Diet to Stop Hypertension: Should Fats be Included?

Paul J. Nestel, Trevor A. Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: International guidelines emphasize advice to incorporate dietary measures for the prevention and in the management of hypertension. Current data show that modest reductions in weight can have an impact on blood pressure. Reducing salt and marine oils have also shown consistent benefit in reducing blood pressure. Whether other dietary constituents, in particular the amount and type of fat that play important roles in cardiovascular prevention, influence blood pressure sufficiently to be included in the management of hypertension is less certain. In this review, we provide a summary of the most recent findings, with a focus on dietary patterns, fats and other nutrients and their impact on blood pressure and hypertension. Recent Findings: Since reducing salt consumption is an established recommendation only corollary dietary advice is subject to the current review. Population studies that have included reliable evaluation of fat intake have indicated almost consistently blood pressure lowering with consumption of marine oils and fats. Results with vegetable oils are inconclusive. However dietary patterns that included total fat reduction and changes in the nature of vegetable fats/oils have suggested beneficial effects on blood pressure. Plant-based foods, dairy foods and yoghurt particularly, may also lower blood pressure irrespective of fat content. Summary: Total fat consumption is not directly associated with blood pressure except when it is part of a weight loss diet. Consumption of marine oils has mostly shown moderate blood pressure lowering and possibly greatest effect with docosahexaenoic acid-rich oil.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Hypertension Reports
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2024


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