High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease. However, eating a vegetarian diet may help lower blood pressure, suggests a new analysis published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Previous research has suggested a link between vegetarian diets and lower blood pressure. For the present study, researchers from Osaka, Japan sought to examine the association by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials and observational studies on the relationship between vegetarian diets and lower blood pressure.
The researchers defined vegetarian diets as diet that exclude or rarely include meat but that include dairy products, fish, and eggs.
According to the meta-analysis, vegetarian diets are associated with lower blood pressure compared to diets that include meat. The reduction in blood pressure is similar to the health benefits of a low sodium diet or a weight reduction of five kilograms.
Additionally, reducing systolic blood pressure by 5 mm Hg lowers the risk of death from coronary heart disease by nine percent and the risk of death from stroke by 14 percent.
Some hypotheses for the reduction in blood pressure associated with vegetarian diets include the higher fiber and lower fat content of vegetarian diets compared to omnivorous diets, higher potassium levels and lower sodium levels of vegetarian diets compared to omnivorous diets, and lower saturated fatty acids and higher polyunsaturated fatty acids of vegetarian diets compared to omnivorous diets.
The researchers do warn that the meta-analysis includes some problems such as that not all of the studies reviewed took certain factors into account such as exercise and other lifestyle factors. The exact contents of a vegetarian diet may also differ from person to person and country to country.
As the researchers conclude, “Further studies are needed to explore the relationships between specific foods and nutrients and blood pressure. Nevertheless, the results of the meta-analysis of the controlled trials suggest a robust relationship between consumption of vegetarian diets and lower blood pressure.”
Vegetarian Diet Could Be Used to Lower Bblood Pressure: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/273109.php
Vegetarian Diets and Blood Pressure: A Meta-analysis: https://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832195
Zucchini on Grill: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1430032