Eating fruits, vegetables and low-fat foods can quickly lower high blood pressure, researchers reported Wednesday.
The study, by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and other institutions, found that a diet high in produce and low in fat gave people with high blood pressure reductions similar to those achieved by medications, Johns Hopkins said in a release."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," said Dr. Lawrence Appel, a Johns Hopkins medicine professor and a researcher in the study.
Results were to be presented at an American Heart Association scientific conference in New Orleans Wednesday.
Participants in the study ate a diet of nine to 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables and three daily servings of low-fat dairy products. That is about double the amount of such foods in most Americans' diets.
Others ate diets with extra fruits and vegetables only, and a third group ate normal American diets relatively high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables.
The study found those eating extra produce but normal fat amounts had smaller reductions in blood pressure.
The diet-linked reductions were noted within two weeks of the study's beginning, Johns Hopkins said.
It said blood pressure reductions were noted among all participants eating the high-produce, low-fat diets, although reductions were larger among patients with high blood pressure.
The study, known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension study, included 459 adults with systolic blood pressure of less than 160 millimeters (120 is considered normal) and diastolic presure of 80-95 millimeters (80 is considered normal).
The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.