Beyond blood pressure: Added benefits from the DASH diet
Research we're watching
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating pattern doesn’t just lower blood pressure. It also reduces inflammation, heart injury, and heart strain, according to a study published in the June 1, 2021, Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Long considered one of the healthiest diets for the heart, the DASH diet features whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products as well as fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and healthy oils. For the study, researchers measured three cardiovascular biomarkers (substances known to reflect heart health) in stored blood samples from the original DASH study in the late 1990s. Participants followed either a DASH diet or a typical American diet, and within those two groups, each was assigned to one of three sodium levels (low, medium, or high) for four weeks.
Among people on the DASH diet, biomarkers linked to heart injury and inflammation dropped by 18% and 13%, respectively, compared with a typical diet. Biomarkers for heart injury and heart strain went down 20% to 23% among those following the low-sodium DASH diet.Image: © Chinnapong/Getty Images
About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.