Blood pressure and a Vegetarian Diet
Recent research from Japan (Vegetarian Diet Cuts Blood Pressure in Meta-Analysis. Medscape. Feb 24, 2014) suggests that a vegetarian diet helps reduce blood pressure with almost the same impact that starting pharmaceutical treatments have with none of the side effects that drugs have. On the contrary, benefits of a vegetarian diet include: weight loss, lower cholesterol, and better blood sugar control, among others.
The researchers reviewed over 250 studies addressing vegetarian diets, ultimately including seven clinical trials (six of which were randomized) and 32 observational studies that included blood-pressure findings. They found that reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly greater for the vegetarian diets than for the comparator (omnivorous) diets, both in the pooled clinical trials and in the pooled observational studies.
With respect to the benefits of a vegetarian diet, issue was examined by nearly 40 independent studies, some of which had hundreds or even thousands of participants and the consistent findings were that a vegetarian diet is clearly associated with lower blood pressure. In effect, a non-vegetarian diet is linked to higher blood pressure.
The researchers recommend that doctors first recommend plant-based diet to lower blood pressure and prescribe medications, only if diet changes don’t work (Vegetarian Diet Cuts Blood Pressure in Meta-Analysis. Medscape. Feb 24, 2014).