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Fruits, vegetables lower blood pressure

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in very early childhood may prevent or delay the development of adult hypertension.

Fruits, vegetables lower blood pressure

Preschoolers who eat the recommended four servings of fruits and vegetables along with two servings of dairy products each day have lower blood pressures in early adolescence.A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products has been shown to reduce blood pressure among adults with borderline high blood pressure. Studies have also shown that vegetarians tend to have lower blood pressures than non-vegetarians. Whether such findings extend to children, however, has been unknown until now.To investigate, researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine, USA, followed 95 children, from preschool - ages 3 to 6 - to early adolescence at age 12. Preschoolers who ate at least four servings of fruits and vegetables each day and at least two servings of dairy products had the lowest blood pressures as 12 years old, the researchers found. By the end of the 8-year study period, blood pressure among those in the high intake group for both fruits and vegetables and dairy products was 7 points lower, on average, than among those with a lower than recommended intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The children who ate less than four servings of fruits and vegetables and less than two dairy servings per day were at higher risk for developing high blood pressure as young adults, the researchers concluded.
In general, children who ate more fruits, vegetables, and dairy products at younger ages tended to continue their healthy eating habits in early adolescence. It is unclear how a higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products lowers blood pressure. People with such diets may have healthier dietary patterns in general. For example, children who ate more fruits and vegetables also tended to consume more whole grains and less fat than their peers. The above results suggest that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in very early childhood may prevent or delay the development of adult hypertension. Hence, it's the parent's responsibility to start children off on the right track.
Epidemiology,
January 2005
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