Adults with hypertension can lower their blood pressure by consuming less sodium and sticking to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. That’s according to preliminary data presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 in Anaheim.

Researchers, led by Stephen Juraschek, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, studied 412 adults of varying blood pressures, whom they placed for four weeks on either a low-sodium or a DASH diet, which centers on fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as low- or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts.

Previous studies had found that low-sodium and DASH diets can independently lower blood pressure, but this study is the first to examine the benefits for those with high blood pressure of combining the two.

The researchers found that patients on the low-sodium diet had lower blood pressure than those who ate higher-sodium foods, and those on the DASH diet also lowered their blood pressure compared to those who weren’t on the diet, but ate similar amounts of sodium. And when patients combined a low-sodium, DASH diet, they too lowered their blood pressure compared to those who ate high-sodium diets.

And as one might imagine, those with higher blood pressures to begin with experienced the most dramatic decreases in blood pressure when they ate a low-sodium DASH diet when compared with those who weren’t on the diet.

“This study provides compelling evidence that people who adhere to a DASH diet improve at all levels of hypertension risk,” said Benjamin Hirsch, of Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in New York, reports HealthDay.

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