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DASH-Style Diet May Reduce Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke

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Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH for short, is a dietery pattern designed to lower blood pressure. In a new analysis of data from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), the DASH diet has been shown to reduce the risk for both coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. It appears that individuals who best adhere to this kind of diet over the long term, enjoy the biggest reduction of risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.

88,517 women, between the ages of 34 and 59 years, who participated in study were free of cardiovascular disease or diabetes at enrollment. Researchers scored adherence to the DASH-style based on consumption of 8 food catagories: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy products, red and processed meats, sweetened beverages and sodium.

Table 1: Study results
End Point Relative Risk (95 % CI) P
Total CHD 0.76 (0.67 - 0.85) < .0001
Nonfatal CHD 0.78 (0.67 - 0.90) .002
Fatal CHD 0.71 (0.58 - 0.89) .001
Total stroke 0.82 (0.71 - 0.94) .002
Ischemic stroke 0.89 (0.73 - 1.07) .13
Hemorrhagic stroke 0.86 (0.62 - 1.18) .56

During 24 years of follow-up a 24 % reduction in CHD events and an 18 % reduction in stroke was reported among women who adhered more closely to DASH pattern of eating (those in the top 20 % for adherence to the DASH diet vs those in the bottom 20 %). Age, smoking and other cardiovascular risk factors were taken into consideration in calculating the relative risk. The DASH diet, particularly in combination with restricted sodium, was shown to have a positive effect in the lowering of blood pressure thus being advocated as a healthy eating pattern. However, the benefit of the DASH diet was greater for women with hypertension at baseline as compared to those without hypertension.

Once again we can see that our diet has a great impact our health. After all, we are what we eat.

Source: DASH-Style Diet May Reduce Risk for CHD and Stroke (Medscape)

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