Vegetarian Diet Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

Feb 25, 2014 04:00 PM EST | By Dina Exil

  • print
fruits and veggies
A vegetarian diets rank as superior in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, and subsequent heart damage. (Photo : Flickr)

A new study finds that vegetarians have lower blood pressure and that a vegetarian diet ranked as superior in reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

According to Reuters, scientists in the United States and Japan conducted a "meta-analysis" of 39 high-quality, studies from 18 countries. The studies involved more than 21,000 participants. The researchers found that people who avoid meat had lower blood pressure levels.

Like Us on Facebook

"Consumption of vegetarian diets is associated with lower [blood pressure]," the study's conclusion read. "Such diets could be a useful nonpharmacologic means for reducing [blood pressure]."

High blood pressure can increase a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disorders and other health problems. Victims usually are prescribed medication as a form of treatment. However, the cost of medication and the possible side effects can be issues.

A vegetarian diet excludes individuals from eating meat, but may include dairy products and eggs. The diet places an emphasis on food that includes vegetables, grains, legumes and fruits.

"If a diet change can prevent blood pressure problems or can reduce blood pressure, it would give hope to many people," Yoko Yokoyama, lead author told Reuters Health in an email. "However, in order to make healthful food choices, people need guidance from scientific studies. Our analysis found that vegetarian diets lower blood pressure very effectively, and the evidence for this is now quite conclusive."

According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure readings under 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic (120/80) are considered normal. Clinical hypertension pressure starts at 140/90.

Research found that those who had a consistent vegetarian diet had an average systolic blood pressure of about 7 mm Hg lower, and a diastolic blood pressure that was 5 mm Hg lower, "than blood pressure readings of those who regularly ate meat and meat products."

"I would encourage physicians to prescribe plant-based diets as a matter of routine, and to rely on medications only when diet changes do not do the job," Yokoyama said. "And I would encourage everyone to try a plant-based diet, and especially to introduce plant-based diets to their children - they could prevent many health problems."

The results appeared in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.

© 2015 Food World News. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Get the Most Popular Food Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
TrendingOn The Web
Food Biz
Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Sees Success In Small Pack Sizes

Coca-Cola has pointed to further signs that its turnround plan is starting to gain traction, as it reported higher earnings despite an increase in advertising costs and strong currency movements that hurt its revenues.

Mentos

Packaging of Mentos Gum Brand Deceives Customers, Lawsuit Says

The maker of a popular breath mint and gum brand is being sued in federal court over allegations that the company uses a packaging that is too large for the amount of product contained inside.

Dominique Ansel

Eater Names the 21 Best New Restaurants in America

Popular food website Eater has just released their annual list of the best new restaurants in North America.

Food Tech
Starbucks

Starbucks Partners With Lyft for My Starbucks Rewards

To expand the loyalty program of Starbucks beyond its cafes, the firm has announced its partnership with Lyft, a ride sharing company. The deal allows the drivers and passengers to earn loyalty 'stars' which can be exchanged with and drinks in any Starbucks outlet.

Cous-cous

Foodini: This Device Changes The Future of Cooking [PHOTOS]

3D printed food isn’t what you'd expect it to be.

Real Time Analytics