You may have heard about the DASH diet. It was developed out of research conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the US NIH to help people eat a more healthy diet — in particular helping lower sodium consumption for those with high blood pressure.
DASH provides daily and weekly nutritional goals, that focus on eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. While fat-free or low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils are fine, DASH recommends limiting fatty meats, full-fat dairy and items high in saturated fat. Finally, DASH recommends limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets in general.
NIH has now conducted at least 3 major studies of the DASH diet, documenting its benefits on health.
The original DASH Trial studied 459 adults, and found that those that followed the DASH diet had lower blood pressure after 2 weeks than those that followed a typical American diet. And, DASH also helped lower LDL cholesterol levels. Both findings are great news for those wanting to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease.
In another study, the DASH-Sodium Trial, 412 adults were assigned a diet, and those on DASH had the lowest blood pressures after a month of follow-up. Those that consumed less sodium generally had lower blood pressure levels. The study highlighted the importance of lowering sodium intake for controlling blood pressure.
Finally, in the PREMIER Trial, 810 people were studied to see if the DASH diet in combination with counseling might achieve even great reductions in blood pressure. And, those who followed DASH and had counseling had the greatest improvements in their blood pressure.
Learn more about the DASH Diet from NIH:
NIH DASH Eating Plan