People who get their dietary protein from vegetables rather than meat have lower blood pressure, and the more plant protein consumed the better, researchers said on Monday.
Most adults either have high blood pressure or are headed in that direction, according to the study by researchers at Imperial College London.
But the study of nearly 4,700 people from the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and China found the more vegetable protein the subjects said they consumed, the lower their blood pressure.
Previous research had concluded that a vegetarian diet was healthier for the heart than diets heavy in meat, and study author Paul Elliott said he found the more plant protein people consumed, the lower their blood pressure.
The report published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine suggested that vegetarians tend to be lighter, and that the amino acids and magnesium found in vegetable protein may play roles in lowering blood pressure.
After adjusting for height and weight, the study did not find that the more meat protein consumed in the diet, the higher the blood pressure, but meat eaters overall had higher blood pressure than vegetable-eaters.
"Our results are consistent with current recommendations that a diet high in vegetable products be part of a healthy lifestyle for prevention of high blood pressure and related chronic diseases," the report concluded.