According to one study, a little exercise and the DASH diet lead to a remarkable reduction in blood pressure and weight loss.
Lifestyle change is a powerful way to reduce the need for antihypertensive drugs in overweight or obese people.
The study involved a group of overweight and obese adults with high blood pressure.
They followed a 16-week program that included the DASH diet, weight management, and exercise.
The subjects’ blood pressure was between 130/80 mmHg and 160/99 mmHg, but none were on medication for hypertension.
They focused on the DASH diet with the help of the study nutritionist, attended exercise sessions 3 times per week, and one cognitive behavioral weight loss treatment session each week.
“DASH” stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), a diet designed to combat high blood pressure.
The DASH diet involves eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and also includes fish, poultry, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetable oils.
During the exercise sessions, participants warmed up for 10 minutes, then they participated in 30-minute high-intensity aerobic activities like cycling or jogging, followed by a 5-minute cool-down workout.
After 16 weeks of following the plan, participants lost 8.7 kg (19 pounds) and saw a 16 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 10 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure.
Those who followed the DASH diet alone saw an 11 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and an 8 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure, but only lost 0.3 kg of weight.
Dr Alan Hinderliter, first author of the study, said:
“Lifestyle modifications, including healthier diets and regular exercise, can significantly reduce the number of patients who need antihypertensive drugs.
This is especially the case in people whose blood pressure is between 130 and 160 mmHg systolic and between 80 and 99 mmHg diastolic.
The aim of this study was to find out whether the DASH diet alone or combined with aerobic exercise could reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure.
These results confirmed that a lifestyle modification that included a healthy diet combined with physical fitness and a cognitive-behavioral weight management plan would lead to impressive weight loss and lower blood pressure.
The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s 2018 Articular Hypertension Scientific Sessions.