The DASH Diet


The Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH) Diet was developed after research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health to lower blood pressure without medication. Two studies were conducted on groups of people: some groups took the DASH-Diet study; some were studied for the Dash-Sodium Diet.

The DASH-Diet study gave individuals one of three eating programs.  Plans characteristically comprised nutrient values of the North American diet; however, it included extra servings of vegetables and fruit, low-fat dairy foods and lower saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol.

The DASH-Sodium Diet closely paralleled its counterpart.  Programs included a diet with 3,300 mg of sodium per day (a normal amount for many North Americans); 2,300 mg of sodium (a moderately restricted amount); or 1,500 mg of sodium (a more restricted amount, about 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt).

Regardless of the plan selection, participants experienced lower blood pressure and decreases in lower high density lipo-proteins or HDLs (bad) cholesterol levels in just two weeks.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation the DASH Diet is comparable to Canada’s Food Guide.

No matter what plan is followed the foundation says, “Research has shown that following a plan for healthy eating can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower already elevated blood pressure.”

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