DASH diet is perfect for your heart health

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The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, developed in part at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, received a perfect score as the most heart-healthy eating plan in an assessment by the American Heart Association (AHA).

The study was published in the AHA’s peer-reviewed journal, Circulation.

The AHA’s scientific statement analyzed popular dietary patterns and evaluated how well they align with their dietary guidance.

The criteria include elements of a dietary pattern to improve cardiometabolic health, such as limiting unhealthy fats and reducing excess carbohydrate consumption.

Balancing these components optimizes cardiovascular and metabolic health and limits risks of other conditions like Type 2 diabetes and obesity, which may arise from excessive intake of processed carbohydrates and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The guidance is designed to be adaptable to individual budgets as well as personal and cultural preferences. The DASH-style eating pattern met all of the AHA’s guidance, thereby receiving a perfect score.

It is a diet plan low in salt, added sugar, alcohol, tropical oils, and processed foods, and rich in non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.

Most of its protein content comes from plant sources, such as legumes, beans, or nuts, fish or seafood, lean poultry, and meats, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

About the DASH Diet

The DASH diet was first published in a 1997 New England Journal of Medicine publication and has since been cited by other researchers approximately 6,000 times.

Researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, including Dr. George Bray, Dr. Donna Ryan, and Dr. Catherine Champagne, were among the lead developers of the diet, in collaboration with the DASH Diet Collaborative Research Group, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Duke Hypertension Center and the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center, and Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Dr. Catherine Champagne, a professor and registered dietitian nutritionist at Pennington Biomedical, describes the DASH diet as suitable for people with a history of heart disease or diabetes, but also for anyone due to its ease of following and adaptability for any family member.

The proliferation of different, popular dietary patterns and misinformation about them on social media has led to confusion about heart-healthy eating.

The AHA hopes this statement will serve as a tool for clinicians and the public to understand which diets promote good cardiometabolic health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and scientists find how COVID-19 damages the heart.

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