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THE DASH DIET

In 2000, researchers at Harvard, Hopkins, Duke and other medical centers reported that a special diet could lower high blood pressure more effectively than the most potent drugs used to treat that condition. Still, when your doctor diagnoses high blood pressure, the odds are overwhelming that you will be given a prescription, but he usually will not give you instructions on the diet that is more effective than the prescription that you will receive.

It took only two weeks for the DASH diet to start lowering high blood pressure and after eight weeks, 70 percent of those eating the combination diet had normal blood pressures. Most of these people had their blood pressure return to normal before they lost significant amounts of weight and with no conscientious effort to restrict salt. The authors feel that increasing minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, lowers high blood pressure perhaps by suppressing calcium regulating hormones that close blood vessels.

Here's a typical day on the DASH diet:

8 servings of whole grains
5 servings of vegetables
5 servings of fruit
3 servings of low-fat milk or diary products
5 servings of nuts, seeds and beans
fewer than 3 servings of meat, poultry or fish
restrict sweets and fats

More: DASH (High-Plant) Diet for Heart Health, Weight Loss and Diabetes Prevention/Control.

1) PR Conlin, D Chow, ER Miller, LP Svetkey, PH Lin, DW Harsha, TJ Moore, FM Sacks, LJ Appel. The effect of dietary patterns on blood pressure control in hypertensive patients: Results from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial. American Journal of Hypertension, 2000, Vol 13, Iss 9, pp 949-955.

2) LM Resnick, S Oparil, A Chait, RB Haynes, P KrisEtherton, JS Stern, S Clark, S Holcomb, DC Hatton, JA Metz, M McMahon, FX PiSunyer, DA McCarron. Factors affecting blood pressure responses to diet: The vanguard study. American Journal of Hypertension, 2000, Vol 13, Iss 9, pp 956-965.

3) Circulation. September, 2000

Checked 2/17/12

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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