Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto have found that the “portfolio diet” is best to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure. The findings come from a secondary analysis, which was collected from 2011 on the portfolio diet aimed to reduce cholesterol.
Blood pressure was found to decrease as much as two percent when compared to diets intended to lower blood pressure.
The portfolio diet consists of food such as mixed nuts, soy protein, plant sterols, and viscous fibers found in oats, barley and eggplant. The comparison diet was the DASH diet (dietary approach to stopping hypertension), which consists of fruits, vegetables, limiting meat and dairy and eliminating snack foods.
Dr. David Jenkins, lead author, said, “This is a very important secondary finding to the original study, adding to the literature connecting diet with health. It fills in yet another area we often worry about. We can now say the dietary portfolio is ideal for reducing overall risk of cardiovascular disease.”
The two percent reduction in blood pressure was along with the five to 10 millimeter blood pressure improvement by the DASH diet. The DASH diet did have higher compliance, but the portfolio diet was found to be more effective in reducing blood pressure.
Dr. Jenkins added, “Dietary approaches have been found to be as effective as the starting dose of the average single blood pressure medication. Overall, research has shown that plant-based diets emphasizing foods higher in protein, oil and fiber reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”
The findings were published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease.