A recent study showed how eating a healthy plant-based diet can lower blood pressure. We know that high blood pressure is a major risk factor for serious complications for people living with diabetes. In this study, eating less meat and more vegetables and more whole grains was associated with lower blood pressure. On the other hand, eating refined grains like white flour and white rice, sugar-sweetened beverages, and meat was linked to higher blood pressure. This suggests that for health benefits, a healthy plant-based diet does not have to be vegan (a diet that excludes meat, fish, dairy and eggs) nor vegetarian (a diet that includes eggs or dairy, but excludes meat). In general, fewer animal-based foods should be consumed for health benefits. Increasing consumption of vegetables and whole grains seem to be the most effective way to lower blood pressure. Overall, eating one serving of whole grains and four servings of vegetables, while limiting meat to 100 g per day lowered systolic blood pressure by 4 mmHg. These findings support our ground-breaking research here at Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, where we have also shown that improving access to fresh vegetables is associated with many health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and improving mental health.
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