DASH Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Which One is Better?

by | Feb 20, 2024

Let’s get familiar with the similarities and differences between the Mediterranean and DASH diets, and which one may be better for you.

Did your doctor recently recommend that you prioritize a healthy eating plan? Are you wondering which diet is the best for you to follow? 

There are many nutritious eating patterns to consider but it can be overwhelming to understand all the differences between them. Which are fad diets, and which ones are backed by science? Which will help you lose weight or improve your heart health? Here is a closer look at the questions that matter most.

What Is The DASH Diet?

Before we go any further, you might be asking yourself, what does the DASH diet stand for? That’s a great place to start! 

The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a precursor to other chronic diseases, including heart disease. 

Diet can have an immense impact on blood pressure which affects your risk of developing other chronic diseases. The DASH diet is specifically designed to support a blood pressure within a healthy range. 

What Is The Difference Between The DASH Diet And A Mediterranean Diet?

DASH Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Which One Is Better?

The DASH Diet

The DASH Diet has a set of specific foods that should be eaten on a daily and weekly basis, and a set of foods that should be limited.

The DASH diet has more specific serving recommendations.

  • One of the key components of the DASH diet is to limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. 
  • Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes are consumed frequently on the DASH diet. 
  • Saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar are limited because they contribute to a higher blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels.
DASH Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Which One Is Better?

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet was ranked the best diet for the past seven years by US News and World Report. Amazing, right? 7 years in a row it has been ranked highest! 

It is both a healthy eating pattern and a balanced lifestyle that focuses on: 

  • Whole foods
  • Mindfulness
  • Social connectivity

These lifestyle components make the diet particularly unique because they support the well-being of the whole person. 

The Mediterranean diet doesn’t have as specific daily food group requirements as the DASH diet. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes mostly plant-based foods, healthy fats, lean protein, and balanced meals. Prioritizing whole foods and cooking at home are important aspects of the Mediterranean diet which are effective strategies to support healthy blood pressure levels.

To learn more about each of the food groups that are encouraged and limited, we cover tips for getting started on the Mediterranean diet. 

DASH Diet Vs Mediterranean Diet: Which Is Better?

When selecting which diet and lifestyle is best for you, it’s important to consider your personal health goals. Here are 4 key health goals, and the diet that we rank as the winner.

1. Blood Pressure

The DASH diet specifically focuses on dietary changes to support a healthy blood pressure. There is a substantial amount of research on both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

Much of the research on the DASH diet has investigated its ability to lower blood pressure factors. It is the combination of limiting sodium and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables that are high in potassium that contributes to the positive effects of the DASH diet on blood pressure.

Winner for blood pressure: DASH Diet

2. Cognitive Health

Both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet support cognitive health thanks to their emphasis on plant-based foods and healthy fats.

In a recent review article, greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet were associated with significantly reduced risk of dementia and cognitive decline. This review article is useful because they looked at over 50 studies to summarize the findings.

Winner for cognitive health: Mediterranean diet

3. Heart Health

The Mediterranean diet has been studied for several decades regarding its amazing positive impacts on cardiovascular health and disease risk reduction. The emphasis on healthy fats is one of the key components that makes the Mediterranean diet so effective for promoting heart health. Research has shown that individuals following the Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular events compared to those following a low fat diet. 

Winner for heart health: Mediterranean diet

4. DASH Diet Vs Mediterranean Diet For Weight Loss

If weight loss is a goal on your health journey, we reviewed the evidence for following the Mediterranean diet for weight loss and tips on how to maintain the weight loss. Both the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean diet can be effective tools for weight loss because they will help you incorporate more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. 

Winner for weight loss: Both

My Experience Coaching Clients with the Mediterranean Diet

The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are a few of the most popular ones and they are backed by a substantial amount of high-quality research. 

The Mediterranean diet continues to be an effective way of eating and living for my clients who are looking to improve health markers and overall quality of life. I love hearing from clients that by following the Mediterranean diet they are also feeling better. 

Clients often share with me: 

  • cooking at home feels less stressful
  • they feel full for longer after meals
  • they have more energy
  • they have a clearer understanding of which food to eat more and less of

Who Is The DASH Diet Not Recommended For?

There are some circumstances that we would not recommend the DASH diet. For individuals with chronic kidney disease and other kidney conditions, it is generally recommended to limit potassium and phosphorus. Many plant-based foods and dairy products are higher in potassium and phosphorus so the DASH diet may not be advised

Consult with your individual healthcare providers if the DASH diet is appropriate for you.

If you are interested in more individualized support on your health journey, we offer additional resources such as our online course and membership.

DASH Diet Vs Mediterranean Diet: In Summary

DASH Diet vs Mediterranean Diet: Which One is Better?

At the end of the day, both the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are nutritious, balanced eating patterns. The most important thing is that you are able to stick to the diet for the long-term. Prioritizing a nutritious diet is important for your whole life. It’s all about the healthy choices you make on a daily basis that contribute to your overall well-being.

We are here as a resource to help you incorporate healthy eating behaviors into your routines. At Fully Mediterranean, we focus on the Mediterranean diet, but as we have described there are many similarities with the DASH diet. We would be thrilled to support you on your wellness journey to feel your best. 

Interested To Learn About More Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet?


  1. Dash eating plan. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. December 29, 2021. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash-eating-plan
  2. How to make the Dash diet work for you. Mayo Clinic. May 25, 2023. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456
  3. Best diets overall 2024 – expertly reviewed | U.S. News – US News Health. U.S. News & World Report. January 1, 2024. Accessed January 15, 2024. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall
  4. van den Brink AC, Brouwer-Brolsma EM, Berendsen AAM, van de Rest O. The Mediterranean, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) Diets Are Associated with Less Cognitive Decline and a Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease-A Review. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(6):1040-1065. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz054
  5. Martínez-González, MA., Gea, A., & Ruiz-Canela, M. The Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular health. Circ Res. 2019;124(5), 779–798. https://doi.org/10.1161/circresaha.118.313348 
  6. Tyson CC, Nwankwo C, Lin PH, Svetkey LP. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating pattern in special populations. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2012;14(5):388-396. doi:10.1007/s11906-012-0296-1
  7. Mediterranean diet. Cleveland Clinic. November 20, 2022. Accessed February 11, 2024. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16037-mediterranean-diet 


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