Category Archives: high blood pressure

Eating yogurt regularly found to help lower blood pressure

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer 

(NaturalNews) The benefits of consuming probiotic-rich yogurt extend a whole lot further than just promoting digestive health, according to a new study presented at a recent medical conference in Washington, D.C. It turns out that people who regularly eat yogurt as part of a healthy diet tend to have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure, a condition that can cause more serious problems like stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney damage, or blindness later on down the road.

Researchers from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, studied and tracked more than 2,000 adults who were part of the Framingham Heart Study, all of whom did not have high blood pressure at the start of the study. Participants answered questionnaires at three intervals during the study, and the study team evaluated and compared rates of yogurt consumption to rates of high blood pressure during a 14-year follow-up period.

Upon analysis, the team, which was headed by Dr. Huifen Wang, Ph.D., found that participants who ate the equivalent of at least one serving of yogurt every three days were 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than participants who ate no yogurt at all. Levels of systolic blood pressure, which indicate the force of blood against arterial walls while the heart is beating, were also generally lower among those who ate yogurt compared to those who did not.

“Higher yogurt intake, as part of a healthy diet pattern, may be beneficial for blood pressure control and hypertension prevention,” said the research team about the findings.

Eating yogurt without taking blood pressure medication even more beneficial

Overall, the amount of yogurt consumed by participants that experienced blood pressure benefits was relatively low, averaging as little as one-third of a serving of yogurt per day. But even more surprising was the researchers’ observation that those participants who ate yogurt but were not taking any blood pressure medications actually fared better in the blood pressure department than those who ate yogurt as well as took the medications.

What this means is that blood pressure medication may be completely unnecessary for many people who simply revamp their diets to include foods like yogurt that appear to improve blood flow and ease arterial inflammation and other factors that can lead to high blood pressure. When consuming yogurt, be sure to look for organic, grass-fed varieties that have not been homogenized, and that preferably contain part or full fat content.

Cocoa consumption shown to reduce blood pressure


by J. D. Heyes 

(NaturalNews) Record heat and drought conditions across much of the country make it pretty difficult to think about the approaching winter, but once it gets here why not supplement your diet with a little cocoa?

Not only does it taste good, new research shows it could be very good for you as well.

According to data culled from 20 separate studies over the last ten years, researchers have discovered that consuming dark chocolate or cocoa daily – both of which are rich in plant compounds known as flavanols – could lead to a slight dip in your blood pressure for a short while.

People who consumed flavanol-rich cocoa products daily for a few weeks saw their blood pressure drop by about two or three points. And while that may not sound like much, consider a) cocoa tastes good; b) every little bit helps when it comes to lowering blood pressure because of its long-term, cumulative effect on your cardiovascular system; and c) see answer “a.”

Studies examined appear reliable

Medical experts aren’t quite ready to recommend cocoa supplementation over medications aimed at treating high blood pressure. But they are saying that the level of blood pressure reduction linked to daily doses of cocoa are the equivalent to the addition of “diet changes or exercise,” Reuters reported, citing the researchers.

Wait, though. That doesn’t mean you should drop exercise in lieu of eating more cocoa, says Dr. Elizabeth Jackson, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of MichiganHealth Systems in Ann Arbor.

“If I had to choose between cocoa and exercise, I would take the exercise,” said Jackson, who had no part in the new study. “To me this says a little bit of dark chocolate isn’t too bad, but you wouldn’t want to go overboard with the calories and eat a pound of chocolate,” she said.

The comparative study, the results of which were published in The Cochrane Library, researchers from Australia examined a number of online databases to find randomized controlled trials, which are considered the “gold standard” of medical research, comparing people who ate flavanol-filled cocoa products to people eating low-flavanol cocoa powder or products that contained no flavanol.

The researchers could not say flavanols are responsible for lowering blood pressure in participants of the study. But the compounds themselves, which are also found in other foods (green tea, red wine, berries) have been linked to the production of nitric oxide in the body which, the authors note, helps to relax blood vessels. That, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

The American Heart Association says a persons’ systolic blood pressure – that’s the top number – should be lower than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), while their diastolic, or lower, number should be around 80 mm Hg or less.

There are some variables, but overall it seems to work

The studies examined followed people who were generally healthy for between two and 18 weeks. Researchers say that of 856 participants, 429 of them ate between three grams and 100 grams of cocoa or dark chocolate that contained anywhere between 30 mg to 1080 mg of flavanols every day.

The remaining 427 people were put in groups that ate low-flavanol cocoa powder and other products that did not contain them at all.

At the end of the studies, the flavanol-rich group saw systolic blood pressure drops of about 2.8 mm Hg and diastolic decreases of about 2.2 mm Hg.

There were some additional factors to consider regarding the results, experts noted.

