Hypertension or high blood pressure (BP) is highly prevalent in the aging population. Notably, diet and lifestyle have a strong influence on BP. We investigated the association between dietary factors and BP in older adults. This cross-sectional study included 128 participants, aged 65-80 years. Multiple linear regressions were conducted to examine the associations between diet, including meats, vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy, fats, and added sugar, and BP. There was a significant association between intake of added sugar and systolic BP and diastolic BP in females after controlling for age, income, body mass index, physical activity levels, daily calorie intake, and BP medication use. The model predicted that a decrease of 2.3 teaspoons (0.5 standard deviation) of added sugar would result in a 8.4 mmHg drop in systolic BP and a 3.7 mmHg drop in diastolic BP. Whole fruit was associated with a reduction in diastolic BP in both males and females, and the model predicted that, for every 0.71 cup increase in whole fruit consumption, there would be a decrease in diastolic BP of 2.8 mmHg. Our findings support the dietary guidelines of limiting daily intake of added sugar and increasing fruit consumption to promote overall cardiovascular health in older adults.
Keywords: added sugar; blood pressure; diet; food groups; fructose; fruit; older adults.