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DASH Diet Guidelines

DASH Diet Guidelines and Information - DASH is an abbreviation for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is an approach to reducing high blood pressure through a change in the diet.

dash diet fruits vegetablesUnlike most diets that are hard to follow and involve the need to exercise and loose weight, following the DASH diet alone is proven to help lower high blood pressure.

The diet consists of eating foods that are low in saturated fats, total fats, and cholesterol. This means eating less red meat and dairy products that are high in fats.

dash diet saltThe DASH diet calls for less salt and sodium. The average American men eat about 4,200 mg (4.2 grams) of salt daily and 3,300 mg (3.3 grams) for women. The DASH diet has about 2,300 mg of salt.

Added health benefits of following the DASH diet include getting more of the essential calcium, magnesium and potassium that your body needs.

Extensive scientific evidence is mounting that following the DASH diet guidelines does a lot more than just lower high blood pressure.

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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

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Extensive clinical research studies prove conclusively that following the DASH diet lowers blood pressure significantly.
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Following the DASH diet lowers the risk of developing diabetes in whites (but not in blacks or Hispanics).
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A DASH-style diet seems to lower the risk of getting kidney stones.
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A 7 year study done in 36,019 subjects show that following the DASH diet reduces the risk of heart failure by up to 37%.

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One study showed that by following the DASH diet, participants' motor skills improved significantly.

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DASH Diet Guidelines

Food Groups
Daily Servings
6 to 8
4 to 5
4 to 5
Low-fat dairy products
2 to 3
Lean meat, chicken or fish
6 or less
Seeds, nuts and legumes
4 to 5 per week
Fats and Oils
2 to 3
Sweets and added sugars
5 or less per week

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Research Studies Showing the Health Benefits of the DASH Diet

dash diet guidelines research studiesNeedless to say, there are extensive well-designed clinical studies proving the multitude of health benefits of following the DASH diet guidelines. The benefits go far beyond just lowering high blood pressure.

Study #1 - In one study, researchers clearly showed a diet high in fruits and vegetables lower blood pressure significantly. However, adding on the DASH diet, volunteers were able to see their blood pressure drop even more!

Unlike may other studies that can take months or years to see results, this blood pressure lowering effect was seen in only 2 weeks.

Study #2 - Another major study wanted to find out how the impact of salt in ones diet could affect blood pressure. Researchers randomly assigned volunteers to groups taking 3.3 grams, 2.3 grams and 1.5 grams of salt daily from their diet.

What were the results? Very simple and profound. The lower salt intake group has the greatest reduction in blood pressure. This was all achieved without any additional exercise or weight loss.

Study #3 - The DASH diet was more effective than potassium, magnesium and fiber supplements for lowering high blood pressure. The experts believe that high fruits and vegetables in the DASH diet improved the quality of the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium).

There are many more studies that show how the DASH diet can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes, kidney stones, heart failure and mental and physical performance.
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How much did the DASH diet drop blood pressure?

high blood pressure monitorThe drop in blood pressure is impressive. In health people, following the DASH diet resulted in a 6 mm Hg systolic and 3 mm Hg diastolic drop in blood pressure.

Those suffering from high blood pressure dropped by 11 and 6, respectively. Thus, the higher the initial blood pressure, the more benefits one will get by following the guidelines.

DASH Diet Menu and Recipes - Get the Copy of the DASH Diet

Get the detailed free copy of the DASH diet and read up to get the full details.

This 56 page document is published by the US Department of Health and Human Services. It includes menu ideas, recipes and meal plans to make it easy for you to follow.

Bottom Line

dash diet thumbs upCutting down on salt intake lowers high blood pressure significantly and quickly. This is what the original DASH studied revealed. But as you have seen, following the DASH diet guidelines provide you with many more health benefits!

And the good news, is that with a home blood pressure monitor, you can even keep track of your progress and discuss the results with your family doctor!

After consulting with your doctor, both of you might decide to cut back or stop your blood pressure medication. If this is not enough, there are always some effective natural remedies for high blood pressure  that can be combined with the DASH diet.

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High Blood Pressure - FAQ's and Tips

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References for DASH Diet Guidelines
Revised: August 5, 2010

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