Nutrition and blood pressure

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 1999 Aug;9(4 Suppl):6-15.


Nutrition plays a very important role in regulating blood pressure. If we reverted to our evolutionary diet the problem of high blood pressure would disappear. However, this is unlikely and we, therefore, need to identify the most important factors in our diet that predispose to high blood pressure and, therefore, to vascular disease. Studies clearly demonstrate the very important role of our current intake of salt in our diet as being the major factor in regulating blood pressure in populations. Other dietary factors have also been identified as playing an important role, particularly potassium intake and fruit and vegetable consumption. A more healthy diet, that is a diet with much less salt and increased potassium through an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, a reduction in fat intake with substitution of saturated by monounsaturated fat, a reduction in meat and dairy products with an increase in fish consumption will have large effects on blood pressure but, at the same time, will decrease other cardiovascular risk factors, particularly cholesterol and glucose intolerance. This healthier diet will reduce cardiovascular disease and is similar to the diet now being advocated for the prevention of some forms of cancer. Diet is by far the most important environmental factor determining our longevity and for those who wish to live longer, a change in diet as early in life as possible will have substantial effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Potassium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage


  • Dietary Fats
  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary