole food and food-items rich in potassium like bananas and potatoes.

The sodium intake is quite high in standard American eating. In contrast, the DASH diet helps to reduce your salt intake, present in processed food. It also limits adding salt to the meals.

This nutritious eating plan is specially designed for people with an issue like hypertension or prehypertension. This diet plan helps regulate your blood pressure, resulting in other serious health conditions like stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, etc.

Ideally, you want to stay below 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and the following DASH makes this easy. For more severe cases, it may be recommended to take your sodium level as low as 1,500 mg per day. DASH also helps with this. 

You may find this diet plan challenging to follow and restrictive initially [1].

Research studies show that reducing your salt intake decreases your blood pressure and helps with cardiovascular issues.

DASH diet plan is rich in green leafy vegetables: spinach, broccoli, kale, fruits: orange, banana, plum, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, lean meat, fish, poultry, and whole grains: wheat, millets, cereal, rice, oats, etc. [2].

Food items restricted in this diet include saturated fats, salt, sugar beverages, candies, and alcohol.

Benefits of the DASH Diet

  • It reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Focuses on healthy eating habits for your overall wellness.
  • It provides complete nutrition to your body with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and cereals.
  • You learn to eat proper portion size
  • Includes food items rich in antioxidant properties.
  • It can help to reduce some weight if followed religiously.

The only problem with this diet plan is it is the hardest diet to follow. But if you do, it provides the best health benefits.

What Is Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is derived from people’s eating habits in regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, i.e., Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Morocco. The traditional diet is considered one of the healthiest diets globally, with many health benefits.

The diet is high in olive oil, nuts, fats, vegetables, and fruits. The consumption of red wine in moderate quantities is recommended in this diet plan. Meat and dairy products are restricted in this diet.

Research studies show this meal plan helps lower the risk of Hypertension, metabolic issues, reducing blood clotting, and cancer [3]. The diet is rich in antioxidants and healthy omega fatty acids, which help with cardiovascular problems.

You should avoid food items like processed meat, processed food, added sugar, refined grains, refined oil, and trans fats if following a Mediterranean diet

The traditional Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables (except potato), fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, seafood, olive oil, and whole grains like oats, brown rice, corn, wheat bread, along with red wine.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

  • It helps with problems related to the heart. ‘
  • The diet emphasizes on the intake of unsaturated instead of saturated fats.
  • It helps to control blood sugar levels
  • The diet helps to reduce weight
  • The diet provides perfectly balanced nutrition
  • Beneficial for detoxing the body

The limitation of sweet food is the only drawback of following this diet. So, if you have a sweet tooth, sticking to this diet would be difficult.

DASH Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet Differences

DASH and Mediterranean diets are quite similar, but both diets are slightly different.

Some of the key difference includes:

BasisDASH DietMediterranean Diet
Sodium intakeThe diet suggests reducing sodium intake.There is no such restriction on consuming salt. Olives, which are high in salt, are included in the diet.
Dairy productsIt is recommended to include non-fat and low-fat dairy products every day.It suggests less dairy product consumption.
Alcohol consumptionRestricts any kind of alcohol consumption.Includes red wine due to its antioxidant properties.

Both diets benefit people with problems related to heart, Hypertension, and other chronic conditions. Choosing which one depends upon your goals and preferences.

Which Is Better? DASH Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet

Vegetable and fruits

Both of these diets offer similar health benefits. Therefore, it is difficult to say which is better.

Research studies highlight the pros and cons of both diets, but there is no clear evidence of which is a better diet plan.

Each body type is different, and there is no fixed diet that can suit everyone. Selecting which diet to follow totally depends on your food choice and preferences. You can decide basis your goals and targets.

Let us look at some of the challenges each diet has to help you select which suits you better.

Cons of DASH Diet

This diet requires you to prepare your daily menu basis the serving and calorie chart. If you are not good at preparing your meal plans, it will become difficult to follow this diet. However, it helps in reducing weight, but not immediately. The regular following of diet will lead to reducing weight. This diet is also rich in fiber. A high-fiber diet may cause gas and bloating in some people initially.

Cons of the Mediterranean Diet

The diet limits the consumption of dairy products, which can further cause calcium deficiency in your body. It also lowers your iron storage in the body. Therefore, you will have to carefully select food rich in iron and vitamin C to avoid iron deficiency.

Any diet plan is successful only if you follow it according to your goals. And you are supplementing your diet with the right training.

The first thing you need to decide is your goal. Do you want to maintain calorie intake, or is weight loss your objective? Accordingly, you can determine what diet plan is suitable for you.

The diet is not a short-term plan, and you have to change your eating habits for the rest of your life for desired results. Choose a diet that you can follow.

DASH Diet and Mediterranean Diet Combined

DASH and Mediterranean

The Hybrid diet of the DASH and Mediterranean eating approach is called the MIND diet. This way, you can get the best of both diets if you combine them. The DASH Diet focuses on low sodium intake, while the Mediterranean diet includes fish and olive oil.

DASH Diet Vs. Mediterranean Diet for Weight Loss

Both of these can help you with weight loss. However, with the DASH diet, losing weight will not be immediate. This diet aims to reduce blood pressure and other chronic health issues. Following this diet will result in losing an extra pound in the long run.

At the same time, the Mediterranean diet restricts you from eating sugary items, resulting in faster weight loss.

You can reduce weight loss by following any of these diets. You need to choose which one suits you better as per your target and preference.

Bottomline: DASH Diet vs Mediterranean Diet

Both diets are great, offering multiple health benefits. The diets are highly nutritious and support a healthy lifestyle.

The DASH diet restricts sodium intake, while the Mediterranean restricts the consumption of dairy products. It depends upon you to select the diet you think you can sustain in the long run as per your preferences.

Consult your dietitian if you cannot make changes or have queries about diet plans. A specialist doctor can guide you and help you choose the best dietary plan according to your goal, body requirement, and a healthy long-term diet plan.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Grillo, A., Salvi, L., Coruzzi, P., Salvi, P., & Parati, G. (2019). Sodium Intake and Hypertension. Nutrients11(9), 1970. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11091970
  • Challa, H. J., Ameer , M. A., & Uppaluri, K. R. (2022). DASH Diet To Stop Hypertension. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
  • De Pergola, G., & D’Alessandro, A. (2018). Influence of Mediterranean Diet on Blood Pressure. Nutrients10(11), 1700. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111700


  • Sarika Moghe

    With her Master in Business Adminstration (MBA), Sarika has explored numerous industries and picked up valuable experiences and skills along the way. She is now a professional content writer and meditation instructor who enjoys helping and empowering people to get deeper in touch with their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Sarika also has experience as a social media manager and research and marketing professional, which equips her to communicate effectively through her articles. LinkedIn

  • Kim Monasterial, BSN

    Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn


With her Master in Business Adminstration (MBA), Sarika has explored numerous industries and picked up valuable experiences and skills along the way. She is now a professional content writer and meditation instructor who enjoys helping and empowering people to get deeper in touch with their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Sarika also has experience as a social media manager and research and marketing professional, which equips her to communicate effectively through her articles. LinkedIn