Blood Pressure Regulation and Vegetarian Diets

Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, 5100 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20016, USA.
Nutrition Reviews (Impact Factor: 6.08). 02/2005; 63(1):1-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2005.tb00104.x
Source: PubMed


Hypertension affects approximately 50 million individuals in the United States and approximately 1 billion worldwide. Although heredity plays a role in blood pressure variability, diet and lifestyle exert considerable influence in blood pressure regulation. This report reviews the evidence of the relationship between a vegetarian diet and blood pressure regulation and presents data as to the putative mechanisms of action.

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    • "Even after controlling factors such as social class, smoking, and body mass index, higher risk for suffering ischemic heart disease persists among individuals with conventional western diets, comparing with individuals who follow plant-based diets (Appleby et al. 2002; Fraser 1999). Such associations are also found regarding other health concerns such as several types of cancer (Demeyer et al. 2008; Norat et al. 2005), high blood pressure (Appleby et al. 2002; Berkow and Barnard 2008), and overweight (Appleby et al. 2002; Sabaté and Wien 2010). Conversely, plant-based diets (which may or may not contain some meat) are increasingly pointed out as conforming more closely to public health recommendations than conventional western diets, in part because they can exert a protective role, by providing higher amounts of folate, antioxidants, fibre, carotenoids and phytochemicals, but also because they typically entail less exposure to health-hazardous components, such as excessive ingestion of saturated fat, cholesterol , and animal protein (e.g., Lea and Worsley 2001; Sabaté 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Harmful but culturally cherished practices often endure in spite of the damages they cause. Meat consumption is increasingly becoming one of such cases and may provide an opportunity from which to observe these phenomena. Growing evidence indicates that current and projected production and consumption patterns are important contributors to significant environmental problems, public health degradation, and animal suffering. Our aim is to contribute to a further understanding of the psychological factors that may hinder or promote personal disposition to change food habits to benefit each of these domains. Drawing from previous evidence, this study explores the proposition that some consumers are motivated to resort to moral disengagement strategies when called upon to consider the impacts of their food habits. Data were collected from six semi-structured focus groups with a sample of 40 participants. Although affirming personal duties towards preserving the environment, promoting public health, and safeguarding animal welfare, participants did not show personal disposition to change their meat consumption habits. Several patterns of response that resonate with the principles of moral disengagement theory (i.e. reconstrual of the harmful conduct; obscuring personal responsibility; disregard for the negative consequences; active avoidance and dissociation) were observed while discussing impacts and the possibility of change. Results seem to support the proposition that the process of moral disengagement may play a role in hindering openness to change food habits for the benefit of the environment, public health, and animals, and point towards the relevance of further exploring this approach.
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 01/2014; 27(5). DOI:10.1007/s10806-014-9488-9 · 0.94 Impact Factor
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    • "There are several studies showing that diets low in meat tend to give better health (e.g., Berkow and Barnard, 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Several writers on animal ethics defend the abolition of most or all animal agriculture, which they consider an unethical exploitation of sentient non-human animals. However, animal agriculture can also be seen as a co-evolution over thousands of years, that has affected biology and behavior on the one hand, and quality of life of humans and domestic animals on the other. Furthermore, animals are important in sustainable agriculture. They can increase efficiency by their ability to transform materials unsuitable for human consumption and by grazing areas that would be difficult to harvest otherwise. Grazing of natural pastures is essential for the pastoral landscape, an important habitat for wild flora and fauna and much valued by humans for its aesthetic value. Thus it seems that the environment gains substantially when animals are included in sustainable agricultural systems. But what about the animals themselves? Objections against animal agriculture often refer to the disrespect for animals’ lives, integrity, and welfare in present intensive animal production systems. Of the three issues at stake, neither integrity nor animal welfare need in principle be violated in carefully designed animal husbandry systems. The main ethical conflict seems to lie in the killing of animals, which is inevitable if the system is to deliver animal products. In this paper, we present the benefits and costs to humans and animals of including animals in sustainable agriculture, and discuss how to address some of the ethical issues involved.
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 01/2006; 19(1):47-56. DOI:10.1007/s10806-005-4378-9 · 0.94 Impact Factor
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