Adults following the well-documented Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan can also include lean pork to help lower blood pressure. According to new research funded by the Pork Checkoff, people with high blood pressure can benefit from a DASH eating plan that uses nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein.
"This new Pork Checkoff-funded study further validates the important role of lean pork in a balanced diet," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board and a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "Lean, nutrient-rich pork has many beneficial qualities that make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet."
Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source, the blood pressure benefits were the same. Regardless of the protein source, study participants' systolic blood pressure dropped about eight to nine points and their diastolic number decrease about four to five points after six weeks. Participants had their blood pressure consistently checked through a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.
"The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk of chronic diseases," said study lead author Dr. Wayne Campbell, nutrition science professor at Purdue University. "While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern."
The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults - 13 women and six men - all with elevated blood pressure. Participants were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods, which included either chicken and fish or lean pork as the major protein source, or about 55 percent of their total protein intake. The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.
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