Houston Heart Care Blog | Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates

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Is Heart Healthy Diet a Viable Alternative to Drugs to Normalize Blood Pressure?

May 12, 2019 10:00:00 AM

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Hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, is widespread in the United States. It is approximated that one in every three adults in the United States suffers from high blood pressure, and for adults aged 65 or older, this number climbs to over 60 percent.

Though, here are some findings that may very well raise your blood pressure: diuretics, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers, medications that are commonly prescribed to treat hypertension, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer or diabetes.3–10 Still, there is good news; making necessary nutritional, and lifestyle modifications is a safer, highly effectual path to recovery.

What’s Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers — let’s say 120/80 as an example. The first (top and higher) figure is systolic pressure — the force that your blood pushes against your blood vessel walls when the heart is contracting. The second (lower and bottom) figure is diastolic pressure — the force that your blood pushes against your blood vessel walls when the heart is relaxing.

It would be best if you aimed to maintain systolic blood pressure under 125 using heart-healthy nutritional habits rather than through medication. For the reason that, in addition to the other side effects, drugs used to lower systolic pressure may overly reduce the diastolic pressure, which can lead the increased risk of falls and increase risk of cardiac events, especially in adults older than 65.11–13

“Silent Killer”

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. 

The risk of suffering from high blood pressure is that it produces almost no symptoms, all the while damaging your heart, arteries, and kidneys. This is why it’s often called the “silent killer.” For some, very high blood pressure may result in dizziness or headaches, but most do not realize that they are affected by hypertension until diagnosed during a routine checkup.

Various medical conditions —  for instance; kidney failure, liver disease, sleep apnea, and anemia — may cause your blood pressure to climb to dangerous levels. However, most people suffer from “essential hypertension,” which is a result of poor lifestyle and dietary habits. Being overweight; consuming a low-plant food, high sodium diet; and sedentary living are all factors that eventually lead, to essential hypertension, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and an increased risk of premature death or disability.

The good news is there are dietary and lifestyle modifications you can make   right now   that will, not only reduce your risk of hypertension but may well do away with of it.

Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally

Eating a healthy diet is essential for managing your blood pressure.To help reduce your high blood pressure and high cholesterol, try the Transformation 20 Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Program. This 20-day plan comprises of daily menus, recipes and other tools to help you make effective changes in less than three weeks. More detailed information is found in the book, The End of Heart Disease, which teaches the vital information needed to make a full and permanent change.

Outcomes on individuals with cardiovascular risk factors who switched to a Nutritarian diet were published in a scientific article in 2015; in particular, those who started with high blood pressure experienced a 26 mmHg median decrease in systolic blood pressure in the first year on the diet.

Here are some changes you can implement right now:

  • Your diet should consist of mostly whole plant foods , such as raw or cooked vegetables; beans; fresh fruits; and nuts and seeds.
  • Avoid salt, oil, sugar, and commercially baked goods.
  • Designate salad as your main plate for one meal every day — eat a plentiful salad consisting of a minimum of five cups of greens; raw cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, beans, colorful veggies — and topped with nut or seed based dressing.
  • Eat G-BOMBS superfoods: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid animal protein, or at least, no more than 8 ounces per week
  • Exercise regularly and vigorously.

A micronutrient-rich diet will help you attain a healthy weight, which is another major contributor to healthy blood pressure levels.

If you need extra help in lowering your blood pressure, consider adding freshly squeezed vegetable juices to your diet. Additionally, therapeutic exercises, therapeutic fasting, and meditation may address your blood pressure issues, all practical alternatives to avoid the need for harmful drugs.

 

References

  1. Benjamin EJ, Virani SS, Callaway CW, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2018 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2018, 137:e67-e492. 
  2. Fang J, Gillespie C, Ayala C, Loustalot F. Prevalence of Self-Reported Hypertension and Antihypertensive Medication Use Among Adults Aged >/=18 Years — United States, 2011–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018, 67:219–224. 
  3. Li CI, Daling JR, Tang MT, et al. Use of Antihypertensive Medications and Breast Cancer Risk Among Women Aged 55 to 74 Years. JAMA Intern Med 2013.
  4. Largent JA, Bernstein L, Horn-Ross PL, et al. Hypertension, antihypertensive medication use, and breast cancer risk in the California Teachers Study cohort. Cancer Causes Control 2010, 21:1615–1624.
  5. Li CI, Malone KE, Weiss NS, et al. Relation between use of antihypertensive medications and risk of breast carcinoma among women ages 65–79 years. Cancer 2003, 98:1504–1513.
  6. Rosenberg L, Rao RS, Palmer JR, et al. Calcium channel blockers and the risk of cancer. JAMA 1998, 279:1000–1004.
  7. Gupta AK, Dahlof B, Dobson J, et al. Determinants of new-onset diabetes among 19,257 hypertensive patients randomized in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial-Blood Pressure Lowering Arm and the relative influence of antihypertensive medication. Diabetes Care 2008, 31:982–988.
  8. Wilcox CS. Metabolic and adverse effects of diuretics. Semin Nephrol 1999, 19:557–568.
  9. Zillich AJ, Garg J, Basu S, et al. Thiazide diuretics, potassium, and the development of diabetes: a quantitative review. Hypertension 2006, 48:219–224.
  10. Elliott WJ, Meyer PM. Incident diabetes in clinical trials of antihypertensive drugs: a network meta-analysis. Lancet 2007, 369:201–207.
  11. Tinetti ME, Han L, Lee DS, et al. Antihypertensive medications and serious fall injuries in a nationally representative sample of older adults. JAMA Intern Med 2014, 174:588–595.
  12. Messerli FH, Mancia G, Conti CR, et al. Dogma disputed: can aggressively lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients with coronary artery disease be dangerous? Ann Intern Med 2006, 144:884–893.
  13. Tringali S, Oberer CW, Huang J. Low Diastolic Blood Pressure as a Risk for All-Cause Mortality in VA Patients. Int J Hypertens 2013, 2013:178780.
  14. Fuhrman J, Singer M. Improved Cardiovascular Parameter With a Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Rich Diet-Style: A Patient Survey With Illustrative Cases. Am J Lifestyle Med 2015.
Orville Caval
Written by Orville Caval

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