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Dash Diet Proven To Reduce High Blood Pressure and Heart Failure Risks

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine recently posted the results to a study involving a special diet, and its effect on high blood pressure and heart failure risks in individuals under the age of 75. The study itself involved 4,500 people and took 13 years to complete. 

The subjects were all of different body types, ages, heights, weights, health factors, etc. but they all were instructed to remain on the Dash diet for the entirety of the study. Dash is actually an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, hypertension is just another medical term for abnormally high blood pressure. The general results for the study showed that the individuals who stuck to the Dash diet the most did have a significant decrease in risk for developing heart failure or hypertension. 

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“Only a few prior studies have examined the effects of the Dash diet on the incidence of heart failure, and they have yielded conflicting results. Following the Dash diet can reduce the risk of developing heart failure by almost half,” said Claudia Campos, associate professor of general internal medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, the school that lead the study.

The Dash diet works by telling you what kind of food groups you should be sticking to, and which things you should be cutting out of your diet entirely. The main component, however, is mainly what you’re cutting out that’s important to stick to. Salt, read meat, sweets/sugar-sweetened beverages, full cream, and alcoholic beverages should be cut out entirely and replaced with things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. 

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Dietitians working on the study also worked with the subjects on what lifestyle changes they can make that would help ease the complete dietary shift. They used another study performed by the American Heart Association about the process of eating slowly and its effect on over-indulgence.  That study proved that individuals who eat slower are less likely to “become obese or develop metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, or experience a stroke.” 

This has a lot to do with the fact that when you’re eating slower, you’re becoming more conscious of what’s on your plate, but also how full your body is getting. When we eat fast, it takes our minds a second to catch up with how full our stomachs are, so we keep eating. When we take our time while eating and drinking, it’s easier to listen to our bodies and stop overeating. 

The researchers behind the Dash Diet study also found that the individuals who strayed further away from the dietary restrictions as time progressed mainly fell into the temptation of snacking or ordering take out. One of the hardest parts of being on a restrictive diet is the cooking and meal preparation component. So it makes sense that take out was the biggest culprit behind people breaking their diets. However, the major concern behind snacking and take out is all the processed ingredients that are now entering the body. 

“People eat an average of 200 calories more per meal when they eat food from restaurants. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke. Together, heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other cause.Americans get 71% of their daily sodium from processed and restaurant food. Cooking for yourself is the safest and healthiest option,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.