The role of DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts) has already proven to lower blood pressure. Recently a study was conducted to see the effect of DASH diet when combined with established recommendations (i.e. weight loss, sodium reduction, increased physical activity and limited alcohol intake). The patients in this ‘combined group’ were compared with patients on ‘established recommendations’ alone or with patients given ‘advice only’. Each study group consisted of 270 high blood pressure patients and they were kept under observation for 6 months.
The fall in average blood pressure was estimated to be 3.7 mm Hg for the established recommendation group and 4.3 mm Hg for the combined group (i.e. on DASH diet and established recommendations). At the end of 6 months it was also observed that about 26% of patients in the advice only group, 17% of patients in the established recommendation and 12% of the patients in combined group were hypertensive. The optimal BP (i.e. blood pressure < 120/80 mm Hg) in the different groups were found to be 19% in advice only group, 30% in the established group and 35% in the combined group.
Hence, the study shows that people with optimal BP including stage 1 hypertension (i.e. blood pressure 140/90 mm Hg or more), can make various lifestyle modifications that may lower blood pressure and reduce their risk of developing heart diseases.