WASHINGTON D.C: Your blood pressure is influenced by your lifestyle, finds a recent study.
A study by Andrews University showed that modifying lifestyle factors like diet and exercise can effectively reduce your blood pressure as effectively as medicines. The 117 participants saw their blood pressure drop 19 points, on average, after taking part in the Weimer Institute Newstart Lifestyle programme for just 14 days.
Other studies have shown that a blood pressure reduction of this magnitude can cut a person's risk of heart disease or stroke in half.
People participating in the Newstart Lifestyle programme followed a vegan diet, walked daily, drank substantial quantities of water, got adequate daily sleep and participated in optional spiritual activities. The programme's vegan diet consisted of foods, such as legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, soymilk, almond milk and whole-grain bread.
"By adapting selected lifestyle health principles, half of the people in our study achieved normal blood pressure within two weeks while avoiding the side effects and costs associated with blood pressure medications," said research team leader M. Alfredo Mejia.
The results achieved by making small lifestyle changes was equivalent to taking three and a half-dose standard medication for blood pressure. In addition, 93 per cent of the participants were able to either reduce the dose (24 per cent) or eliminate their blood pressure medications (69 per cent).
The researchers have planned to increase the magnitude of the study and continue it over a longer period of time to better understand its long-term effects and biological basis. They also want to determine if the programme can be used to improve other health problems, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
This study was presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, Nutrition 2018.