A new study reports that the “portfolio diet”, developed to reduce cholesterol, may help lower blood pressure (BP) as well. The findings, a secondary analysis of data collected for a 2011 study, were published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease.

Previous research has shown that the individual components of the portfolio diet (ie, mixed nuts, soy protein, viscous fiber) are effective in BP reduction.  In this study, the portfolio diet was compared to the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stopping Hypertension) diet, which recommends eliminating snack foods, reducing meat and dairy intake and increasing fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption. 

Compared to patients on the DASH diet, those on the portfolio diet saw an average 2% reduction in blood pressure; this was in addition to the 5–10 milliliter BP improvement associated with a DASH-type diet.  While the portfolio diet was more effective for lowering BP, the DASH diet did have higher compliance rates.

“This is a very important secondary finding to the original study, adding to the literature connecting diet with health,” said Dr. David Jenkins, the study’s lead author, director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital and professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto. “It fills in yet another area we often worry about. We can now say the dietary portfolio is ideal for reducing overall risk of cardiovascular disease.”

For more information visit StMichaelsHospital.com.