Harvard Heart Letter

Heart beat: DASH diet ignored

Heart beat

DASH diet ignored

Even as research continues to underscore the benefits of the DASH diet, fewer and fewer people are following it.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet was designed by nutritionists to lower blood pressure. It was put to the test in two large clinical trials and passed with flying colors. For many people who follow it, the diet is enough to keep blood pressure in the normal range without medicine.

Key features of the DASH diet include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; several servings daily of low-fat dairy products; some fish, poultry, dried beans, nuts, and seeds; and minimal red meat, sweets, and sugar-laden beverages. This mix of foods provides ample calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins, and fiber while limiting saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

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