Going vegetarian may lower blood pressure, according to a review of 39 studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Compared to omnivorous diets, vegetarian diets were, on average, associated with a 7-point lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) in observational studies and a 5-point lower reading in randomized intervention trials.
Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) was also lower, though to a lesser degree.
The effect is similar to what can be achieved with standard lifestyle recommendations (such as a low-sodium diet and weight loss of 10 pounds), the authors said. The studies included vegan (no animal products), lacto-ovo (some dairy and eggs), pesco (some fish), and even semi-vegetarian (small amounts of meat) diets.