DURHAM, N.C. Better adherence to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is associated with significant reductions in blood pressure. However, African-Americans may be less likely than whites to adopt the diet, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.
The findings, which appear online September 19 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggest that altering traditional recipes to meet nutritional guidelines rather than eliminating certain foods altogether may result in better adherence among African-Americans.
The DASH diet is recognized as the diet of choice for preventing and managing high blood pressure. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products, and is low in fats and cholesterol.
"Previous research, including results from our ENCORE study, established the DASH diet as an important approach for lowering blood pressure, and for some individuals, it may be an effective alternative to taking medication for hypertension," said James A. Blumenthal, PhD, professor of behavioral medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University Medical Center. "In this study we were interested in whether dietary adherence was related to blood pressure changes and what factors predicted who would adhere to the diet."
The study was a new analysis of data from the ENCORE trial, led by Duke researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of the DASH diet on cardiovascular health. Participants were 144 sedentary, overweight or obese adults, who had high blood pressure and were not taking medication.
Researchers measured a series of clinical and behavioral factors at the start of the study including blood pressure, weight, and physical fitness, as well as dietary habits. Depression, anxiety and social support were also evaluated as potential predictors of adherence to the regimen.
Participants were randomly assigned to o
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Duke University Medical Center