Teenagers at risk of developing high blood pressure as adults can lower their risk by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, say researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Their study found that adolescents who ate foods containing the minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium, and vitamins such as folate, had significantly lower blood pressure than teens whose diet contained fewer of these foods, regardless of body weight and salt consumption.
The findings suggest a possible dietary strategy to prevent hypertension when started at an early age. High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.
The research team evaluated the diets of 180 black and Hispanic inner-city adolescents aged 14 to 16 years with high blood pressure. According to the study results, diastolic pressure, or the pressure when the heart is at rest, was lower in teens who consumed the greatest amount of folate (folic acid) -- a B vitamin found in many fruits, vegetables and grains.
Diet appeared to have no significant effect on systolic pressure, the pressure of the heart at work during a contraction.
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