Mediterranean Diet reduces blood pressure: results from a recent systematic review and meta-analysis
Hypertension is a condition in which blood pressure is persistently high. It is called the ‘silent killer’ because it does not cause symptoms, but it can degenerate into serious complications and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. Therefore, the need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, based on balanced eating habits, is essential to maintain physiological blood pressure values.
A recent meta-analysis of 35 randomised trials, with a total of 13,943 participants, investigated the relationship between Mediterranean diet and blood pressure values in adults with and without hypertension. Only studies examining the effect of Mediterranean diet compared with the usual diet or a dietary intervention, e.g., low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet, were included.
The results showed that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, compared with usual diets. This reduction was more evident in subjects with higher blood pressure levels at baseline, and in studies with longer follow-up. On the other hand, it was not possible to compare the effect of Mediterranean Diet in hypertensive and non-hypertensive patients, as most studies were conducted in mixed populations.
Although the meta-analysis has some limitations, such as the limited number of participants, the available evidence suggests that the adoption of a Mediterranean diet may be a valuable aid in maintaining normal blood pressure and may be recommended for hypertensive patients.
Source: Filippou et al. Mediterranean diet and blood pressure reduction in adults with and without hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Nutr. 2021; 40:3191-3200