DASH diet may help prevent chronic kidney disease

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A study from Johns Hopkins University reveals that adherence to the DASH diet, known for its efficacy in lowering blood pressure, significantly reduces the risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

The DASH diet, rich in nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and low in red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sodium, has already been recognized for preventing various chronic illnesses, including heart disease.

The researchers assessed records from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, involving 15,792 middle-aged adults tracked for over 20 years since 1987.

Participants were not given dietary instructions but were later scored on their adherence to a DASH-style diet.

Participants with the lowest DASH scores were found to be 16% more likely to develop kidney disease compared to those with the highest DASH scores.

The highest intake of red and processed meats was linked to a 22% higher risk, while the highest intake of nuts and legumes resulted in a 9% lower risk of developing kidney disease.

The preventive aspect of the DASH diet against kidney disease is attributed to its role in reducing blood pressure, with hypertension being a known risk factor for kidney disease.

Another possibility is the “dietary acid load” of consumed foods or the overall acidity in a diet.

The study also highlighted that normal-weight participants following a DASH diet had lower chances of developing kidney disease compared to overweight or obese participants.

This study adds chronic kidney disease to the list of illnesses that can be prevented by adhering to the DASH diet.

This finding is crucial for public health strategies focused on dietary recommendations, emphasizing the value of healthier food choices and balanced diets, especially for individuals at risk of hypertension and kidney disease.

The research, conducted by Casey M. Rebholz et al, is published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

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