Low Sodium-DASH Diet Combo Best for Hypertensive Adults?

NOVEMBER 13, 2017
A low sodium-DASH diet combination lowers blood pressure (BP) in adults with hypertension, according to the results of preliminary research at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2017.

In the study, 412 adults with pre- or stage 1 hypertension, not using antihypertensive medications, were assigned to either the DASH or control diet group. DASH diets, which are recommended by the US-based National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the AHA, include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, along with low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. Participants in the control diet group remained on their regular diet.

Within their assigned groups, participants were given each of 3 sodium levels (50, 100, and 150 mmol/d at 2100kcal) in random order over a 4-week period, separated by 5-day breaks. Compared with the high-sodium control diet, the low sodium-DASH diet lowered systolic blood pressure (SBP) by -5.30, -7.48, -9.70, and -20.79 mmHg across strata of baseline SBP (<130, 130-139, 140-149, and ³150 mm Hg, respectively).

Overall, the researchers found that:
  • Participants who reduced their sodium intake had lower SBP than adults that had high sodium consumption,
  • Participants who followed the DASH diet but did not reduce sodium intake also had lower BP than those with similar sodium intake but not on the DASH diet, and
  • Participants on the combined diet had lower BP, compared with those with high sodium intake eating their regular diet.
The greatest reduction in BP was found in participants with SBP over 150 mmHG at baseline, according to the researchers. They noted that the decrease in BP among participants increased with their severity of hypertension.

Although the evidence reinforces the importance of dietary changes in high-risk groups, the researchers concluded that further research is needed to determine if the combination diet has the same effect on adults with SBP above 160 mmHg, as well as in other conditions.


Juraschek SP, Miller ER, Weaver CM, et al. Effects of sodium reduction and the DASH diet in relation to baseline blood pressure. Presented at: American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017. November 11-15, 2017. Anaheim, California.

Low sodium-DASH diet combination dramatically lowers blood pressure in hypertensive adults [news release]. Anaheim CA; November 12, 2017. newsroom.heart.org/news/low-sodium-dash-diet-combination-dramatically-lowers-blood-pressure-in-hypertensive-adults?preview=9afa. Accessed November 13, 2017.