What is the DASH diet?:
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (part of the NIH) sponsored scientists to conduct studies to discover an eating plan that would reduce high blood pressure. DASH is an abbreviation for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
Research Studies on DASH:
- The first research project studied 459 people. The people were randomly given one of three plans to follow: a normal diet, a normal diet with more fruits and vegetables, and the DASH diet. People following the DASH diet were able to lower their blood pressure with results seen within two weeks.
- The second research project studied investigated the effect of lowering salt (sodium) in 412 people. A 1500 milligrams per day level significantly reduced blood pressure.
How does it work?:
The DASH eating plan is based on daily servings of various foods while decreasing salt and increasing calcium and other helpful minerals. The NHLBI has published a detailed guide about the DASH diet.