Diet Combining Fruits, Vegetables And Low-Fat Foods Lowers Blood Pressure

November 14, 1996

A diet high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and other low-fat foods significantly and quickly lowers blood pressure, according to a multicenter study that includes Johns Hopkins.

The results suggest that the diet, when added to other "heart-healthy" habits, may prevent high blood pressure and reduce the need for high blood pressure medication in people with hypertension, the researchers say. Fifty million U.S. residents have high blood pressure, while the general population is at high risk for developing hypertension in part because of poor eating habits.

The study, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, will be presented Nov. 13 at the American Heart Association's 69th annual Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

"It's already known that three dietary factors -- salt, body weight and alcohol -- affect blood pressure, but our findings are important because they identify a fourth factor: the pattern of food we eat," says Lawrence Appel, M.D., the study's principal investigator at Hopkins and an associate professor of medicine.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study included 459 adults with systolic blood pressure of less than 160 mm Hg and diastolic pressure of 80-95 mm Hg. Researchers examined the impact on blood pressure of whole dietary patterns rather than of individual nutrients.

Participants ate one of three diets for eight weeks: a typical American diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables; a diet high in fruits and vegetables; or a combination diet low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, which are high in fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Among all participants, the combination diet reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 5.5 mm Hg and diastolic pressure by an average of 3.0 mm Hg. The diet high in fruits and vegetables also reduced blood pressure, but to a smaller extent. The reductions occurred within two weeks of the start of the study.

Among those with hypertension, the combination diet reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 11.4 mm Hg and diastolic pressure by an average of 5.5 mm Hg. The reductions were similar to those achieved with blood pressure medication.

About 50 percent of participants were women and 60 percent were African-Americans, who suffer from hypertension earlier and more often than whites. The diet was tested without changes in weight, salt intake and alcohol consumption.

The DASH combination diet provided nine to 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables (about twice the current amount in Americans' diets) and three daily servings of low-fat dairy products (about double the current amount).

Other centers in the study were the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Duke University Medical Center and the Kaiser Permanente Center for health Research.

--JHMI--Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions' news releases can be accessed on-line through the following services:

World Wide Web at http://infonet.welch.jhu.edu/news/news_releases
CompuServe in the SciNews-MedNews library of the Journalism Forum under file extension ".JHM"; also in NASW Online in same forum.
JHMI toll-free Health NewsFeed BBS at 1-800-JHH-0046. Quadnet: send email to: scitech@quadnet.vyne.com. In the body of the message type "info Quadnet."
To enroll in our direct e-mail news release service, call 410-955-4288.


Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related Blood Pressure Articles from Brightsurf:

Children who take steroids at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots
Children who take oral steroids to treat asthma or autoimmune diseases have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clots, according to Rutgers researchers.

High blood pressure treatment linked to less risk for drop in blood pressure upon standing
Treatment to lower blood pressure did not increase and may decrease the risk of extreme drops in blood pressure upon standing from a sitting position.

Changes in blood pressure control over 2 decades among US adults with high blood pressure
National survey data were used to examine how blood pressure control changed overall among U.S. adults with high blood pressure between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018 and by age, race, insurance type and access to health care.

Transient increase in blood pressure promotes some blood vessel growth
Blood vessels are the body's transportation system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and whisking away waste.

Effect of reducing blood pressure medications on blood pressure control in older adults
Whether the amount of blood pressure medications taken by older adults could be reduced safely and without a significant change in short-term blood pressure control was the objective of this randomized clinical trial that included 534 adults 80 and older.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

Here's something that will raise your blood pressure
The apelin receptor (APJ) has been presumed to play an important role in the contraction of blood vessels involved in blood pressure regulation.

New strategy for treating high blood pressure
The key to treating blood pressure might lie in people who are 'resistant' to developing high blood pressure even when they eat high salt diets, shows new research published today in Experimental Physiology.

Arm cuff blood pressure measurements may fall short for predicting heart disease risk in some people with resistant high blood pressure
A measurement of central blood pressure in people with difficult-to-treat high blood pressure could help reduce risk of heart disease better than traditional arm cuff readings for some patients, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Heating pads may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure when lying down
In people with supine hypertension due to autonomic failure, a condition that increases blood pressure when lying down, overnight heat therapy significantly decreased systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo.

Read More: Blood Pressure News and Blood Pressure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.