A diet, which was primarily designed to reduce the blood pressure level of hypertension patients, could be beneficial for people suffering from coronary heart diseases. In a study published in the latest online issue of Circulation, researchers have highlighted the heart friendly properties of the DASH diet.
DASH diet for healthy heart
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet is recommended by the American Heart Association for lowering the blood pressure levels and for preventing atherosclerosis. A team of US researchers studied the affect of DASH diet on the health of people with a risk of developing high blood pressure. The researchers divided the participants into three groups. One group ate normal American diet, with higher fat and low mineral content. Another group ate similar foods, but their diet also included five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The third group was assigned the DASH diet.
At the end of the ten-year long study period, researchers found that dieters who ate five servings of fruits and vegetables daily could reduce the risk of heart diseases by seven per cent. However, participants in the study who followed the DASH diet regularly could cut the risk of heart diseases by 18 per cent.
In addition, researchers have observed that DASH could cause 6mm Hg reduction in the systolic blood pressure. Compared with people of European origin, African Americans seemed to be more sensitive to the blood pressure reducing effect of the diet. The study further showed, that DASH diet could cause eight per cent reduction in the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol level in the blood.
DASH diet plan
Fruits, vegetables, grains and low fat dairy products are the main ingredients in the DASH diet. Dieters following this diet plan should limit consumption of sodium and fats, especially saturated fats. A 2000 calorie-a-day DASH diet plan comprises of six to eight servings of grains, four to five servings of fruits, four to five servings of vegetables, two to three servings of low fat or fat free dairy products, not more than six servings of lean meat, fish and poultry and two to three servings of fats and oil. Four to five servings of nuts, dry beans and seeds could be included in the diet each week.