Individuals who are looking to lower their blood pressure without taking medication may be able to do so by moderately reducing their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, according to a new study.
For the 18-month study, a research team from the Louisiana State University Health Science Center recruited 810 adults with early stage hypertension who drank an average of 11 ounces of sugary beverages each day, well below the American average of 23 daily ounces.
At the end of the study, participants who reduced their soft drink intake by at least half lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 points and their diastolic blood pressure by 1.1 points.
"We found a direct dose-response relationship," said study leader Liwei Chen."Individually, it was not a big reduction. But population-wise, reducing total consumption could have a huge impact."
According to background information included in the report, a three-point reduction in blood pressure can lower heart disease mortality risk by as much as five percent.
The correlation between lower blood pressure and reduced soft drink intake remained after accounting for weight loss and other risk factors.