Can traditional Chinese food lower blood pressure?

“Compared with the nutritional composition of the typical Chinese urban Chinese diet, our heart-healthy diet following traditional Chinese food has cut sodium intake by half, from 6,000 mg daily to 3,000 mg daily, reducing fat intake and doubling fiber. professional researcher at Peking University Clinical Research Institute in Beijing, China.

Base on the research, The Chinese make up more than one-fifth of the world’s population.

China’s burden of cardiovascular disease has increased rapidly in recent decades, as in other regions of the world. Unhealthy changes in the Chinese diet are a major factor driving the rise in cardiovascular disease.

According to a 2012 China National Nutrition Survey, consumption of healthy foods such as grains (34%), tubers and beans (80%), and vegetables and fruits (15%). In contrast, consumption of meat (162%), eggs (233%) and cooking oil (132%) increased sharply during the same period.

Research group president Yangfeng Wu, MD, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and clinical research at Peking University Clinical Research Institute in Beijing, China.

“Western healthy diets such as DASH and Mediterranean have been developed and proven to help lower blood pressure; however, to date, there has not been a proven healthy diet. was developed to match traditional Chinese cuisine.”

Why is sodium consumption higher in China?

The study included 265 Chinese adults, with a mean age of 56 years, with a systolic blood pressure equal to or greater than 130 mm Hg. More than half of the participants were women, and nearly half were taking at least one high blood pressure medication when the study began.

Participants were recruited from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. These are the four major cities in China, each with their respective regional cuisine: Shangdong, Huaiyang, Cantonese and Szechuan, respectively.

The Chinese heart-healthy diet was developed with catering organizations in those regions and matched the cuisines of the four regions so researchers could understand whether Whether the effects of a heart-healthy diet are applicable and sustainable to different Chinese dietary cultures.

This can sometimes be a challenge as traditional Chinese cuisine has a long history of using salt for cooking and preserving food for thousands of years.


. This is especially true in northern China, where there is a cold climate where green vegetables are scarce, and people must eat pickled vegetables during winter and spring. This is why sodium intake is even higher for people in northern China.

Risk of high blood pressure in China

At the start of the study, all participants followed their usual, local diet for seven days so that new eating plans could be customized to taste and preferences. The researchers wanted the heart-healthy diet to be as close to the participants’ usual diet in taste as possible, while also tailoring nutrient intake to be heart-healthy.

After the first seven days of eating their usual diet, 135 adults were randomly selected to take the new Chinese heart-healthy diet for 28 days. The remaining 130 participants ate meals according to their usual cuisine.

Depending on the assignment of the team, the meals are regular or heart-healthy versions of Shangdong, Huaiyang, Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine. The study participants and the blood pressure assessors did not know which dietary groups the participants were assigned to.

The researchers measured the participants’ blood pressure before and after the study and once a week throughout the study. Food ingredients are weighed for each dish to calculate the nutritional amount for each meal. Urine samples were collected to measure sodium and potassium levels at the start and end of the study.

The results showed that the antihypertensive effect of the Chinese heart-healthy diet may be significant and compatible with antihypertensive drugs.

From research:

  • Participants who ate the heart-healthy Chinese diet had lower blood pressure, with systolic blood pressure (top number) dropping by an average of 10 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 3.8 mm. Hg, compared with the group of people eating traditional cuisine.
  • In the heart-healthy group, calories consumed from carbohydrates (8%) and protein (4%) increased, and fat decreased (11%). Consumption of fiber (14 grams), potassium (1,573 mg), magnesium (194 mg) and calcium (413 mg) increased, while sodium decreased (2,836 mg). However, the nutritional intake of the group consuming the regular diet barely changed from the start to the end of the study.
  • The taste and flavor preferences of the Chinese heart-healthy diet are comparable to the typical local diet. Participants ate similar amounts of food and scored their portion sizes high in both dietary groups.
  • The average Chinese cost of adding a heart-healthy diet is about 4 RMB ($0.60) more per person per day than the typical local diet. That is considered low and generally affordable.
  • Consistent antihypertensive effect in participants of four cardiovascular Chinese food groups.

The researchers note that these findings suggest that the effects of the Chinese heart-healthy diet, if maintained, could reduce major cardiovascular disease by 20%; heart failure 28% and all-cause mortality 13%.

“Health professionals should recommend a healthy diet low in sodium and high in potassium, fiber, vegetables and fruit as the first line of treatment for their high blood pressure patients,” says Wu. “Because traditional Chinese dietary culture and cooking methods are commonly used wherever Chinese people live, I believe that a Chinese heart-healthy diet and The principles we used to develop the diet will also be useful to Chinese Americans.”

American Heart Association volunteer specialist, Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH, FAHA, notes, “The results of this trial are astounding and provide a road map for healthy eating for those people who consume a lot of Chinese food – Shangdong, Huaiyang, Cantonese or Sichuan dishes Major public health efforts are guaranteed to ‘scale up’ across China to achieve population-wide reductions in blood pressure”.

Appel is vice president of the American Heart Association’s 2021 scientific report writing group, Dietary Guidelines for Improving Heart Health. Suggested principles:

  • consuming whole grains, lean and plant-based proteins, and a variety of fruits and vegetables;
  • limit salt, sugar, animal fat, processed foods, alcohol; and
  • This guide applies regardless of where the food is prepared or consumed.

One limitation of the study is that the Chinese heart-healthy diet was only tested for four weeks. According to Wu, a longer study period could confirm and possibly even reinforce these results.

Source: Eurekalert

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