Last updated: Nov 17, 2008
While there are many heart-healthy diets, the DASH diet, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has some of the strongest science behind it. The plan, which is heavy on fruits and vegetables but low in fat and sodium, can reduce systolic blood pressure (the upper number) by about 12 points and diastolic pressure (the lower number) by about six points. It has been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels by about 7%.