In the past eight years, the U.S. News and World Report have given the DASH Diet a ranking of the ranked the “best overall” regime out of almost 40 that were reviewed. Recent research has suggested that the DASH diet in combination with a diet focusing on the consumption of low sodium foods can lower one’s blood pressure more sufficiently than most medications offered to those who suffer from hypertension.
Fruit, Veggies, and Dairy
Primarily focusing on fresh fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean proteins and whole grains, DASH received a ranking of first place among Heat Disease Prevention and Healthy Eating categories.
The WHO has stated that hypertension is the number one most common chronic illness globally. In addition, the condition poses a risk for heart disease affecting 1 billion individuals and is the cause of 1 in every 8 deaths yearly.
The NIH’s Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood (NHLBI) funded research that developed the diet in order to help treat and prevent hypertension but results have shown it also has a great potential to lower blood cholesterol.
“The consistent high rankings of DASH over the years bode well for the way the diet is received and adopted, not just by health professionals, but by the public at large,” stated program officer and dietician, Janet de Jesus, from the NHLBI’s Center for Implementation Science and Translation Research. “This is especially gratifying now that new research underscores the significant blood-pressure-lowering effects of a reduced intake of sodium in combination with the DASH diet.”
Research conducted on the diet has shown positive results for reducing blood pressure by several points over the course of only two weeks. With time devoted to following this diet, systolic blood pressure has been seen to drop by an average of 8 to 14 points significantly reducing risks of heart disease.
These positive results can be even greater when one combines the DASH diet with a low-sodium focused food regime resulting in a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure. A study funded by the NHLBI reviewed the results of 400 participants who achieved major reductions in high blood pressure and the combination was described as impressive by de Jesus.
“An interesting aspect of the DASH diet is that the effects are greater in people with hypertension or higher blood pressure at baseline, which is comparable to anti-hypertensive medications,” explained Johns Hopkins University assistant professor and this study’s initial author, M.D. Stephen Juraschek. “Our results add to the evidence that dietary interventions can be as effective as – or more effective than – antihypertensive drugs in those at highest risk for high blood pressure, and should be a routine first-line treatment option for such individuals.”
DASH is considered a healthy lifestyle and is in no way in line with other fad diets. With an emphasis on a healthy variety of greens, protein, nuts, and certain dairy products, it offers a great boost in nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber and proteins in addition to a reduction in the consumption of sweets, red meat containing high fat, and beverages with high sugar content.
The U.S. News and World Report’s board of health officials and experts reviewed and ranked a total of 38 diet plans and named the DASH as the most nutritious, easily maintained, most effective in terms of weight loss, and a top method in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes.