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Reducing blood pressure the Mediterranean way

There is evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces blood pressure (BP). Mediterranean diet characteristically is rich in plant-derived foods and also in fat, but studies conducted in Mediterranean countries relating diet with BP are scarce.

We studied the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and BP in 8,830 participants in the SUN study (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra), an on-going dynamic cohort study in Spain. Diet was measured using a food-frequency questionnaire previously validated in Spain. Subjects were considered to have high BP if they reported a systolic BP around 140 mm Hg or a diastolic BP around 90 mm Hg.
Fat represented more than 37% of total energy intake. The adjusted prevalence odds ratio of high PB for those in the upper versus the lowest quintile of vegetable consumption was 0.59 (95% confidence interval, 0.37-0.93, p for trend 0.013). For fruit consumption, the adjusted prevalence odds ratio was 0.24 (95% Cl 0.10 to 0.57, p=0.001), after adjusting for risk factors for hypertension and other dietary exposures.
In a Mediterranean population with an elevated fat consumption, a high fruit and vegetable intake is inversely associated with blood pressure levels. Our results support the findings of the DASH trial in a population with a different dietary profile.

Alvaro Alonso, Carmen de la Fuente, Jokin de Irala, Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Navarra, Spain
J. Alfredo Martinez, Department of Physiology and Nutrition, University of Navarra, Spain


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