25 February 2014

Vegetarian or meat-eater, balanced diet key to a healthy heart

Roasted vegetables

People who eat a vegetarian diet are more likely to have lower blood pressure, say researchers.

Scientists looked at the results of 7 clinical trials and 32 observational studies. They found that people who ate a meat-free diet typically had a lower blood pressure.

Our Senior Dietitian Victoria Taylor, said: “Research into vegetarian diets can be difficult to interpret because there are often variations in what that diet includes, and excludes, people’s motivation for following this type of diet as well as other lifestyle factors that can confound the results.

“Although, this study suggests that people following a vegetarian diet are likely to have a lower blood pressure level more research is needed to understand what the mechanism at work is.

Removing meat from the diet isn’t a fast track to heart health.


“A well balanced vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients that we need. However, simply removing meat from the diet isn’t a fast track to heart health – many foods high in saturated fatsalt and sugar will be vegetarian options too.

“Whether you eat meat or not, getting plenty of fruit and vegetables, eating less salt, maintaining a healthy weight and, if you drink alcohol, keeping within government recommendations are all important as part of the healthy and active lifestyle that will help to keep your blood pressure down."

Find out more

  • We've lots of information on how to eat a balanced diet.
  • Looking for inspiration? Our Everyday British recipe book is packed full of tasty dishes that are also good for your heart. All money raised from sales help us keep fighting heart disease.