Adults following the well-documented Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan  can also  include lean pork, which will help lower blood pressure. According to new research funded by the Pork Checkoff, people with high blood pressure can benefit from a DASH eating plan that uses nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein.

Karen Richter, who serves as the president of the National Pork Board, as well as a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. noted that this new Pork Checkoff-funded study only further validates the role of lean pork and its importance in a balanced diet.

She added that lean, nutrient-rich pork has many beneficial qualities that make it very easy to incorporate into any individual’s healthy diet.  

Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source, the blood pressure benefits were the same. Regardless of the protein source, study participants' systolic blood pressure dropped about eight to nine points and their diastolic number decrease about four to five points after six weeks. Participants had their blood pressure consistently checked through a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.

Wayne Campbell, who is a nutrition science professor at Purdue University, said that the DASH dies has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote and help decrease the risk of chronic diseases.

Campbell noted that while the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, the research suggest that lean pork may also be a part of the healthy eating pattern.

The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults - 13 women and six men - all with elevated blood pressure. Participants were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods, which included either chicken and fish or lean pork as the major protein source, or about 55 percent of their total protein intake. The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.

For the latest pork nutrition information, recipes and more, visit porkandhealth.org.