Heart-healthy version of Chinese food may lower blood pressure

Eating a modified version of traditional Chinese food with half the amount of sodium can significantly lower blood pressure in Chinese adults in just a few weeks, according to new research.

Published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation on Monday, the study found that modifying traditional Chinese cooking to also reduce fat intake, double dietary fiber and increase protein, carbohydrates and potassium helped people with high blood pressure reduce both systolic pressure (the higher number) and diastolic levels (the lower number) over a four-week period.

The modified Chinese diet was modeled after the heart-healthy Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. An unhealthy diet, particularly a diet high in sodium, is considered a modifiable risk factor for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which has risen rapidly in China over the past decades largely due to unhealthy dietary changes, such as eating less grains, legumes and vegetables and many more meat, eggs and oils.

“Chinese who live in the United States and elsewhere often maintain a traditional Chinese diet, which is very different from a Western diet,” study team co-chair Dr. Yangfeng Wu said in a statement. Press. Wu is a professor at the Clinical Research Institute of Peking University in Beijing. “Healthy Western diets such as DASH and Mediterranean have been developed and proven to help lower blood pressure. However, so far no heart-healthy diets have been developed to fit into traditional Chinese cuisine. .”

More than a fifth of the world’s population regularly eats Chinese food. The results suggest that if the more heart-healthy diet were maintained, it could reduce major cardiovascular disease by 20%, heart failure by 28% and death from all causes by 13%.


In the study, 265 Chinese adults with high blood pressure were randomly assigned to follow a diet that matched their usual eating style or a modified, heart-healthy version of their traditional Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong cuisine. or from Huaiyang for 28 days.

Consumption of heart-healthy diets reduced participants’ calories from fat by 11%, increased calorie intake from carbohydrates by 8%, and increased calories from protein by 4%. Fiber, potassium, magnesium and calcium intake increased in the group eating the modified cuisines, while sodium fell by half – from nearly 6,000 milligrams per day to around 3,000.

Blood pressure was measured before and after the study period and once a week while the participants ate the assigned diets. Although blood pressure fell in both groups, participants who ate heart-healthy versions of their traditional diets experienced much greater drops. Their systolic blood pressure fell an additional 10 mmHg on average compared to the control group; diastolic blood pressure dropped nearly an additional 4 mmHg. The results were comparable across the four regional cooking styles.

The cost of preparing the modified version of the diets was equivalent to 60 cents per day in US dollars, which the researchers said was considered affordable. They also reported that the flavor and taste of the modified diet was comparable to traditional meals and that the participants ate similar amounts of food.

“Healthcare professionals should recommend a heart-healthy diet with low sodium and high potassium, fiber, vegetables and fruits as first-line treatment for their patients with hypertension,” said Wu said. “Because traditional Chinese food culture and cooking methods are often used wherever Chinese people live, I think a heart-healthy Chinese diet and the principles we used to develop the diet would also be helpful. for Chinese Americans.”

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