Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
A follow-up study found that the same diet with lower sodium levels, resulted in even greater reductions in blood pressure. Those who benefited the most were people who had mild hypertension and certain ethnic groups (African Americans in particular).2
Many others have confirmed the health benefits of the DASH diet. Studies have found that following this diet:
reduces 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease 11% more than a diet just high in fruits and vegetables3
reduces risk of stroke and heart disease in middle-aged women4
improves cardiovascular risk factors among diabetics5
reduces risk of cardiovascular disease in youth with diabetes6
may help improve insulin sensitivity when combined with exercise and weight management7
may help prevent diabetes8
may even reduce risk of colorectal cancer9 and kidney stone risk10
For overweight or obese persons with slightly elevated blood pressure, the addition of exercise and weight loss to the DASH regimen resulted in even larger blood pressure reductions and greater improvements in heart disease risk factors.11 One study even found that adults with mild hypertension who followed the DASH pattern for 8 years had lower death rates overall.12
Other ways to control blood pressure, aside from diet, include losing extra weight, engaging in regular physical activity and moderating alcohol consumption to 1-2 drinks per day.
An estimated 65 million (1 in 5) Americans have high blood pressure, and an additional 59 million are deemed "pre-hypertensive," putting them at risk for developing the disease. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and can lead to kidney damage.
The good news is that eating foods according to this eating pattern can be delicious.
1 Appel L.J. et al. N Engl J Med 1997; 336:1117-1124.
2 Bray GA et al. Am J Cardiol. 2004 Jul 15;94(2):222-7.
3 Chen ST et al. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2010 Sep;3(5):484-9. Epub 2010 Aug 31.
4 Fung TT et al. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Apr 14;168(7):713-20.
5 Azadbakht L et al. Diabetes Care. 2011 Jan;34(1):55-7. Epub 2010 Sep 15.
6 Liese AD et al. Circulation. 2011 Apr 5;123(13):1410-7. Epub 2011 Mar 21.
7 Hinderliter AL et al. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2011 Feb;13(1):67-73.
8 Liese AD et al. Diabetes Care. 2009 Aug;32(8):1434-6. Epub 2009 Jun 1.
9 Fung TT et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec;92(6):1429-35.
10 Taylor EN et al. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009 Oct;20(10):2253-9. Epub 2009 Aug 13.
11 Blumenthal JA et al. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jan 25;170(2):126-35.
12 Parikh A et al. Am J Hypertens. 2009 Apr;22(4):409-16. Epub 2009 Feb 5.