Objective It is recommended that middle-aged and elderly individuals reduce their salt intake because of the high prevalence of hypertension. The consumption of miso soup is associated with salt intake, and the reduced consumption of miso soup has been recommended. Recent studies have demonstrated that the consumption of miso soup can attenuate an autonomic imbalance in animal models. However, it is unclear whether these results are applicable to humans. This study examined the cross-sectional association between the frequency of miso soup consumption and the blood pressure and heart rate of human subjects.
Methods A total of 527 subjects of 50 to 81 years of age who participated in our hospital health examination were enrolled in the present study and divided into four groups based on the frequency of their miso soup consumption ([bowl(s) of miso soup/week] Group 1, <1; Group2, <4; Group3, <7; Group4, ≥7). The blood pressure levels and heart rates of the subjects in each group were compared. Furthermore, a multivariable analysis was performed to determine whether miso soup consumption was an independent factor affecting the incidence of hypertension or the heart rate.
Results The frequency of miso soup consumption was not associated with blood pressure. The heart rate was, however, lower in the participants who reported a high frequency of miso soup consumption. A multivariable analysis revealed that the participants who reported a high frequency of miso soup consumption were more likely to have a lower heart rate, but that the consumption of miso soup was not associated with the incidence of hypertension.
Conclusion These results indicate that miso soup consumption might decrease the heart rate, but not have a significant effect on the blood pressure of in middle-aged and elderly Japanese individuals.