New research has found that people under 75 can reduce their risk of heart failure by adhering to a diet that had been recommended for people with high blood pressure.
The results, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that participants aged under 75 in the group with the highest adherence to the diet had a heart failure incidence rate that was 40 per cent lower than those in the lowest compliance group.
The study of almost 4500 people aged between 45 and 84 with no history of cardiovascular disease was started in 2000. Participants were asked 120 questions about their dietary habits and split into five groups based on eating habits.
The goal was to control hypertension – or high blood pressure – in participants who had no history of cardiovascular disease.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat diary foods, fish, poultry, nuts and beans. It is limited in red meat, salt, added fats and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet but differs in recommending low-fat dairy products and excluding alcohol.
“This research provides a framework for further exploration of the DASH diet as an effective element in the primary prevention of heart failure,” said lead author and associate professor of general internal medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine in the United States, Claudia Campos.
“Heart failure is a frequent cause of hospitalisation in older adults and is associated with substantial healthcare costs, so identifying modifiable risk factors for heart failure is an important public health goal. This research provides a framework for further exploration of the DASH diet as an effective element in the primary prevention of heart failure.”
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) says the DASH diet had been rated the best diet for overall health and wellness for five years in a row and it offers specific guidelines on types of food and serving sizes.
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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.