The Small Change To Diet That Lowers Blood Pressure

A dietary pattern that can reduce blood pressure effectively, even if consumed with some dairy and meat products.

A dietary pattern that can reduce blood pressure effectively, even if consumed with some dairy and meat products.

Even less strict plant-based diets containing small amounts of animal products can also lower blood pressure, a review reveals.

Researchers from Warwick Medical School point out that dietary patterns containing higher amounts of plant-based foods, if married to small amounts of animal-based foods such as meat and diary will still reduce blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

The team compared seven plant-based diets including the Mediterranean, DASH, vegetarian, high fibre, vegan, high fruit and vegetables, and Nordic.

Several of these diets contained some animal products, but results showed that they exert a similar effect on blood pressure as has been seen in strict vegetarian diets.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, therefore decreases in blood pressure would have a significant positive impact on public health.

The global death rate and number of diseases caused by poor diets are much higher than excessive drinking, smoking, unsafe sex, and drug abuse put together.

Every year about 5 million death could be prevented by eating a more plant-based diet rich in whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and seeds.

The research team wanted to see if plant-based diets have to be free from any animal product in order to lower blood pressure sufficiently.

Mr Joshua Gibbs, the study’s first author, said:

“We reviewed 41 studies involving 8,416 participants, in which the effects of seven different plant-based diets (including DASH, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nordic, high fibre and high fruit and vegetables) on blood pressure were studied in controlled clinical trials.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of these studies showed that most of these diets lowered blood pressure.

The DASH diet had the largest effect reducing blood pressure by 5.53/3.79 mmHg compared to a control diet, and by 8.74/6.05 mmHg when compared to a ‘usual’ diet.

A blood pressure reduction of the scale caused by a higher consumption of plant-based diets, even with limited animal products would result in a 14% reduction in strokes, a 9% reduction in heart attacks and a 7% reduction in overall mortality.

This is a significant finding as it highlights that complete eradication of animal products is not necessary to produce reductions and improvements in blood pressure.

Essentially, any shift towards a plant-based diet is a good one.”

Professor Francesco Cappuccio, study senior author, said:

“The adoption of plant-based dietary patterns would also play a role in global food sustainability and security.

They would contribute to a reduction in land use due to human activities, to global water conservation and to a significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emission.

The study shows the efficacy of a plant-based diet on blood pressure. However, the translation of this knowledge into real benefits to people, i.e. its effectiveness, depends on a variety of factors related to both individual choices and to governments’ policy decisions.

For example, for an individual, the ability to adopt a plant-based diet would be influenced by socio-economic factors (costs, availability, access), perceived benefits and difficulties, resistance to change, age, health status, low adherence due to palatability and acceptance.

To overcome these barriers, we ought to formulate strategies to influence beliefs about plant-based diets, plant food availability and costs, multisectoral actions to foster policy changes focusing on environmental sustainability of food production, science gathering and health consequences.”

The study was published in the journal Journal of Hypertension (Gibbs et al., 2020).

A Common Sign Of High Blood Pressure

This sign is linked to a 40 percent greater chance of high blood pressure.

This sign is linked to a 40 percent greater chance of high blood pressure.

Repeated trips to the toilet in the night can be a sign of high blood pressure, research concludes.

The more times a person needs to go in the night, the higher the risk.

Nocturia — as night time urination is known to doctors — is linked to a 40 percent greater chance of high blood pressure.

Dr Satoshi Konno, the study’s first author, said:

“Our study indicates that if you need to urinate in the night—called nocturia—you may have elevated blood pressure and/or excess fluid in your body.

If you continue to have nocturia, ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and salt intake.”

The Japanese study included 1,882 people who had their blood pressure measured and who were asked how often they urinated in the night.

Over two-thirds suffered from nocturia.

Dr Konno explained the results:

“We found that getting up in the night to urinate was linked to a 40% greater chance of having hypertension.

And the more visits to the toilet, the greater the risk of hypertension.”

Professor Barbara Casadei, president of the European Society of Cardiology, said:

“More than one billion people have high blood pressure worldwide.

High blood pressure is the leading global cause of premature death, accounting for almost ten million deaths in 2015.

ESC guidelines recommend medication to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.

A healthy lifestyle is also advised, including salt restriction, alcohol moderation, healthy eating, regular exercise, weight control, and smoking cessation.”

The Japanese have a particular problem with high blood pressure (hypertension), said Dr Mutsuo Harada:

“Hypertension is a national disease in Japan.

The average salt intake in Japan is approximately 10 g/day, which is more than double the average salt intake worldwide (4 g/day).

This excessive salt intake is related to our preference for seafood and soy sauce-based food, so salt restriction is difficult to carry out.”

The study was presented at the 83rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Circulation Society (JCS 2019).

