The CARDIA study - Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults- tracked the dietary intakes of more than 430 adults (19-30 years ld) and their risk of developing high blood pressure.
Meat drives up blood pressue
Eating red or processed meat 1-2 times per day or more often (think ham sandwich for lunch and roast for dinner)was linked with a 20-40 per cent higher risk of developing elecated blood pressure over a 15-year period, compared to eating meat a few times per week or less often.
This isn't surprising, as numerous studies have shown that vegetarians have lower blook pressure compared to meat eaters. It is also known that adding meat to a vegetarian diet increses blood pressure
High pressure leads to premature death
The reason the CARDIA study is of such significance is that most previous studies have looked at older people - few have shown this effect applies to young people.
As high blood pressure is a common and major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and premature death, both young and old should take note of the findings!
How to eat
Becoming a vegetarian is ideal for your blood pressure (and many other chronic diseases) but since most people are not vegetarians, the bottom line is to work out how you can eat more plan foods and less meat each week.
Particularly beneficial plant foods include wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and unsalted nuts. Try chickpea and vegetable curry or red lentil soup for mains rather than steak and three veg!
Cut-up colourful fruit in season (or poach fruits in winter) and dry roast nuts for an excellent snack or dessert.
Remember to also skip salt, avoid alcohol, exercise faily and get your weight down to a healthy level if you want to ahieve optimum results.