DASH Diet Helps Improve Sodium Excretion
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet lowers elevated
blood pressure, but its mechanism of action has been
unclear. A new study shows that the DASH diet works like a diuretic
drug, improving the excretion of sodium in the urine.
randomized 375 people with prehypertension or hypertension
to follow either the DASH diet (which is rich in fruits, vegetables,
and low-fat dairy foods) or a typical American diet for three
30-day periods. For each period, the sodium level of the diet
varied, so that each participant ate a low, moderate, and high-sodium
diet in random order.
People following the DASH diet excreted
more salt in their urine and lowered their blood pressure more
than those receiving
typical diet. The DASH diet was more effective in people
with higher sodium intakes (indicating that its main blood pressure-lowering
effect is through sodium excretion). Also, the diet was more
effective in those with hypertension, in blacks, and in people
age 45 and older.
The researchers hypothesize that minerals
such as potassium and calcium, which are abundant in the DASH
diet, may contribute
to its ability to eliminate sodium from the body.
Volume 42, page 8