A Plant-Based Diet Can Lower Blood Pressure Even If Meat and Dairy Are Consumed Too

Healthy lettuce wraps with grilled cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes. Top view over a dark slate background. Plant-based diet concept.New research finds that a plant-based diet can lower blood pressure even if small amounts of meat and dairy are also consumed. The study from the University of Warwick suggests that any effort to increase plant-based foods into a diet could benefit blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Researchers reviewed 41 studies involving 8,416 participants, which included the effects of seven different plant-based diets on blood pressure. These included the DASH diet, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nordic, high fiber, and high fruit and vegetables. The clinical trials offered a systematic review which concluded that most of these diets were able to reduce blood pressure. Overall, the DASH diet had the most significant effect, lowering blood pressure by 5.53/3.79 mmHg compared to a control diet, and by 8.74/6.05 mmHg when compared to a ‘usual’ diet.


Lead author Joshua Gibbs said, “A blood pressure reduction of the scale caused by a higher consumption of plant-based diets, even with limited animal products would result in a 14% reduction in strokes, a 9% reduction in heart attacks and a 7% reduction in overall mortality.

“This is a significant finding as it highlights that complete eradication of animal products is not necessary to produce reductions and improvements in blood pressure. Essentially, any shift towards a plant-based diet is a good one.”

Researchers noted that the adoption of a plant-based diet could not only improve health but could also play a role in global food sustainability and security. It could contribute to a reduction in land use, global water conservation, and a reduction in global greenhouse gas emission.

The Leading Risk Factor

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against the artery walls is high enough to eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. It is currently the leading risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. An unhealthy diet can contribute to high blood pressure and is responsible for more deaths and disabilities globally than tobacco use, high alcohol intake, drug use, and unsafe sex put together.


This study helps to outline the health benefits of following a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet is based around the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds and limits the consumption of most or all animal products including meat and dairy. Previous research has shown that an increased consumption of whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fruit could avert up to 4.9 million deaths globally respectively every year.

Vegetarian and vegan diets with complete absence of animal products have previously been shown to lower blood pressure compared to omnivorous diets. However, until now, it has not been known whether a complete absence of animal products is necessary in plant-based dietary patterns to gain a significant beneficial effect on blood pressure.

Overall, researchers suggest following a plant-based diet with small amounts of animal products. This can offer the maximum health benefits and help to lower the risk of high blood pressure.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.