A groundbreaking study by scientists from Peking University reveals that a modified version of traditional Chinese food could significantly lower blood pressure in Chinese adults within just a few weeks.
Conducted by Dr. Yangfeng Wu and his team, the research is published in the journal Circulation and modeled after the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
The study involved 265 Chinese adults with high blood pressure who were randomly assigned one of two diets: either their regular diet or a heart-healthy version of traditional Cantonese, Szechuan, Shandong, or Huaiyang cuisine.
The diets were maintained for 28 days. Blood pressure was measured at various points throughout the study.
The results were striking: Participants who ate the modified diet saw significant declines in both systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure levels.
On average, their systolic blood pressure dropped an extra 10 mmHg, and their diastolic blood pressure decreased nearly an extra 4 mmHg, compared to the control group.
The modified diet also proved to be nutritionally beneficial. It lowered participants’ caloric intake from fat by 11%, increased calories from carbohydrates by 8%, and protein by 4%.
The intake of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium also increased, while sodium intake was halved—from nearly 6,000 milligrams daily to about 3,000.
The researchers estimate that if such a diet were sustained, it could reduce the risk of major cardiovascular disease by 20%, heart failure by 28%, and death from any cause by 13%.
Affordability and Taste
One of the key advantages of the modified diet is its cost-effectiveness, costing only about 60 cents per day in U.S. dollars.
Moreover, participants reported that the taste and flavor of the modified meals were comparable to traditional meals, indicating that a heart-healthy diet need not compromise on taste.
The study suggests that healthcare professionals should prioritize recommending a diet low in sodium and rich in potassium, fiber, vegetables, and fruits as a first-line treatment for patients with high blood pressure.
This research serves as a strong endorsement for modifying traditional diets as a viable, affordable, and effective strategy for combating high blood pressure.
As hypertension is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, adopting such dietary changes could be a critical step in improving public health.
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