One of the heart-specific diets, called DASH, had the biggest impact on blood pressure, reducing levels by 8.74/6.05 mmHg compared to the normal diet. This drop would translate into a 14 percent reduction in strokes and a 9 percent fall in heart attacks.
It doesn’t mean you have to go vegetarian or vegan, say researchers from the University of Warwick. Your diet can still include meat and dairy, but it’s important that plants take up a bigger share of the plate.
The researchers looked at the impact on blood pressure levels of seven different plant-based diets, including DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), the Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nordic and high fiber and high fruit and vegetables.
An unhealthy diet of processed foods and drink is responsible for more deaths than smoking, alcohol abuse, drug use and unsafe sex combined, the researchers say. A plant-dominant diet could save up to 4.9 million lives a year.
The seven heart-healthy diets:
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(Source: Journal of Hypertension, 2020; doi: 10.1097/HJH0000000000002604)