How does diet affect hypertension?
Hypertension can also benefit from dietary management. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study used the average American diet as the control and the DASH diet as the intervention. Like the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet had significantly more fruit, vegetables, low fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts than the control diet.
The benefit of salt restriction is less clear than the benefit of the whole diet approach. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) agrees with the link between hypertension and salt, but concludes that there is insufficient data to support conclusions at levels less than 2,300 mg/day for the general population or for patients with diabetes, kidney disease, and coronary disease. The IOM cites studies that less than 1,840 mg/day may increase risk for patients with heart failure. For most patients, the IOM recommends reducing sodium intake from the current population average of 3,400 mg/day, but not less than 2,300 mg/day.