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Vegetarian diet lowers blood pressure

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By David Liu, PHD

Monday Sept 10, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study published Jan 2012 in Public Health Nutrition found that eating a vegetarian diet lowered blood pressure.

The early version of same study was to examine the effect of vegetarian diet on blood pressure.  The current study titled Vegetarian diets and blood pressure among white subjects: results from the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2)  was meant to examine the variation of the anti-hypertensive effect among vegans, lacto-ovo and omnivores.

Here is what Betty J Pettersena at School of Public Health, Loma Linda University in California and colleagues found:

The vegan vegetarians had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure (mmHg) than omnivorous Adventists.  A similar finding was  also observed for acto-ovo vegetarians. 

The vegetarians (mainly the vegans) were less likely to be users of antihypertensive medications.  Vegans had the lowest blood pressure followed by lacto-ovo vegetarians and partial vegetarians, compared with omnivores.

The antihypertensive effect of vegetarian diet became less significant after adjustment for body mass index.

The researchers concluded "Vegetarians, especially vegans, with otherwise diverse characteristics but stable diets, do have lower systolic and diastolic BP (blood pressure) and less hypertension than omnivores. This is only partly due to their lower body mass."

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