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Healthy Heart Reports

The Dash Diet

Two years ago, researchers at Harvard, Hopkins, Duke and other medical centers reported that a special diet could lower high blood pressure more effectively than the most potent drugs used to treat that condition. Still, when your doctor diagnoses high blood pressure, the odds are overwhelming that you will be given a prescription, but he usually will not give you instructions on the diet that is more effective than the prescription that you will receive.

It took only two weeks for the DASH diet to start lowering high blood pressure and after 8 weeks, 70% of those eating the combination diet had normal blood pressures. Most of these people had their blood pressure return to normal before they lost significant amounts of weight and with no conscientious effort to restrict salt. 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.

Here's a typical day on the DASH diet:

8 servings of whole grains
5 servings of vegetables
5 servings of fruit
3 servings of low-fat milk or diary products
5 servings of nuts, seeds and beans
fewer than 3 servings of meat, poultry or fish
restrict sweets and fats

You should immediately notice that this is basically the same diet that we have recommended for the last 10 years.

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 956-965.

3) Circulation. September, 2000

5/1/01updates #8614

Copyright 2001
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.