What is DASH diet?

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What is DASH diet? Blog Image


A recent study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology showed a higher incidence of heart attacks, heart failure and strokes with higher frequency of adding salt to one’s food. This did not include the salt used for cooking.

Why in News?

  • It was found that adding less salt with food was associated with fewer heart attacks and strokes.
  • This was found to be true even in participants who were following the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
  • DASH is the best recommended diet to prevent cardiovascular events.
  • DASH diet involves eating fruits, vegetables, lean meat, poultry, nuts, whole grains, and reducing the intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, and sugar.
  • The WHO recommends only 5gm of salt per day. The recent study points to the immense benefit of avoiding salt on the table.
  • India:
    • A consumption of more than 10 gm per day, far exceeding the recommended allowance.
    • It could be worse in children since the recommendation is almost half.
    • A study conducted by Sapiens heath foundation amongst school and college students in Chennai showed a 10% prevalence of hypertension.
    • Intake of salt may be worse in Indians since pickles are often introduced early in life.
    • It contains hidden salt in preserved and packaged foods.
    • The consumer is not given a choice to choose food items based on salt content.
  • Salt substitutes:
    • Salt substitutes are good since majority of them contain upto 25% potassium chloride.
    • A 2001 study found salt substitutes reduced the incidence of stroke and heart attack by almost 10%, and deaths too.


Q1) How did the DASH diet originate?

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet originated in the 1990s. In 1992, the National Institute of Health (NIH) started funding several research projects to see if specific dietary interventions were useful in treating hypertension.

Source: The Hindu