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Herbivores Have Better Hearts: Going Veg Helps Cut Blood Pressure

Update Date: Feb 24, 2014 04:55 PM EST

Going veg could lower your blood pressure, according to scientists.

New research reveals that eating a plant-based diet is equivalent to losing 11 pounds in terms of lowering blood pressure.

Researchers said that factors like diet, weight, physical activity and alcohol intake all help determine a person's risk of developing hypertension. After analyzing seven clinical trials and 32 studies published from 1900 to 2013 of vegetarian diets, researchers found switching to a vegetarian diet can help prevent and manage hypertension.

Researchers found that vegetarians had a significantly lower average systolic (peak artery pressure) and diastolic (minimum artery pressure) blood pressure compared with eating an omnivorous (plant and animal) diet.

Researchers said that all 32 studies analyzed in the latest review linked eating a vegetarian diet with lower average systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared with omnivorous diets.

"Further studies are required to clarify which types of vegetarian diets are most strongly associated with lower BP. Research into the implementation of such diets, either as public health initiatives aiming at prevention of hypertension or in clinical settings, would also be of great potential value," researchers wrote in the study.

Researchers said the latest findings suggest that eating only vegetables can help cut heart disease risk and promote longevity.

The findings are published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine

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