DASH Diet 101: What You Need to Know

Get the scoop on this popular eating plan.

DASH Diet 101: What You Need to Know

As part of our Great Diet Showdown, Dr. Michael Roizen is giving us a closer look at the DASH plan to help you understand if it's right for you. The DASH Diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It was originally developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in order to lower blood pressure and promote healthy bodies. As always, make sure to speak to your physician before starting a new eating plan. Read on to get the scoop!

More: DASH Diet Guide


It's Ranked #1

For several years in a row, health experts from US News & World Report have ranked the DASH Diet as the best diet overall because of its “nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and role in supporting heart health.” Research has shown that the DASH Diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks. However, because it promotes a healthy way of eating, it offers health benefits besides just lowering blood pressure. It may provide protection against osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Watch: Dr. Oz Explains the Dash Diet

Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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