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Dash Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure affects one in every three adults. Victims of high blood pressure are continually looking for ways to lower their blood pressure and decrease their risk of heart disease. In 2001, the New England Journal of Medicine published the DASH study in which the researchers showed that a plant-based, extremely low sodium diet could dramatically lower blood pressure. Participants on the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 5.9 mm Hg, while participants on the DASH diet with restricted sodium intake lowered their blood pressure by an average of 8.9 mm Hg.

The Dash diet is a fruit/vegetable and low-fat diet. The subjects of the study where split into three groups all on the diet with varying amounts sodium intake of 3500 mg, 2300 mg, and 1150 mg. While all groups experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure, the group with the lowest sodium intake experienced the most dramatic decrease. A more detailed description of the study along with important insights can be found in the book Eat Right Electrolyte by Rex Hawkins. A link to this compelling book can be found on the Simply Fit Reliable Resources page.

The DASH study proves that a healthy diet particularly one which severely decreases sodium intake is the dietary path to lowering your blood pressure. Despite the implication of the study’s name, this diet is not a sprint or a quick fix, but instead can be equated to a life long marathon which requires long-term commitment and discipline.

Written by Aaron Losey, B.A. Kinesiology, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA