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Effects of vegetarian diets on blood pressure

Authors Yokoyama Y, Tsubota K, Watanabe M

Received 12 September 2015

Accepted for publication 18 February 2016

Published 28 April 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 57—64

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDS.S74715

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Simone Perna

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Gary Johanning

Yoko Yokoyama,1,2 Kazuo Tsubota,2,3 Mitsuhiro Watanabe1,2,4,5

1Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, 2Health Science Laboratory, 3Department of Ophthalmology, 4Department of Internal Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, 5Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan

Abstract: Hypertension is a major independent risk factor for coronary artery diseases, and the prevalence of hypertension is continuously increasing. Diet is an important factor that can be modified to prevent hypertension. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, dietary patterns are defined as the quantities, proportions, and variety or combinations of different foods and beverages in diets and the frequency with which they are habitually consumed. In this review, the vegetarian dietary pattern is introduced with a focus on the effect on blood pressure (BP). Although the available evidence is limited, according to a previous meta-analysis of controlled trials, vegetarian dietary patterns significantly reduced systolic and diastolic BPs. One of the common features of a vegetarian diet is weight loss, which might, at least partially, explain the effect on BP. Other possible factors such as sodium, potassium, protein, amino acids, vitamin B-12, antioxidants, fiber, and the microbiome are introduced as possible mechanisms. Further studies are needed with non-Western populations to determine the most effective vegetarian dietary pattern and to explore the exact mechanisms by which these dietary patterns affect BP.

Keywords: vegetarian diet, plant-based diet, blood pressure, hypertension, meta-analysis

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