(HealthDay News) — Consumption of a vegetarian diet is associated with lower blood pressure, according to a review and meta-analysis published online February 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Yoko Yokoyama, PhD, MPH, from the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that assessed the correlation between vegetarian diets and blood pressure. Data were reviewed from seven clinical trials (including 311 participants; mean age, 44.5 years) and 32 observational studies (including 21,604 participants; mean age, 46.6 years) that met the inclusion criteria.

The researchers found that, in the controlled trials, compared with consumption of omnivorous diets, consumption of vegetarian diets correlated with a decline in mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure (−4.8 and −2.2 mm Hg, respectively). Similar results were seen in the observational studies, with lower mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure associated with consumption of vegetarian diets versus omnivorous diets (−6.9 and −4.7 mm Hg, respectively).

“Consumption of vegetarian diets is associated with lower blood pressure,” the authors write. “Further studies are required to clarify which types of vegetarian diets are most strongly associated with lower blood pressure.”

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