November 27, 2017


Participants with pre- or stage 1 hypertension experienced significant reductions in high systolic blood pressure (SBP) levels when following a low-sodium DASH diet, according to the findings of a recent study.

The researchers analyzed data on 412 participants involved in the DASH-Sodium trial who had pre- or stage 1 hypertension but were not receiving antihypertension medications (mean age 48 years, 57% women, 57% black). Participants were randomly assigned to either a control diet or DASH diet and stratified by baseline SBP (below 130 mm Hg, 130 to 139 mm Hg, 140 to 149 mm Hg, and 150 or greater mm Hg). In addition, the participants consumed each of 3 sodium levels (50, 100, and 150 mmol/day at 2100 kcal) over 4 weeks, which were assigned in random order and separated by 5-day breaks.

Overall, reduced sodium intake was associated with reductions in the mean SBP among participants receiving the control diet. The mean SBP differences from high to low sodium intake were -3.20, -8.56, -8.99, and -7.07 mm Hg among those with baseline SBP below 130 mm Hg, from 130 to 139 mm Hg, from 140 to 149 mm Hg, and from 150 or greater mm Hg, respectively.

Compared with the control group, participants who received the DASH diet with high sodium levels experienced mean SBP differences of -4.5, -4.3, -4.7, and -10.6 mm Hg in each baseline SBP group, respectively. The low-sodium DASH diet reduced the mean SBP by -5.3, -7.5, -9.7 and -20.8 in each baseline SBP group, respectively, compared with the high-sodium control diet.

“The combination of reduced sodium intake and the DASH diet lowered SBP throughout the range of pre- and stage 1 hypertension, with progressively greater reductions at higher levels of baseline SBP,” the researchers concluded. “SBP reductions in adults with the highest levels of SBP (≥150 mm Hg) were striking and reinforce the importance of both sodium reduction and the DASH diet in this high-risk group.”

“Further research is needed to determine the effects of these interventions among adults with SBP ≥160 mm Hg.”


Juraschek SP, Miller MR, Weaver CM, Appel LJ. Effects of sodium reduction and the DASH diet in relation to baseline blood pressure [published online November 12, 2017]. J Am Coll Cardiol.