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Vegetables (Photo credit: mhaller1979)


TIME to check your diet, and see if it includes more vegetables. A new study revealed that people who are nourished by plant-based foods tend to have lower blood pressure than people who consume meat for protein. After subjecting almost 4,700 middle-aged adults from the United Kingdom, United States, China, and Japan, the group of Dr. Paul Elliott of Imperial College London recommended that adults should eat more vegetable protein—from grains, vegetables, beans, and fruits—for a better cardiovascular health. Interestingly, the benefit from consuming plant-based protein is independent from other factors such as exercise, sodium intake, and body weight. The study found that, in general, average blood pressure levels dropped as vegetable protein intake increased, which is quite the opposite for animal protein intake.

According to Elliott and his colleagues, it was difficult to pinpoint why vegetable proteins are associated with lower blood pressure. But, they noted that by eating a lot of vegetable protein, people tend to take in high amounts of fiber and magnesium, which may account for some blood pressure effects. Also, vegetable proteins contain specific amino acids that, according to research, help control blood pressure. The study concludes ihat the results are consistent with current recommendations of health professionals that a diet•high in vegetable products be part of a healthy lifestyle for prevention of high-blood pressure and related chronic diseases.