Winston-Salem, NC--The DASH diet may reduce the risk of heart failure in people under 75, according to an observational studyby researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

“This research showed that following the DASH diet can reduce the risk of developing heart failure by almost half, which is better than any medicine," said the study’s lead author, Claudia L. Campos, M.D., associate professor of general internal medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine in a pressrelease.

Published in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicinein April 2019, the study looked at over 13 years of cardiovascular health records from 4,478 men and women. The subjects were of multiple ethnicities, between ages 45 and 84, and had no history of cardiovascular disease when they were enrolled in the study. Participants were divided into five groups based on how well their eating habits aligned with the DASH diet.

The risk of heart failure did not vary significantly by DASH compliance for the population as a whole, but it did for participants under 75, with those in the group with the highest DASH compliance group having an incidence rate 40% lower than those in the lowest compliance group.

“Heart failure is a frequent cause of hospitalization in older adults and is associated with substantial health care costs, so identifying modifiable risk factors for of heart failure is an important public health goal,” Dr. Campos said in the release. “This research provides a framework for further exploration of the DASH diet as an effective element in the primary prevention of heart failure.”