DASH diet may protect your metabolic health

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Introduction: Setting the Stage

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet has been promoted for its potential to manage high blood pressure.

But could this diet, known for its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, also influence metabolic health?

This study explored the relationship between DASH diet quality and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of conditions that increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Method: How We Went About It

This study took a cross-sectional approach, meaning we captured data at a single point in time. We enrolled 535 people, including 215 diagnosed with MetS and 320 without.

Using a food frequency questionnaire, researchers assessed each participant’s diet and calculated their DASH diet quality score.

This score helped us understand how closely each participant’s diet aligned with the DASH diet.

Findings: What the Data Told Us

The average age of participants was similar between the MetS and non-MetS groups, around 58 years. Interestingly, the team found that the MetS group had a significantly lower DASH score compared to the non-MetS group, suggesting poorer diet quality.

As the DASH score increased, indicating better diet quality, the risk of MetS decreased.

This suggests that following the DASH diet could potentially reduce the risk of developing MetS.

They also found that a higher DASH score was linked to healthier metabolic markers.

It was positively associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c, the ‘good’ cholesterol) and negatively associated with triglyceride levels and waist circumference.

An increase in the DASH score was also associated with a lower risk of abdominal obesity.

Conclusion: The Takeaway

This study’s findings suggest a potential benefit of the DASH diet beyond hypertension management.

Better adherence to the DASH diet may be linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and healthier metabolic markers.

This highlights the potential value of promoting the DASH diet for improving metabolic health.

However, given the cross-sectional design of this study, we can’t establish cause-and-effect relationships.

More research, particularly longitudinal and intervention studies, are needed to confirm these findings.

The research was published in Biomedicines.

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