How To Spot The Common Signs Of High Blood Pressure

This routine daily behaviour found to be a sign of high blood pressure and stroke.

This routine daily behaviour found to be a sign of high blood pressure and stroke.

Taking an afternoon nap has previously been suggested to fight fatigue, improve memory and mood, and in general be good for health.

However, a study reveals that regular napping during the day increases the odds of high blood pressure by 12 percent and stroke by 24 percent.

Other warning signs of high blood pressure can include dizziness, chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, blurry vision, and nosebleeds.

Daily napping

While short naps are sometimes healthy, they can be a symptom of poor sleep and lead to a higher risk of heart disease, and diabetes.

According to the study, people who nap every day are more likely to be men, smokers, drinkers, insomniacs, have lower income and education, to snore, and typically be an evening person.

The results show that as the number of naps increases (from not at all to occasionally or occasionally to often), the likelihood of having high blood pressure soars by 40 percent.

The analysis shows frequent nappers who were under 60 years old were 20 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than those who didn’t have the habit of napping.

The risk for participants who were older than 60 and napped often was increased by 10 percent compared to those who never took naps.

The team used UK Biobank data from 358,451 participants with no history of hypertension or stroke with a follow-up of 11 years.

The subjects were divided into 3 groups (never or rarely, sometimes, and usually napping) based on self-reported daytime nap frequency.

Dr Michael Grandner, an expert on sleep and health, commenting on the study, said:

“This may be because, although taking a nap itself is not harmful, many people who take naps may do so because of poor sleep at night.

Poor sleep at night is associated with poorer health, and naps are not enough to make up for that.

This study echoes other findings that generally show that taking more naps seems to reflect increased risk for problems with heart health and other issues.”

How to lower blood pressure

Many studies have found that following a healthy diet, exercise, and getting good quality sleep will reduce hypertension dramatically.

For example one study shows that food containing potassium along with lower sodium, can help to reduce hypertension.

review suggests that even less strict plant-based diets containing small amounts of animal products can also lower blood pressure.

A UK study found that a diet high in flavanols such as berries, nuts, cocoa products, apples, and tea can improve blood circulation and vascular health.

Another study shows that a little exercise plus following the DASH diet leads to a remarkable reduction in blood pressure and weight loss.

This study was published in the journal Hypertension (Yang et al., 2022).

A Concentrated Fruit Juice That Lowers Blood Pressure

Drinking this uncommon juice can lower blood pressure.

Drinking this uncommon juice can lower blood pressure.

The lingonberry is a tiny red berry similar to a cranberry, but powerful enough to improve blood vessel function, research finds.

Drinking lingonberry juice in the long-term will lower blood pressure by widening the blood vessels and relaxing the smooth muscle cells within the arteries.

Many people experience elevated blood pressure and many are at risk of vascular disease caused by disturbances in blood vessel function.

Nutrition, in addition to medicatio, plays an essential role in managing hypertension and related disorders, like heart disease.

An experimental study found that an eight-week treatment with concentrated lingonberry juice reduced blood pressure in hypertensive rats.

Berries, tea, cocoa, vegetables and fruits rich in polyphenol, an antioxidant, have been shown to improve cardiovascular health.

Nordic berries such as lingonberry, blackcurrant, cranberry and bilberry are excellent sources of polyphenols, including flavonoids, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins.

Lingonberry juice given to genetically hypertensive rats stopped the expression of genes causing inflammation in the aorta but other berry juices were not as effective.

It is possible that lingonberry juice has an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing the serum levels of certain hormones that are responsible for increasing blood pressure.

It also enhances nitric oxide production which in turn makes blood vessels widen and improves vascular function.

Ms Anne Kivimäki, the study’s author, said:

“‘These experimental findings need evidence from comparative clinical studies on healthy individuals with slightly elevated blood pressure who, at this point, have been given nutritional and lifestyle guidance instead of drug therapy.

Lingonberry juice is no substitute for medication, but it is a good dietary supplement.

The study was accessed through E-thesis service Helsingin yliopisto (Kivimäki et al., 2019).

High Blood Pressure: The Best Time To Take Pills

Taking blood pressure pills at the right time halves the risk of heart failure, heart attack and stroke.

Taking blood pressure pills at the right time halves the risk of heart failure, heart attack and stroke.

Blood pressure pills are much more effective if taken at bedtime, an easy behaviour that could greatly reduce the risk of heart disease.

A study has found that, unlike patients who take their medications for high blood pressure in the morning, those who routinely take their pills before going to bed respond better to the treatment.

The researchers followed 9,000 patients for 6 years to see if taking anti-hypertensive medication at night or in the morning has a better effect on cardiovascular disease.

The risk of dying from or having a heart attack, stroke, and heart failure reduced by nearly half in patients who took their medications at bedtime.

