A high-fiber diet may reduce high blood pressure and even improve already healthy blood pressure levels, according to a study.

The Study

After analyzing data on almost 1,500 adults in 25 clinical trials, Tulane University researchers found that people who ate between 7 and 19 grams (g) of fiber each day experienced reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Most Americans are advised to eat between 20 and 35 g of fiber per day.

"All the data pointed to one strong conclusion-adding fiber to a person's diet has a health effect on their blood pressure," says lead author and medical student Seamus Whelton.

This type of study, called a meta-analysis, looks at data from a number of studies to try to spot trends that otherwise might not be observed. "Analyzing a large number of studies lends strength to the conclusions of clinical trials that individually involved too few participants to show an effect of dietary fiber on blood pressure, Whelton explains.

He and his colleagues recommend that people eat fruits and vegetables to increase their intake of dietary fiber. Exercise as well as other changes in diet can also help reduce blood pressure, and people should discuss these with their doctor.

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