Current national guidelines aimed at preventing and treating hypertension recommend controlling body weight, reducing salt and alcohol consumption, and possibly increasing dietary potassium. A vegetarian diet is also associated with lower blood pressure (BP), although studies have not revealed what component(s) of such a diet might be responsible.

The DASH study was designed to test the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. Rather than using supplements to study single nutrients, the study used whole foods.

The diet retained the BP benefits of a vegetarian diet but included enough meat and dairy products to make it acceptable to the general population.