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Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2008 Apr;35(4):473-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2008.04899.x.

Protein, fibre and blood pressure: potential benefit of legumes.

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University of Western Australia School of Medicine and Pharmacology, and the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research WAIMR, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.


1. Prevention of hypertension and improved blood pressure control can be achieved through dietary modification. In particular, population studies and randomised controlled trials have indicated a beneficial effect of both dietary protein and dietary fibre on level of blood pressure. 2. A large population study indicates that an increase in 37 g/day of protein leads to a decrease in mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure by approximately 3 and 2.5 mmHg, respectively. This protective effect is independent of the source of dietary protein. 3. Meta-analysis suggests that a fibre increase of approximately 17 g/day will decrease systolic blood pressure by 1.15 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.65 mmHg, with soluble fibre showing a stronger effect than insoluble fibre. 4. Protein and dietary fibre may have additive effects to lower blood pressure. One feasible approach to increasing both protein and fibre in the daily diet could be through the incorporation of legumes, a protein- and fibre-rich food. 5. This review assesses the evidence for effects of protein and fibre to reduce blood pressure and the potential of incorporation of legumes into the daily diet as a feasible approach to achieving such benefits for blood pressure.

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