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DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is the name of the research study that looked at the effects of eating patterns on blood pressure. From this study came the DASH diet—a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, and low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol. The DASH diet is an example of what is generally considered to be a heart-healthy diet. This diet was shown to significantly reduce blood pressure and is often recommended to people with hypertension. The DASH diet combined with a low sodium intake can reduce blood pressure even further, as well as reduce bone loss and homocysteine levels. (Reducing sodium works for some but not all people. For more information, see "Reducing Your Sodium Intake," below.)
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Modifying your diet to make it more healthful should have few, if any, side effects. If you have a serious health condition, consult with your physician or another trusted health provider before you make any drastic changes.