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Diet and Nutrition

DASH: A Heart-Healthy Diet

chicken salad on lettuce with blueberries and strawberries, served on a white plateApproximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States has high blood pressure – also known as “ hypertension” - which increases the risk of heart disease. Lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure have usually included:

Although these strategies are still recommended, is there a specific diet for lowering blood pressure?



                              Image courtesy of ismaellozada / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The DASH Study

The DASH study - for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study“ - tested a diet, and the findings were impressive. The blood pressure of persons who followed the DASH diet decreased within days, even in persons with normal blood pressure. In those persons with high blood pressure, the decrease in blood pressure was comparable to that found with some medications.


What is the DASH diet?

The DASH diet is a healthy diet that is:

A follow-up study tested the DASH diet with different levels of sodium. The overall finding was that the DASH diet with a sodium restriction helps to lower blood pressure even more than the DASH diet without a sodium restriction.


How do I follow a DASH, sodium-restricted diet?

The diet is fairly easy to follow. For most, it means:

Here are some simple, practical tips for following the diet:

For more tips, menus, and recipes, visit Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH (National Institutes of Health)



Sacks, Frank M. Rationale and design of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension trial (DASH): A multicenter controlled-feeding study of dietary patterns to lower blood pressure. Annals of Epidemiology: Volume 5, Issue 2, March 1995, Pages 108-118.


Hope Through Research - You Can Be Part of the Answer!

Many research studies are underway to help us learn about heart disease. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:

For more information:

Go to the Diet and Nutrition health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Mar 20, 2014

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