DASH Diet for Blood Pressure

The DASH diet has been proven in several research studies to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet for blood pressure -- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- features low-fat dairy foods, fruits, and vegetables along with foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. It contains few red meats, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.

What Is the DASH Diet for Blood Pressure?

More than 65 million Americans (nearly 1 in 3) have high blood pressure. Unfortunately, in more than 90 percent of cases, the cause or causes of high blood pressure are not known. But hypertension research scientists have found certain risk factors that increase a person's chance of developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure prevention involves minimizing the high blood pressure risks that can be controlled. One of these risk factors is an unhealthy diet.
 
The DASH diet for blood pressure has been shown in several research studies to lower blood pressure. "DASH" stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." The DASH diet for blood pressure:
 
  • Combines healthy foods that are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat
  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.
     
Combined with low sodium intake, the DASH diet for blood pressure been shown to be as effective as a single medication in lowering blood pressure.
 

How Was the Diet Developed?

Previously, researchers tried to find clues about what in the diet affects blood pressure by testing various single nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium (see Potassium and High Blood Pressure). These studies centered on dietary supplements, and their findings were not conclusive. Hypertension research scientists then conducted two key studies: DASH and DASH-Sodium.
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Diets for High Blood Pressure

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