Take the pressure off

Many studies have found that vegetarians have lower blood pressure than the population at large but the latest one decided to look at a geographically diverse population containing vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians and omnivores. The research team concluded that vegetarians, especially vegans, do have lower blood pressure and suffer less often from hypertension than meat-eaters. Vegans were also less likely to take hypertension drugs than vegetarians and meat-eaters. These results were attributed not just to lower average weight but also to a higher intake of fruit and vegetables, nuts and wholegrains resulting in increased amounts of fibre, vitamin K and many other nutrients. Researchers also tested calcium levels of the study volunteers because low levels of calcium can increase blood pressure. However, they found that the vegans in the study did not have low calcium levels, which demonstrates that they get enough calcium from plant sources.

Pettersen, B.J., Anousheh, R., Fan, J., et al., 2012. Vegetarian diets and blood pressure among white subjects: results from the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2).  Public Health Nutrition. 15(10) 1909-1916.