Dash diet is the eating plan based on research studies sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). These data have shown that an eating plan based on DASH was able to reduce hypertension and blood LDL (harmful) cholesterol. Blood triglyceride levels (fatty acids) didn’t change on the DASH eating plan.
In this article, I would like to offer you a simple to understand overview of this eating plan.
This eating plan has three main parts as follows,
This diet plan doesn’t identify a specific nutrient as the key element in blood pressure reduction. However, this eating plan is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, fiber and low in saturated fats.
Animal studies have suggested that low magnesium raises blood pressure, but this finding has not yet been confirmed in human studies.
Other studies have shown that magnesium causes widening of blood vessels and this widening can decrease blood pressure.
Studies of patients with diagnosed hypertension have suggested that for every 1.7 g increase in potassium intake, there was about 3.5/2.5 point drop in their blood pressure. To find out more about potassium and its benefits, I suggest reading the following article “Potassium in Your Diet: Why it Matters!”.
Some studies have also shown that fiber can reduce blood pressure. According to one study, this effect is more pronounced in older patients (>40 years old) than younger patients. This is good news for older individuals.
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One more interesting piece of data is regarding the effect of this diet on blood pressure. In one study– DASH Collaborative Group—patients on this eating plan were able to achieve lower blood pressure regardless of their weight, gender and physical activity.
This information is important because, probably, nutrition modification plays a greater role than the weight, age or physical activity of a person. This finding is particularly true in the African American population.
Blood pressure reduction
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) study has shown that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits but with an average amount of fat content could reduce blood pressure by around 2 points.
However, after the researcher incorporated low fat dairy products and low total and saturated fat to the diet, the blood pressure reduction was around 5.5 points.
Conservative blood pressure management
The DASH eating plan could be a viable conservative option in managing high blood pressure.
You could start implementing this eating plan and work on reducing your blood pressure today.