DASH Diet Plus Sodium Reduction Best for Protecting the Heart


The heart can show signs of damage before a heart attack or other heart problem occurs. Scientists can measure things like inflammation, cardiac injury, and cardiac strain by looking at biomarkers in the blood.Researchers looked at data from the original DASH-Sodium trial and compared the effects of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, sodium reduction, and a combination of the two on these markers.

The DASH-Sodium trial was a controlled feeding study. The 412 participants, who all had high blood pressure, were randomly assigned to either a DASH diet or a control diet. Researchers changed the amount of sodium in the assigned diet every four weeks and measured blood levels of biomarkers for inflammation, cardiac injury, and cardiac strain. Calories were adjusted to keep body weight constant, since weight loss is known to lower blood pressure.

Consuming a DASH diet and lowering sodium intake were both helpful independently, but a combination of the two had the most favorable impact on cardiac injury and strain compared with the high sodium control diet.

Whether you have high blood pressure or not, the DASH diet is a healthy dietary pattern. If you want to lower your blood pressure, following this dietary pattern while reducing sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams a day is one proven approach to protecting your heart—even before you have symptoms of heart trouble.


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