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Increased Fiber Intake May Help Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular issues and is often treated with prescription medicine that can cause adverse side effects. A recent study suggests that eating more fiber-rich foods may help lower blood pressure.


Participants in the study included 2,195 people between the ages of 40 and 59 who took part in the INTERnational study on MAcro/micronutrients and blood Pressure (INTERMAP). The study took place from 1996 to 1999. During this time, the participants had four visits where the researchers collected eight blood pressure readings, four 24-hour dietary recalls and two 24-hour urine samples. The researchers also recorded urinary levels of sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.


After examining the data, the researchers found that increasing total fiber consumption by 6.8 g per 4148 kilocalories was associated with a 1.69 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure, which was reduced to -1.01 mmHg after they adjusted for urinary potassium.


Additionally, they found that increasing insoluble fiber intake by 4.6 g per 4184 kilocalories was associated with a 1.81 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure.


No association was found between soluble fiber intake and changes in blood pressure levels.


Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK and Northwestern University in the US conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 2, 2015, in the British Journal of Nutrition.


Previous studies have linked fiber consumption with lowering total and LDL cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar for people with diabetes.


There are two type of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can be found naturally in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole wheat and grains, brown rice, fruit, broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy vegetables and is the type that was found to be most effective at reducing the risk of diabetes in this study.

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