OSAKA, JapanDietary modifications, such as losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption, have proved effective for preventing and managing hypertension, and now a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests following an vegetarian diet also helps to lower blood pressure.
Researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials and observational studies that examined the association between vegetarian diets and blood pressure. The research team analyzed seven clinical trials and 32 studies published from 1900 to 2013 in which participants consumed a vegetarian diet Net differences in blood pressure associated with eating a vegetarian diet were measured.
They found eating a vegetarian diet was associated with a reduction in the average systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared with eating a plant- and animal-based diet. In the 32 studies, eating a vegetarian diet was associated with lower average systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared with omnivorous diets.
"Further studies are required to clarify which types of vegetarian diets are most strongly associated with lower blood pressure," the researchers said Research into the implementation of such diets, either as public health initiatives aiming at prevention of hypertension or in clinical settings, would also be of great potential value."
In June 2013, another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found individuals, particularly men, who consume a vegetarian diet have a lower risk of death compared to non-vegetarians. The findings support previous studies that have shown the association between vegetarian diets and reductions in risk for several chronic diseases, including hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus and ischemic heart disease (IHD).