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DASH Diet for Hypertension


Therapeutic Diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)


The DASH diet has been proven clinically over and over again to be an effective nutritional intervention in the treatment of hypertension (NIH, 2019). Clients who suffer from hypertension obviously can benefit from the diet, however, a number of other individuals can as well. While most people assume that this diet is focused exclusively on reducing salt, it is much more accurate to describe it as a flexible and balanced eating plan that emphasizes adequate mineral consumption, is high in fiber and lower in fat, particularly saturated animal fat. Minerals which are particularly emphasized include potassium, calcium and magnesium. Because of its emphasis on unprocessed, whole foods, those individuals who would simply like to eat "healthier" as well as those who would like to lose some weight can also benefit from it. This includes obese patients who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) as adherence to the diet can not only encourage weight loss, it improves insulin resistance, serum hs-CRP levels and abdominal fat accumulation (Asemi & Esmaillsadeh, 2015). Relative to hypertension, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials performed by Saneei, Salehi-Abargouei, Esmaillzadeh & Azadbakht (2014) concluded that adherence to the diet had a profound effect of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults. However, there was some variability in its effectiveness among those with lower baseline blood pressure so, like any therapeutic dietary intervention, clients should be monitored. That being said, additional studies have showed that there are positive affects for those who have pre or stage 1 hypertension, just that those with higher baselines benefited more (Juraschek, Miller, Weaver & Appel, 2017).


References:

Asemi, Z. & Esmaillzadeh, A. (2015). DASH diet, insulin resistance, and serum hs-CRP in polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Hormone Metabolism Research, 47(3), 232-238.

Juraschek, S. P., Miller, E. R., 3rd, Weaver, C. M., & Appel, L. J. (2017). Effects of Sodium Reduction and the DASH Diet in Relation to Baseline Blood Pressure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 70(23), 2841–2848. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2017.10.011

Saneei, P., Salehi-Abargouei, A., Esmaillzadeh, A., & Azadbakht, L. (2014) Influence of dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized controlled trials. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 24(12), 1253 – 1261.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: DASH Eating Plan. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan.

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