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How does the DASH diet lower blood pressure?

An article in the medical journal, Hypertension (May 23, 2003), shows that the DASH diet, which is based on vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, acts as a natural diuretic. Following the diet causes the body to urinate out more salt in the same way that diuretics do. Most people do not develop high blood pressure when they take in excess salt. The people who benefit the most from the DASH diet are those who are salt sensitive, which means that their blood pressures rise when they take in too much salt.

The study included 375 adults with normal to moderately elevated blood pressure. They ate a DASH diet or a control diet for three consecutive 30-day periods. Additionally, during each of those 30-day periods, they ate either a high, moderate, or low- salt diet. The DASH diet increased the amount of salt in the urine and also lowered high blood pressure. The DASH diet is safer than drugs because diuretics can cause tiredness, inability to exercise, and impotence.

More on the DASH diet

Checked 12/22/12

May 19th, 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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