How Effective is DASH Diet in Reducing Blood Pressure?

Several studies were conducted to determine effectiveness of DASH diet in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive patients as well as in normotensive (persons with normal blood pressure) individuals. All the studies gave encouraging and positive results in reducing blood pressure.

The DASH study showed that dietary change to DASH diet can have good effect in reducing blood pressure in individuals with normal to moderate hypertension (i.e. systolic blood pressure of less than 180 mm of Hg and diastolic pressure of 80-95 mm of Hg). On an average the systolic blood pressure reduction was 5.5 mm of Hg and diastolic pressure reduction was 3 mm of Hg for all the subjects under study, in compare to control diet, which was used a control of the study. But the reduction was greater in individuals with hypertension and average systolic blood pressure reduction was 11.4 mm of Hg and diastolic pressure reduction was 5.5 mm of Hg.

After encouraging results of the DASH study, DASH-sodium study was conducted to find out if DASH diet with low sodium is better than DASH diet in reducing blood pressure. In the DASH-sodium study the sample was divided into two groups, one group was given controlled diet which contained more or less the normal diet and the second group was given DASH diet. The two groups were than given diet with three different sodium levels i.e. 3,000 mg (high), 2,400 mg (intermediate) or 1,500 (low) mg/day for 30 days.

The DASH-sodium study showed that both low salt levels reduced blood pressure in both dietary groups (control diet and DASH diet groups), but the greatest result was seen with low salt- DASH diet. The hypertensive subjects of low salt- DASH diet achieved an average blood pressure reduction of 11.5/5.7 mm Hg (systolic/diastolic).

The study results showed that low sodium (intake of approximately 1500 mg per day or 1.5 grams a day) intake has great importance in controlling hypertension and preventing blood pressure from developing.

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