A diet that may stave off heart failure

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A plant-focused diet long touted for its ability to lower blood pressure may also help prevent heart failure, according to a new study.

The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts while minimizing salt, sugar, and red meat consumption.

Researchers relied on food frequency questionnaires from 4,478 people of multiple ethnicities from six communities in the United States to gauge how closely they followed a DASH-style eating pattern. The participants ranged in age from 45 to 84 and were free of heart disease when they joined the study, which began in 2000. The follow-up lasted a median of 13 years.

Among people ages 75 and younger, those who followed the DASH diet more closely were less likely to develop heart failure than those whose eating habits were the least aligned with a DASH diet. The findings were published in June in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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