Does Being a Vegetarian Lower Blood Pressure?

July 03, 2023

Have you ever heard that a vegetarian diet reduces blood pressure? Are you curious to find the connection between vegetarianism and blood pressure? Whether you're a dedicated vegetarian or simply considering switching to a meat-free lifestyle, understanding how your dietary choices can affect your health is crucial.

This article will explore the benefits of vegetarian diets and their potential impact on your blood pressure (BP) levels. So let's find out whether vegetarianism can lower your blood pressure!

1. What is the Normal Blood Pressure?

According to WHO, normal blood pressure is measured in two readings.

● Systolic Blood Pressure: This type of BP measures the force exerted on blood vessel walls whenever the heart muscles contract. It normally ranges from 115 mmHg to 120 mmHg.

● Diastolic Blood Pressure: This is when the heart is at rest, and the blood vessels are dilating. It normally ranges from 75 mmHg to 80 mmHg.

Blood pressure equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg is considered high. 

2. Prevalence of High B.P.

Hypertension, commonly referred to as "The Silent Killer," frequently manifests gradually and may occasionally lack noticeable symptoms.

According to the Global Burden of Disease study, hypertension is the second most prevalent risk factor contributing to premature mortality on a global scale. [1]

According to WHO statistics: [2]

● Around 1.28 billion adults all over the world have hypertension.

●Two-thirds of the hypertensive individuals live in low- and middle-income countries.

●Around 46% of adults who have high blood pressure don't even know they have it. 

3. Does Being a Vegetarian Lower Blood Pressure?

The link between vegetarianism and blood pressure is a growing interest among health-conscious individuals.

Recent research has shown that vegetarians, on average, have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians do. This finding comes from a number of different studies. [3] 

4. How Does Vegetarian Diet Help Reduce Blood Pressure?

Being vegetarian can have several positive effects on blood pressure due to the following factors: 

1. Low intake of Sodium:

Excessive sodium intake has been linked to elevated blood pressure. Studies have shown that reducing sodium intake can lead to a significant decrease in blood pressure levels. [4]

A vegetarian diet tends to be lower in sodium than a typical omnivorous diet. By focusing on whole, unprocessed plant-based foods, vegetarians naturally consume less sodium, contributing to better blood pressure control.

2. Low intake of Cholesterol:

Animal-based foods, such as meat and dairy products, contain dietary cholesterol. Vegetarian diets, particularly those that exclude all animal products (vegan diets), eliminate cholesterol intake from animal sources.

In 2021, researchers from Japan conducted a cohort study and found that high blood pressure and Coronary Heart Diseases (CHDs) are linked with raised cholesterol levels in blood. [5] 

3. Low intake of saturated fats:

Animal-based foods contain high level saturated fats. These fats have been shown to raise saturated fats and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension. Vegetarian diets, especially those plant-based and low in processed foods, tend to be lower in saturated fats. Research conducted in 2020 found that minimizing saturated fat promotes healthier blood pressure profiles and reduces the risk of cardiac diseases. [6] 

4. Potassium intake:

Potassium is of paramount importance in the regulation of blood pressure as it acts to counterbalance the physiological impact of sodium.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association demonstrated that increased dietary potassium intake can lower blood pressure levels. [7]

Various plant-based foods help vegetarians enhance their potassium intake and potentially support healthy blood pressure.

5. Magnesium intake:

Magnesium has been associated with blood pressure regulation, and low magnesium levels have been linked to hypertension.

A 2018 research suggests that increased magnesium intake through diet or supplementation may help lower blood pressure. [8] Vegetarian diets emphasizing magnesium-rich plant foods can contribute to maintaining adequate magnesium levels for optimal blood pressure control.

6. Increased intake of dietary fibers:

Vegetarian diets tend to have higher dietary fiber due to abundant fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Dietary fiber has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood pressure. The consumption of soluble fibers has been shown to have a positive impact on blood pressure reduction through the mechanisms of cholesterol level reduction and enhancement of cardiovascular health.

The Takeaway Message

A vegetarian diet's abundance of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes provides essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that support cardiovascular health. Being a vegetarian does not guarantee low blood pressure levels. Factors such as overall dietary choices within the vegetarian lifestyle and other lifestyle habits like exercise also play crucial roles in managing blood pressure effectively.

It is better to monitor your BP regularly to avoid these life threats. Use our CheckMe BP2A blood pressure monitor. It comes with a larger cuff and gives accurate readings within 30 seconds. You can even review and share your BP record on Android or iOS. It is easy to carry, and a one-time full charge can work for 3 months. So, keep monitoring your BP and live a healthy life!


1. Vaduganathan, M., Mensah, G. A., Turco, J. V., Fuster, V., & Roth, G. A. (2022). The global burden of cardiovascular   diseases and risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 80(25), 2361–2371. 

2. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Hypertension. World Health Organization. 

3. Lee, K. W., Loh, H. C., Ching, S. M., Devaraj, N. K., & Hoo, F. K. (2020). Effects of Vegetarian Diets on Blood Pressure Lowering: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis. Nutrients, 12(6), 1604. 

4. Suckling, R. J., & Swift, P. A. (2015). The health impacts of dietary sodium and a low-salt diet. Clinical medicine (London, England), 15(6), 585–588. 

5. Satoh, M., Ohkubo, T., Asayama, K., Murakami, Y., Sugiyama, D., Waki, T., Tanaka-Mizuno, S., Yamada, M., Saitoh, S., Sakata, K., Irie, F., Sairenchi, T., Ishikawa, S., Kiyama, M., Okayama, A., Miura, K., Imai, Y., Ueshima, H., Okamura, T., & Evidence for Cardiovascular Prevention from Observational Cohorts in Japan (EPOCH–JAPAN) Research Group (2021). A Combination of Blood Pressure and Total Cholesterol Increases the Lifetime Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Mortality: EPOCH-JAPAN. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, 28(1), 6–24. 

6. Hooper, L., Martin, N., Jimoh, O. F., Kirk, C., Foster, E., & Abdelhamid, A. S. (2020). Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. The Cochrane Database of systematic reviews, 5(5), CD011737. 

7. Filippini, T., Naska, A., Kasdagli, M. I., Torres, D., Lopes, C., Carvalho, C., Moreira, P., Malavolti, M., Orsini, N., Whelton, P. K., & Vinceti, M. (2020). Potassium Intake and Blood Pressure: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of the American Heart Association, 9(12), e015719. 

8. Schutten, J. C., Joosten, M. M., de Borst, M. H., & Bakker, S. J. L. (2018). Magnesium and Blood Pressure: A Physiology-Based Approach. Advances in chronic kidney disease, 25(3), 244–250. 


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