Blood pressure–lowering diet may also reduce risk of heart disease

(The JHU Gazette) — A new study suggests yet another reason for Americans to abandon their current fatty diets in favor of one rich in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat. Choosing these healthier options appears to significantly reduce the long-term risk of heart disease in patients with mildly elevated blood pressure, particularly African-Americans.

Long known to reduce blood pressure and now recommended in national guidelines, this healthier diet—known as the DASH diet for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension—also reduces heart disease risk, even in people who do not lose weight, according to a Johns Hopkins study published online Aug. 31 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“One of the most noteworthy findings is the remarkable reduction in heart disease risk among African-Americans,” said Nisa M. Maruthur, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the study’s authors. “African-Americans in the United States tend to have worse outcomes than whites from cardiovascular disease, and here is one way they may be able to help prevent it.”

The DASH eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products; includes whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts; and is reduced in fats, red meat, sweets and sugar-containing beverages.


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