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Recommendations for the Use of Dietary Fiber to Improve Blood Pressure Control.

Hypertension 2024 April 9
According to several international, regional, and national guidelines on hypertension, lifestyle interventions are the first-line treatment to lower blood pressure (BP). Although diet is one of the major lifestyle modifications described in hypertension guidelines, dietary fiber is not specified. Suboptimal intake of foods high in fiber, such as in Westernized diets, is a major contributing factor to mortality and morbidity of noncommunicable diseases due to higher BP and cardiovascular disease. In this review, we address this deficiency by examining and advocating for the incorporation of dietary fiber as a key lifestyle modification to manage elevated BP. We explain what dietary fiber is, review the existing literature that supports its use to lower BP and prevent cardiovascular disease, describe the mechanisms involved, propose evidence-based target levels of fiber intake, provide examples of how patients can achieve the recommended targets, and discuss outstanding questions in the field. According to the evidence reviewed here, the minimum daily dietary fiber for adults with hypertension should be >28 g/day for women and >38 g/day for men, with each extra 5 g/day estimated to reduce systolic BP by 2.8 mm Hg and diastolic BP by 2.1 mm Hg. This would support a healthy gut microbiota and the production of gut microbiota-derived metabolites called short-chain fatty acids that lower BP. Awareness about dietary fiber targets and how to achieve them will guide medical teams on better educating patients and empowering them to increase their fiber intake and, as a result, lower their BP and cardiovascular disease risk.

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