Healthy Heart Reports
Dash Diet Lowers High Blood Pressure
Reports from Harvard School of Public Health shows that a diet rich in plants, with diary products, lowers high blood pressure (1,2) and even when people did not lose weight. They call it the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.)
It took only two weeks for the diet to have an effect and after eight weeks, 70 percent of those eating the combination diet had normal blood pressures, compared to 45 percent on the fruits-and-vegetables diet and 23 percent on the control diet. The authors feel that increasing minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium lowers high blood pressure perhaps by suppressing calcium regulating hormones that close blood vessels. The diet appears to act the same way as the diuretics that are the most common drugs prescribed to control blood pressure: it gets rid of excess sodium. (1A).
Most people will not have their high blood pressure lowered just by restricting salt. These studies show that a diet to lower high blood pressure should be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, contain beans, seeds, nuts and low-fat dairy products, and limit everything else. Here's a day on the DASH diet:
8 servings of grains
5 servings of vegetables
5 servings of fruit
2-3 servings of skim or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese
5 servings per week of nuts, seeds or beans
1-2 servings of meat, poultry or fish
restrict sweets and fats
(Serving sizes are typically 1/2 cup of cooked foods, 1 cup of raw fruits or vegetables; about 2 tablespoons of nuts or seeds.)
You should immediately notice that this is basically the diet that we have recommended for the last 10 years. I suggest using a modified DASH diet for total heart health (to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and prevent or control diabetes):
Up to 8 servings of WHOLE grains (no limit)
At least 5 Vegetables
At least 5 Fruits
Up to 3 fat free dairy products
Up to 2 servings of seafood
Beans or legumes (no limit)
1-2 tablespoons Nuts or seeds
Up to 3 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
Minimal added sugars (none if diabetic or trying to lose weight)
1A) July 2003 issue of Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.
1) PR Conlin, D Chow, ER Miller, LP Svetkey, PH Lin, DW Harsha, TJ Moore, FM Sacks, LJ Appel. The effect of dietary patterns on blood pressure control in hypertensive patients: Results from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial. American Journal of Hypertension, 2000, Vol 13, Iss 9, pp 949-955.
2) LM Resnick, S Oparil, A Chait, RB Haynes, P KrisEtherton, JS Stern, S Clark, S Holcomb, DC Hatton, JA Metz, M McMahon, FX PiSunyer, DA McCarron. Factors affecting blood pressure responses to diet: The vanguard study. American Journal of Hypertension, 2000, Vol 13, Iss 9, pp 956-965Address
3)Circulation. September, 2000
Copyright 2003 www.DrMirkin.com
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.
For more recipes, refer to the The Healthy Heart Miracle book.