These patients had a 66 percent lower risk of death from heart or blood vessel problems as opposed to those who took their medication in the morning.

Taking medications at bedtime also lowered the risk of:

  • stroke by 49 percent,
  • myocardial infarction, which is a type of heart attack, by 44 percent,
  • heart failure by 42 percent,
  • and coronary revascularisation by 40 percent.

Professor Ramón C. Hermida, the study’s first author, said:

“Current guidelines on the treatment of hypertension do not mention or recommend any preferred treatment time.

Morning ingestion has been the most common recommendation by physicians based on the misleading goal of reducing morning blood pressure levels.

The results of this study show that patients who routinely take their anti-hypertensive medication at bedtime, as opposed to when they wake up, have better-controlled blood pressure and, most importantly, a significantly decreased risk of death or illness from heart and blood vessel problems.”

The human body’s circadian rhythms or biological clock might have an impact on the absorption of anti-hypertensive drugs since they influence hormone production and digestion.

In this study, those who took their medicine at bedtime had considerably lower blood pressure during the day.

The bedtime treatment lowered their blood pressure even more at night in comparison to patients who were taking their drugs each morning.

Professor Hermida said:

“The findings — indicate that average blood pressure levels while asleep and night-time blood pressure dipping, but not day-time blood pressure or blood pressure measured in the clinic, are jointly the most significant blood pressure-derived markers of cardiovascular risk.”

The study was published in European Heart Journal (Hermida et al., 2019).

High Blood Pressure Damages These Critical Brain Regions (M)

High blood pressure is thought to affect almost one-in-three people around the world, with a further third at risk.

High blood pressure is thought to affect almost one-in-three people around the world, with a further third at risk.

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5 Foods And Drinks That Reduce Blood Pressure

The foods and drink that lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

The foods and drink that lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

Eating berries, nuts, cocoa products, apples, and drinking tea have been found to improve blood circulation and vascular health.

These foods and drink are rich in flavanols, a type of polyphenol that has powerful antioxidant effects.

A diet high in flavanols is an effective way to reduce blood pressure and prevent cardio-vascular diseases.

A UK study of more than 25,000 people examined the link between flavanols as bioactive compounds and human health.

They found that people with high blood pressure have lower flavanol levels than those with normal blood pressure.

Between the lowest and highest levels of flavanol intake there was a 4 mmHg difference in blood pressure.

This means a diet rich in flavanols has the same effect in reducing blood pressure as a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet or a Mediterranean diet.

Professor Gunter Kuhnle, the study’s senior author, said:

“What this study gives us is an objective finding about the association between flavanols — found in tea and some fruits — and blood pressure.

This research confirms the results from previous dietary intervention studies and shows that the same results can be achieved with a habitual diet rich in flavanols.

In the British diet, the main sources are tea, cocoa, apples and berries.”

The beneficial effect of flavanols on vascular function was even higher for those with the highest blood pressure.

These findings suggest that the incidence of cardiovascular disease will reduce if people increase their intake of flavanol-rich foods and drinks.

Flavanols are a class of flavonoids able to reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, which decreases heart disease risk.

A study by Johnson et al., found that participants who ate a daily intake of one cup of blueberries after 8 weeks had a 7 mm/Hg reduction in their systolic blood pressure and 5 mm/Hg reduction in their diastolic blood pressure.

The effect of lowering blood pressure and arterial stiffness may be due to a rise in nitric oxide production in the blood vessels.

These antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as increasing the production of nitric oxide in the body.

Dr Hagen Schroeter, study co-author, said:

“This study adds key insights to a growing body of evidence supporting the benefits of dietary flavanols in health and nutrition.

But, perhaps even more exciting was the opportunity to apply objective biomarkers of flavanol intake at a large scale.

This enabled the team to avoid the significant limitations that come with past approaches which rely on estimating intake based on self-reported food consumption data and the shortcomings of current food composition databases.”

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Ottaviani et al., 2020).

This 4-in-1 Pill For Blood Pressure Is Most Effective

A single pill containing four medicines is highly effective for treating blood pressure.

A single pill containing four medicines is highly effective for treating blood pressure.

Nearly half of the adult population of the United States and one-third of the world-wide population has high high blood pressure.

Hypertension is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke yet the strategies to control the condition remain poor.

A study offers a solution for treating high blood pressure by giving patients a pill containing a quarter dose of four common medicines.

The quadpill which contains irbesartan, amlodipine, indapamide and bisoprolol has been shown to be more successful in treating hypertension than the routine practice of relying on a single drug.

The results come from an Australian clinical trial which shows that within three months 81 percent of participants on the quadpill had their blood pressure under control while this was 62 percent for the control group who were receiving the best care but were taking a single drug.

