A healthy diet boosts blood vessel health

A Mediterranean diet may lower blood pressure and help keep arteries from stiffening as you age.

In a recent study, researchers randomly assigned roughly 1,130 older people in five European cities to consume their usual diet or to eat a “Mediterranean-style” diet that was higher in vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, fish, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and olive oil—and lower in salt and added sugars—than their usual diet.

After one year, systolic blood pressure was 5½ points lower in the people assigned to the Mediterranean diet than in those told to eat their usual diet. And among the 225 participants who were tested, those assigned to the Mediterranean diet had a decrease in one measure of artery stiffness.

What to do: Whether you call it a Mediterranean or a DASH diet, eating beans, nuts, fish, whole grains, low-fat dairy, oil (olive or others), and plenty of vegetables and fruit may help protect your blood vessels.

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Photo: Elenathewise/stock.adobe.com.

The information in this post first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

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