In a nutshell
This study examined the benefits of the DASH diet on the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart and blood vessel disease) in patients with hypertension. The authors found no benefit of the DASH over standard recommendations in reducing cardiovascular risk.
Patients with hypertension need to lower their blood pressure to avoid cardiovascular complications such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. Lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity, weight reduction, and diet are often advised to help manage hypertension. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet specifically designed for hypertensive patients. It encourages the consumption of nutrient-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, lean meat, and nuts. The DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure levels in hypertensive patients. The long-term benefits relating to cardiovascular risk are still being studied.
Methods & findings
556 patients with newly diagnosed hypertension were included in this study. None of the participants were taking antihypertensive medication and they had no history of diabetes, gout, or a cardiovascular event. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either standard care or standard care plus the DASH diet. Standard care included general recommendations to quit smoking, reduce weight, and eat a balanced diet. Patients were assessed at 6 and at 12 months.
Both groups showed significant improvements in their predicted 10-year cardiovascular risk. No significant differences were observed between the two intervention groups. The reduction in individual cardiovascular risk factors was similar at 6 and at 12 months.
Factors that led to no improvements in cardiovascular risk were male gender, younger age, smoking, lower education, and those who dined out more frequently.
The bottom line
This study concluded that the DASH diet showed no additional benefit to reduce cardiovascular risk compared to standard recommendations for hypertension.
The fine print
The results of this study may only apply to newly diagnosed hypertension.
Published By :
International Journal of Cardiology
Aug 29, 2016