To Your Health
August, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 08)
Go Plant-Based; Your Blood Pressure Will Thank You for It
By Editorial Staff
As we mentioned last issue, plant-based is trending, particularly in terms of the health benefits and in comparison to a diet higher in animal-based foods. This issue, we explore the power of a plant-based diet to reduce your risk of high blood pressure – not just instead of a diet high in meat / dairy products, but even when you include some meat and dairy into your meal plan.
In a research review involving nearly 8,500 participants spanning 41 different studies, plant-based diets reduced blood pressure compared to a control "usual" diet (one we could assume included plenty of meat and dairy, as eaten by the average American). The studies focused on different plant-based diets, including the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, vegetarian and vegan diets, but all appeared to reduce blood pressure to some degree.
While some of the diets eliminate meat and dairy altogether, not all do. However, the analysis, published in the Journal of Hypertension, revealed that even diets which allow for minimal meat and dairy consumption are effective in reducing blood pressure. (In fact, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension [DASH] diet, which proved most effective in lowering BP, allows for low-fat dairy, some poultry, and red meat in small amounts.) That means if you can't quit the meat and dairy altogether, you're not doomed; just focus on eating more plant-based foods and fewer meat- / dairy-based foods. Your blood pressure will thank you.
Keep in mind that reducing your blood pressure also reduces your risk of some of the life-threatening consequences of high BP – namely heart attack and stroke. So eating more plant-based foods isn't just good for your blood pressure; it could end up saving your life. Talk to your doctor for more information.