“Food”, specifically too much of it i.e. being overweight, drives blood pressure up. Sustained high blood pressure ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease.
A variety of drugs can be taken to reduce the pressure in the pipes, but many people yearn for non-pharmacological approaches.
So if diet drives it up, are there foods that can bring it down ?
The root of the problem is typically obesity. Being fat upsets several regulatory mechanisms so step number one should be to get the excess pounds off.
Failing this, or combined with this, what are the culinary options to bring the blood pressure down ?
A google search will bring a long list of lotions and potions. The million dollar question………….
Is it science or just marketing hype ?
A review article published in the Annual Nutrition Review late last year, gives an up-to-date scientific perspective on “The effect of nutrition on blood pressure”. The information is backed up by clinical studies not just anecdotes and the marketing department.
So what is on their definitive list ?
- More potassium and less sodium (aka salt)
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (i.e. omega 3s)
- More protein (or maybe a better way of putting it, less carbohydrate)
- Vitamin D
So what is on their possibility but not positively list ?
- Amino acids
- Green coffee bean extract
- Dark chocolate
- Foods high in nitrates e.g. beetroot
Despite being Italian, the authors left off wine. Suspect this is because alcohol is complicated. “A little” does good things for blood pressure but too much drives blood pressure into the stratosphere.
Will munching on dark chocolate lower my blood pressure ?
Can’t say for sure – remember what works for one person may not always work for someone else because of genomics. But this list is a good place to start and includes many of the 7 Big Spoons.
High blood pressure is not one disease, lots of things can cause it so there are going to be a variety of solutions to “fix” it. But it does need to be “fixed’ even though you don’t feel or look sick ( it’s called the “silent” killer !).
Remember, the problem is that when blood pressure is high things are very squished in the blood vessels. The pipes carrying the blood around your body are not “big” enough for all the blood that is moving through which creates pressure. If you have ever tried to “squeeze” into pants that you have “outgrown”, you know it doesn’t feel too comfortable and a giant tear can happen if you aren’t careful.Wake deterioration and sleep restoration of human learning Current Biology, 2011; 21 (5): R183, Bryce A. Mander, Sangeetha Santhanam, Jared M. Saletin, Matthew P. Walker.
Need to bring your blood pressure down ?
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..