In a nutshell
This study investigated if reducing salt intake and/or using the DASH diet had any effect on blood pressure levels in patients with pre- or stage 1 hypertension.
They found that the combination of reducing salt and adhering to the DASH diet reduced blood pressure.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a common condition that can cause a number of serious diseases. Managing blood pressure levels is important to prevent this. A healthy diet is important for overall well-being. It is also important for patients with hypertension as it can help lower blood pressure.
Reducing salt intake is a very effective strategy to help lower blood pressure. Studies have also shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and with lower saturated fats can lower blood pressure. This is called the DASH diet. It is not clear whether combining these diets further improves blood pressure levels.
Methods & findings
This study investigated if reducing salt intake and/or using the DASH diet can reduce blood pressure levels.
This study included data from 412 patients. They were assigned to either the DASH diet or control diet (typical of an average American diet). Additionally, patients were assigned to consume one of three levels of salt – low, medium and high. This diet was followed for 30 days, and then (after a 5-day washout period) patients were assigned to another salt group (different to the first assignment). This was repeated once more so all patients had followed a low, medium or high salt diet during the trial.
Reducing salt intake alone (from high to low) lowered blood pressure significantly. Reducing salt intake while following the DASH diet further lowered blood pressure. Patients with high salt intake and following the DASH diet had reduced blood pressure levels compared to control diet.
The bottom line
They concluded that the combination of reducing salt and adhering to the DASH diet reduced blood pressure.
The fine print
Patients with hypertension-associated conditions were excluded, e.g. kidney disease and diabetes, so it is not known if this strategy could be useful for these patients. The number of patients included in this study was small and the timeline was relatively short.
If you have any concerns regarding blood pressure management and lifestyle, please discuss with your doctor.
Published By :
Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Nov 04, 2017