For one, it’s not clear exactly how much of the flavanol-rich cocoa should be consumed daily in order to substantially reduce blood pressure or even if larger doses would have greater effects. Also, not all cocoa products are created equal; Some contain more flavanols than others.

And, experts noted, the effects seemed to be greater in younger adults, a finding that led Jackson to comment that she wasn’t surprised since blood vessels tend to become less elastic as people get older.

Nevertheless, the study’s lead author sounded a positive note overall.

“Moderate, regular dosages of flavanol-rich cocoa products such as dark chocolate may be part of a comprehensive lifestyle plan to optimizing health,” Dr. Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, told Reuters.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.reuters.com

http://www.cbsnews.com

BBC News – Arm blood pressure differences ‘predict death risk’

Measuring blood pressure

A large difference between the blood pressure in each arm suggests a bigger risk of dying early, researchers claim.
A study of 230 high blood pressure patients found those with big differences in systolic pressure were more likely to die from heart attack, stroke or other causes.
More heart health checks may be needed in those with different readings, says the British Heart Foundation.
Not all medics follow national guidance to measure blood pressure in both arms.
Dr Christopher Clark from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter, who led the study, published in the British Medical Journal, said the message to doctors was simple.
“Sorry guys, but you really need to follow the guidelines by measuring both arms when you’re assessing blood pressure,” he told the BBC.
He said patients with high blood pressure who routinely checked their blood pressure at home should also follow the advice.
“If they are being treated on the basis of their blood pressure, it’s important to know if there’s a difference between arms so they know their treatment is based on the correct measurements in the future.”
A previous analysis of 28 study papers in The Lancet also found that a large difference in readings could mean an increased risk of vascular disease and death.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study supports national guidelines, which recommend that blood pressure readings are taken in both arms. It is normal to have a small difference in your blood pressure readings between arms.
“However, a big difference between your readings may carry risks, so more tests could be needed to check your heart health. If you want to find out your blood pressure, visit your GP or practice nurse to have it measured.”
People with different readings in each arm may have peripheral vascular disease, which often shows no symptoms.
Stopping smoking, or medication to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart problems or stroke in these patients.

Wikio

>Sugary soft drinks linked to high blood pressure

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soft drink
Sugary soft drinks linked to high blood pressure
By Michelle Roberts
Health reporter, BBC News
Drinking too many sugary beverages appears to raise the risk of high blood pressure, experts are warning.
Findings suggest blood pressure goes up incrementally for every extra can of sugary drink consumed per day.
Drinking more than 355ml a day of sugar-sweetened fruit juice or carbonated drink can be enough to upset the balance, data on over 2,500 people reveals.
The study by UK and US researchers appears in the journal Hypertension.
The precise mechanism behind the link is unclear, but scientists believe too much sugar in the blood disrupts blood vessel tone and salt levels in the body. Non-sugar sweetened diet drinks did not carry the same risk.
The soft drink industry maintains that the beverages are safe to drink “in moderation”.
The American Heart Association says people should drink no more than three 355ml cans of soda a week.
For the study, the participants who were aged 40-59 from the UK and the US were asked to record what they had eaten in the preceding 24 hours on four separate occasions. They also provided a urine sample and had their blood pressure measured.
The researchers found that sugar intake was highest in those consuming more than one sugar-sweetened beverage daily.
They also found that individuals consuming more than one serving per day of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed more calories than those who didn’t consume sugary drinks – around 397 extra calories a day.
For every extra can of sugary drink consumed per day, participants on average had a higher systolic blood pressure by 1.6mmHg and a higher diastolic blood pressure by 0.8mmHg.
Overall, the people who consumed a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages appeared to also have less healthy diets and were more likely to be overweight.
But regardless of this, the link with blood pressure was still significant even after adjusting for factors such as weight and height.
Stroke risk
Professor Paul Elliott, senior author of the study, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “It’s widely known that if you have too much salt in your diet, you’re more likely to develop high blood pressure.
“The results of this study suggest that people should be careful about how much sugar they consume as well.”
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Someone with a blood pressure level of 135mmHg over 85mmHg is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as someone with a reading of 115mmHg over 75mmHg.
In the study, the link between sugary drinks and higher blood pressure was especially strong in people who consumed a lot of salt as well as sugar. Excess salt in the diet is already a known to contribute to high blood pressure.
The British Heart Foundation said more research was now needed to better understand the relationship between sugar and blood pressure.
Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the BHF, said it was best to avoid too many sugary drinks because they add extra calories to our diets that can lead to obesity, a major risk factor for heart disease.
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of the Blood Pressure Association said: “This is another nail in the coffin for soft drinks.
“Not only do they make you obese but they may also put up your blood pressure. Drinking sweet soft drinks is not good news.”
A spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association said the study did not establish that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages in any way causes hypertension.

“Soft drinks are safe to drink but, like all food and drink, should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet,” he said.Wikio

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