Normally, doctors put patients on one medication, but if the drug is not found effective they will add or change the drug, however, the approach remains unsuccessful in most cases.

Professor Clara Chow, the study’s first author, hinted that hypertension control rates are poor:

“Statistics on the global burden of high blood pressure this week show that there’s been a doubling in the past 30 years of hypertension cases—the leading cause of the world’s top killer: heart attack and stroke.”

Dr. Emily Atkins, study co-author, said:

“In settings with high levels of specialist care and full access to a range of existing blood pressure medicines—like the centers in this trial—the improved reduction in blood pressure with this strategy would be expected to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by about 20 percent.

In settings with little or no existing hypertension treatment, the benefits would be much greater.”

The study was published in The Lancet  (Chow et al., 2021).

An Indoor Activity That Lowers Blood Pressure More Than Walking

An indoor activity found to diminish high blood pressure more effectively than walking.

An indoor activity found to diminish high blood pressure more effectively than walking.

Physicians have typically prescribed walking as part of the treatment plan for their patients with high blood pressure (hypertension).

However, according to a recent study, stretching is more effective than brisk walking for people with hypertension or those at increased risk of developing it.

Hypertension, despite being a major risk factor for heart disease, can easily be controlled if patients follow some lifestyle changes.

One of these changes is doing 30-minute stretching exercises for five days a week.

Dr Phil Chilibeck, study’s co-author, said:

“Everyone thinks that stretching is just about stretching your muscles.

But when you stretch your muscles, you’re also stretching all the blood vessels that feed into the muscle, including all the arteries.

If you reduce the stiffness in your arteries, there’s less resistance to blood flow.”

The finding that stretching can lower hypertension has been supported by earlier research, but this is the first time that stretching has been compared with fast walking.

For this study, 40 adults with high blood pressure were randomly divided into two groups to do either stretching exercises or walking for 8 weeks.

One group did 30-minute full-body stretches five days a week and the second group did walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

The participants’ blood pressure was monitored over a full day wearing a blood pressure cuff device.

The results showed that stretching led to a greater reduction of blood pressure than walking.

However, during those eight weeks, the walkers lost more belly fat than the stretching group.

Thus the authors advise people to do stretching exercises along with routine walks.

Dr Chilibeck said:

“I don’t want people to come away from our research thinking they shouldn’t be doing some form of aerobic activity.

Things like walking, biking, or cross-country skiing all have a positive effect on body fat, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar.”

Dr Chilibeck assumes yoga or a shorter stretching session than 30 minutes, if focused on the leg muscles, especially the hamstrings and quadriceps, would produce a similar effect on lowering blood pressure as found in the present study.

Dr Chilibeck said:

“The beauty of stretching is that it’s so easy to incorporate into a person’s daily routine.

You’re not at the mercy of the weather and it’s easy on your joints—a big plus for people with osteoarthritis.

And it doesn’t require a big commitment of time, another barrier to exercise for many people.

When you’re relaxing in the evening, instead of just sitting on the couch, you can get down on the floor and stretch while you’re watching TV.”

The study was published in the  Journal of Physical Activity and Health (Ko et al., 2020).

High Blood Pressure: One Fun Activity That Treats Hypertension

High blood pressure — known to doctors as hypertension — is a risk factor for heart disease.

High blood pressure — known to doctors as hypertension — is a risk factor for heart disease.

Single women who take part in regular social activities have lower blood pressure, research finds.

However, social isolation and loneliness increase the risk of high blood pressure in women.

High blood pressure — known to doctors as hypertension — is a risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among women.

The study found that widowed, socially inactive women living on their own were at the highest risk of hypertension.

Dr Annalijn Conklin, study co-author, said:

“Among older adults, social isolation is the largest known risk factor for mortality, equal only to smoking.

Less well known is how social isolation affects men and women differently, or how it affects biomarkers of longevity.

Our research indicates that women, in particular, are more likely to be hypertensive when they experience isolation in middle and older age.”

The study included data from almost 30,000 people aged 45 to 85 in Canada.

The results showed that women without a partner who had fewer than three social activities per month were at the highest risk of hypertension.

Dr Conklin said:

“Among women, the increase in blood pressure that was associated with the lack of social ties was similar to that seen with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use, increased sodium diets pollution or weight gain.

This represents a significant women-specific risk factor for heart disease or stroke.”

Among men, the results were quite different.

Those who had a large social network and shared their home with others had higher blood pressure.

Men who lived alone and had fewer social ties had lower blood pressure.

Dr Conklin said:

“Taken with our previous research, our new findings underline how social isolation affects health in men and women differently.

At a time when COVID-19 is forcing us to limit our social interactions, it’s important for those working in health care and public health to encourage older women, in particular, to find new ways to be socially active.”

The study was published in the Journal of Hypertension (Zeinab et al., 2020).

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