Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Blood Pressure Reduced through Vegetarian Diet

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Blood Pressure Reduced through Vegetarian Diet

Article excerpt

A new scientific review shows that high blood pressure (hypertension) can be reduced with dietary changes, especially a vegetarian diet. Hypertension has also been called "the silent killer" because symptoms are not always obvious.

The report, analyzing the results of published studies, concludes that vegetarian populations have lower rates of hypertension. Susan E. Berkow, Ph.D., C.N.S., and Neal D. Barnard, M.D., are the authors of the report.

Included in the analysis are studies published in The Lancet and Journal of the American Medical Association. In addition to the population trends, these studies show that individual patients also experience the blood pressure lowering effect of a vegetarian diet.

Vegetarians tend to be slimmer, on average, and that may be one reason why their blood pressure is often in the healthy range. Other mechanisms include the typical vegetarian's higher intake of potassium as well as the tendency of plant-based foods to modulate blood viscosity. As blood pressure is lowered, vegetarians experience a reduced risk of stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

Dr. Berkow, lead author of the study, says, "Many people fear the side effects of blood pressure-lowering drugs, along with the expense. …

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