In a breakthrough study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, researchers found that combining reduced sodium intake with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet significantly lowers blood pressure in adults suffering from hypertension.
This research adds new depth to the existing literature on the individual benefits of low-sodium and DASH diets, by exploring the impact of combining the two.
The study involved 412 adults categorized into four different groups based on their systolic blood pressure levels:
- Less than 130 mmHg
- Between 130 and 139 mmHg
- Between 140 and 159 mmHg
- 150 mmHg or higher
These participants were put on either low-sodium or DASH diets for a duration of four weeks. DASH diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and include low-fat or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts.
The results were quite revealing:
Participants who reduced their sodium intake had lower systolic blood pressure compared to those who maintained high levels of sodium.
Participants on the DASH diet but without reducing sodium also experienced lower blood pressure compared to those not on the DASH diet but with similar sodium levels.
Most significantly, participants combining both the low-sodium and DASH diet had lower blood pressure than those maintaining high sodium levels and not following the DASH diet.
The reduction in blood pressure was more pronounced in participants with severe hypertension (systolic blood pressure over 150 mmHg).
Why It Matters
Hypertension is a significant risk factor for a range of cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
The DASH diet is already promoted by major health organizations like the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association.
This study provides strong evidence for adding low sodium intake to these dietary recommendations, particularly for those with severe hypertension.
The team suggests that further research is needed to determine if the same beneficial effects apply to adults with systolic blood pressure above 160 mmHg.
The study brings hope to millions suffering from high blood pressure, offering a potentially effective dietary approach to manage and reduce hypertension.
By combining a low-sodium diet with the DASH diet, individuals may achieve better blood pressure control, thereby reducing their risk for cardiovascular diseases.
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