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Leaving meat out of your diet may lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure is a serious problem which is associated with heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss, erectile dysfunction, fluid in the lungs angina, and peripheral artery disease, reports the American Heart Association. Your blood pressure may be lower if you do not eat meat, reported MedPage Today on Feb. 24, 2014.

A nutritious, delicious veggie salad
A nutritious, delicious veggie salad
MorgueFile/Freephoto

Researchers found vegetarians had lower blood pressure than their omnivorous counterparts. According to Yoko Yokoyama, PhD, MPH, of the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, and colleagues, in controlled trials blood pressure was an average of 4.8/2.2 mm Hg lower among vegetarians in controlled trials and 6.9/4.7 mm Hg lower in cross-sectional studies. The findings have been reported online in JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers have suggested that such meat free diets could be a useful nonpharmacologic means for lowering blood pressure.

The reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure seen with adherence to a vegetarian diet were observed to be similar to those observed with commonly recommended lifestyle modifications, such as adoption of a low-sodium diet or a weight reduction of 5 kg (11 lbs). This is significant in consideration that a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 5 mm Hg is expected to result in a 7 percent lowering in all-cause mortality, and a 9 percent and 14 percent lowering in mortality due to coronary heart disease and stroke, respectively.

The National Institutes of Health has reported has reported on research which had a goal of comparing the prevalence of self-reported hypertension and mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures in four diet groups, including meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegan. In this study it was concluded non-meat eaters, particularly vegans, have a lower prevalence of hypertension and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures than meat eaters. Clearly, the evidence is compelling that a meat free diet may be a good way to help control blood pressure naturally.

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