African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development

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Effects of fruits and vegetables on electolytes and blood pressure of hypertensive patients seen in Nigeria

ES Idogun, AA Famodu, LA Olasunkanmi, O Osilesi, OO Adebawo


High-fruit and high-vegetable diets are known to have ameliorating effects on many diseases and their complications. The objective of this study was to assess the effects
of high fruit and high vegetable diets on the electrolytes and blood pressure of hypertensive patients. This experimental study was conducted at Olabisi Onabanjo
University Teaching Hospital (formerly Ogun State University), Ogun state, Nigeria.
Twenty five hypertensive volunteers from among hypertensive clinic attendees were
recruited into the study. They were taught how to prepare two serves of vegetables
and fruit (approximately 500g diced fruit salad) per day and were encouraged to
consume the serves on daily basis from week one through to week ten. Baseline and
bi-weekly assessment of plasma electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, chloride and
bicarbonate was carried out on the patients. Anthropometric measurements and blood
pressure were also assessed biweekly on the patients during their routine clinic
There was a gradual reduction in plasma sodium and chloride concentrations as well
as the blood pressure which became significant in week ten. The mean baseline
plasma sodium reduced significantly from 139.0 ± 0.9mmo/L to 137.5 ± 0.9mml/L, P
< 0.001 after ten weeks of high fruit and high vegetable diets. Plasma chloride also
reduced from baseline value of 103.2 ± 2.5mmol/L to 98.8 ± 0.7mmol/L, P < 0.0001.
But the plasma potassium improved from 3.64 ± 0.2mmol/L at baseline to 3.9 ±
0.4mmol/L at week ten, P = 0.0357. The mean systolic blood pressure also dropped
from the baseline value of 155.3± 7.6mmHg to 141 ± 2.4 mmHg, P < 0.0001. Also
reduced was the mean diastolic blood pressure from 89.3 ± 7.6mmHg to 88.0 ± 2.4, at
week ten. However, the plasma bicarbonate and BMI did not charge significantly
throughout the study period.
High-fruit and high-vegetable diets appear to have an ameliorating effect on the blood
pressure of hypertensive patients. This may be beneficial and complementary in the
management of hypertension.

Keywords: Hypertension, Fruits and Vegetables, Electrolytes.

AJFAND Vol. 8 (3) 2008: pp. 349-357

AJOL African Journals Online