How does the DASH diet reduce blood pressure

Introduction

DASH diet is known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet helps manage high blood pressure. Though this diet primarily has hypertensive benefits, it does provide other varying health benefits. The diet was recommended by the American National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and focuses mostly on vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains.

Recommendations of DASH diet

This diet recommends
  • Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains
  • Dietary inclusion of fat free dairy products, fish, beans, nuts
  • Limiting foods with high saturated fat and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oils
  • Avoiding sugar and sweets

This diet encourages no more than 1 teaspoon of sodium per day which is in line with the national guidelines.

Health benefits of the DASH diet

1. Hypertension

DASH diet was primarily devised to reduce high blood pressure. In individuals following this eating plan, a dramatic reduction in the blood pressure levels was observed. The diet thereby prevented hypertension and consequently occurring heart diseases. As the foods of this diet are naturally low in sodium and high in potassium, it helps regulate blood pressure in both healthy people and hypertensive individuals.

2. Type 2 diabetes

This diet is healthy for people with diabetes where it has shown to improve insulin resistance. We need to keep in mind that significant improvement in diabetes is observed only when the diet is combined with programs that include exercise and weight loss.

3. Depression

Depression is generally treated using medications (anti-depressants). A useful alternative to managing this condition is by following the DASH diet regimen.

4. Weight loss regimen

DASH diet when used for weight loss regimens, offers more flexibility than other diet plans. It helps in weight loss as well as weight maintenance. As the diet restricts the intake of high-fat sugary foods, it decreases the calorie intake thereby assisting is losing weight.

5. Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of metabolic abnormalities and cardiovascular (heart) risk factors in individuals with impaired insulin sensitivity. While reducing weight is an effective way for metabolic syndrome, a Mediterranean-style diet (DASH) is effective in reducing the occurrence of metabolic syndrome. This diet reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents.

6. Cancer

This diet had a lower risk of some cancers including colorectal and breast cancer. As the diet is low in red meat, rich in fruits and vegetables and focuses on low-fat dairy products it decreases the risk for cancer occurrence.

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