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Dietary Fiber Fights High Blood Pressure

A review of studies supports intake of fruits, grains and vegetables

FRIDAY, March 4, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A high-fiber diet may help reduce high blood pressure and may even improve healthy blood pressure levels, a new study finds.

Researchers at Tulane University analyzed data on almost 1,500 adults in more than two dozen studies and found that eating between about 7 to 19 grams of fiber a day led to a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

"We performed a comprehensive analysis of data from 25 clinical trials and all the data pointed to one strong conclusion -- adding fiber to a person's diet has a health effect on their blood pressure," lead author and medical student Seamus Whelton said in a prepared statement.

This type of study, called a meta-analysis, combines data from a number of studies to spot trends that otherwise might not be observed. "Analyzing a large number of studies lends strength to the conclusions of clinical trials that involved too few participants [individually] to show an effect of dietary fiber on blood pressure," Whelton explained.

He and his colleagues recommend that people eat fruits and vegetables in order to increase their intake of dietary fiber. Other changes in diet and exercise can also help reduce blood pressure and people should discuss these with their doctor, Whelton added.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about how to lower your blood pressure.

SOURCE: Tulane University, news release, Feb. 28, 2005
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