Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Vegetarian diet in mild hypertension: a randomised controlled trial.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 06 December 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:1468
  1. B M Margetts,
  2. L J Beilin,
  3. R Vandongen,
  4. B K Armstrong


    In a randomised crossover trial 58 subjects aged 30-64 with mild untreated hypertension were allocated either to a control group eating a typical omnivorous diet or to one of two groups eating an ovolactovegetarian diet for one of two six week periods. A fall in systolic blood pressure of the order of 5 mm Hg occurred during the vegetarian diet periods, with a corresponding rise on resuming a meat diet. The main nutrient changes with the vegetarian diet included an increase in the ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats and intake of fibre, calcium, and magnesium and a decrease in the intake of protein and vitamin B12. There were no consistent changes in urinary sodium or potassium excretion or body weight. In untreated subjects with mild hypertension, changing to a vegetarian diet may bring about a worthwhile fall in systolic blood pressure.