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DASH Diet For Heart Disease: It Could Reduce The Risk By 10%, Study

The DASH diet is designed to combat blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. This diet is especially relevant today, considering the rampant hike in the number of individuals suffering from heart disease, kidney failure and stroke [1].

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was developed to prevent or treat hypertension and focuses on the incorporation of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat into one's daily diet.

And according to a recent study, a person's chances of developing cardiovascular disease can be reduced by up to 10 per cent by switching to the DASH diet or a diet rich in fruits and vegetables [2]. Let's take a look at the important points from the study.

DASH Diet For Heart Disease

Here are the important points from the study linking DASH diet and heart health:

Point 1: Following a 3-week stay on a typical American diet [3] containing little fresh produce, high total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, the participants were randomly divided into three groups. Each group then followed a different diet for 8 weeks.

Point 2: As part of the control group, individuals continued to follow the original diet. In the second group, fruit and vegetables were added to the original diet. In the third group, those following the DASH diet followed the diet.

Point 3: Researchers used the Pooled Cohort Equation to estimate the participants' atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk following the 8-week diet period [4].

Note: The pooled cohort equations (PCE) were introduced in 2013 as means of estimating the 10-year absolute rate of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events in primary prevention populations based on sex and race.

Point 4: It was found that the DASH diet resulted in a reduction in 10-year ASCVD risk of 10.3 per cent when compared with the control diet, and that it reduced it by 9.9 per cent when compared with the fruit and vegetable-rich diet.

Point 5: With an absolute difference of 0.15 per cent, fewer than two out of a thousand people may be prevented from experiencing a cardiovascular event by changing their diet over the next ten years.

Point 6: The DASH diet also reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol. A number of tweaks have been recommended to improve the DASH diet, including increasing the consumption of healthy forms of unsaturated fats, although the health implications of lowering HDL cholesterol are unclear.

Point 7: Compared with men, the DASH diet reduced 10-year risk more than twice as much in women. The relative risk reduction for women was 13 per cent, while it was just 6 per cent for men.

Point 8: According to the pooled estimation equation, DASH lowered HDL cholesterol at a greater rate than fruit/vegetable diet, which did not affect the risk factors as much as DASH did. Due to the differences in impact of these risk factors on 10-year CVD risk according to sex and race, DASH was observed to lower risk more among women and Black adults.

On A Final Note...

In their conclusion, the researchers urge caution in interpreting their findings and emphasize the need for further research.

By reducing the consumption of processed foods and added salt, the DASH diet is also rich in potassium and calcium and contains a moderate amount of sodium. The DASH diet has very low dietary acid load than typical diets, which is linked with reduced risk of kidney diseases [5].

The diet is also said to have a positive impact on weight loss, reducing cancer risk, lowering metabolic syndrome risk, reducing the risk of diabetes as well as heart disease risks.

Story first published: Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 17:05 [IST]
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