Dietary fiber and blood pressure control
In the past few years, new strategies to control blood pressure levels are emerging by developing new bioactive components of foods. Fiber has been linked to the prevention of a number of cardiovascular diseases and disorders. β-Glucan, the main soluble fiber component in oat grains, was initially linked to a reduction in plasma cholesterol. Several studies have shown afterward that dietary fiber may also improve glycaemia, insulin resistance and weight loss. The effect of dietary fiber on arterial blood pressure has been the subject of far fewer studies than its effect on the above-mentioned variables, but research has already shown that fiber intake can decrease arterial blood pressure in hypertensive rats. Moreover, certain fibers can improve arterial blood pressure when administered to hypertensive and pre-hypertensive subjects. The present review summarizes all those studies which attempt to establish the antihypertensive effects of dietary fiber, as well as its effect on other cardiovascular risk factors.