June 4, 2007 -- Looking to lower your blood pressure? You may want to add foods containing omega-3 fatty acids to your diet.
Such foods -- which include flaxseeds, walnuts, and fatty fish such as salmon -- may help lower blood pressure, a new study shows.
The findings "lend modest support to current recommendations to increase ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids," write Hirotsugu Ueshima, MD, and colleagues. Ueshima works in the health science department of Japan's Shiga University.
Ueshima's team studied 4,680 men and women in Japan, China, the U.K., and the U.S.
Participants, who were 40-59 years old, met with the researchers four times over three weeks. In each session, they got their blood pressure checked, provided a urine sample, and reported everything they had eaten and drunk in the past 24 hours.
The researchers calculated each person's intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Japanese participants had the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Ueshima and colleagues also considered other factors, including participants' age, gender, alcohol consumption, physical activity, dietary restrictions, supplements, and medications.
Participants with the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids tended to have the lowest blood pressure. That pattern was particularly strong in people who didn't have high blood pressure and who weren't already on restricted diets or medications to control their blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty acids didn't appear to drastically slash blood pressure. But every small reduction in blood pressure counts, and including foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as part of a healthy diet may have blood pressure benefits, note the researchers.
The study appears in the journal Hypertension.