Tuesday, April 15, 2008


The latest issue of the Archives of internal medicine published the latest findings on the Nurses Health Study that started 25years ago when about 88,000 middle age nurses were followed up. There were many facets to the study, but one of interest to us was the cohort that followed a DASH diet ( a diet high in plant foods, and low in animal fats and salt ) to see the incidence of hypertension, and the resulting stroke and CAD incidences. After 25 years of follow up, there was an obvious lower incidence of strokes and CAD. In fact, the investigators were able to relate the incidences of the events with the ability to continue with the DASH diet, not to forget that over 25 years, the commitment to remain on the diet also waned. Those who adhere strictest, had the most benefit and vice versa. The hardest part of the DASH diet most difficult to adhere to was the low salt component. The modern day, fast life culture forces most of us to take preserve foods which invariably come with sodium salt being used as preservatives. That aside, it is important to note that the DASH diet require only minor modification of what Malaysians are eating. We do have a healthy supply of plant based foods ( if you do not mind some pesticides , but that is another story ), and also we can easily minimize animal fats. Notice that we all do not need to be vegetarian, like our new health minister. The DASH diet has almost no side effects ( barring the pesticides ), and is relatively cheap. Perhaps we should lobby the Ministry of Health to lessen the level of preservatives and salt in preserved foods, now that we have a vegetarian, nutritionist as a Health Minister. Please note that this is a nurses health study, and I mean we are talking about females who benefit from DASH, just in case I did not emphasize it enough.

No comments: