Diet and high blood pressure

Diet and high blood pressure – how good is internet advice?

diet and high blood pressure

image: herr_hartmann on flickr.com

On the topic of diet and high blood pressure, let’s take a look at of some of the common advice you will see around the Internet.

While much of it is sound advice, some of it has limited usefulness. And some is now outdated and considered wrong, based on more recent research. So it’s good to be a little discerning with whose advice you follow. (I am aware of the irony of what I have just said…)

The never-ending list…

For example, many health websites give advice in the form of long lists of foods which you should and shouldn’t have. This might be helpful if you’re just looking to change a few things. But it’s a bit bewildering if you’re really starting from scratch and trying to figure out how to change your eating patterns more fundamentally. At least that’s what I find.

The expensive ‘superfoods’

Other articles focus on so-called exotic ‘superfoods’ which will magically transform your health if only you eat enough of them. Again, this is fine if you have a well-stocked health food shop nearby. And a large wallet to buy specialist foods. But it’s not so helpful for the rest of us.

berry berry good for your blood pressureThere are of course ‘superfoods’ (various berries, for example) which aren’t exotic and can be found at any grocery store. Or even picked wild near your house.

I’m lucky to have huge bramble (blackberry) patches behind my house in south Wales. A few good blueberry bushes are further up the hill, as are several hawthorn trees (you can eat the flowers and make tincture from the berries).

As such, I’m able to eat well for my blood pressure in a simple way. Other local foods are also beneficial for blood pressure, such as oatmeal, laverbread (locally harvested dark green/black seaweed in South Wales), mackerel…

Okay, I digress. The point is that there are plenty of ordinary foods which have particular properties which mean eating them can help lower your blood pressure. You don’t have to buy expensive specialty foods or exotic foreign foods. Unless you want to, of course. (Personally, I’m finding it increasingly untenable to eat food shipped and trucked from halfway round the world anyway.)

eat, drink and be merry while still lowering your blood pressure

Outdated advice

With regards to ‘Foods to Avoid’, recent research has shown that a lot of foods previously though to be ‘bad’ can actually be good for you in moderation. For example, dairy products and red meats, as long as they’re unprocessed. (The bad news is that bacon is still considered to be quite bad for blood pressure if you eat it regularly.)

It turns out that saturated fat, found in dairy and red meat, is not necessarily bad for you. You can read more about that here: Saturated fat and high blood pressure

Other diet advice has changed too. Nuts were also once touted as being too fatty and therefore bad for you. As were avocados (all that fat!). However, medical researchers have found that the fats in many nuts and avocados (omega 3 fatty acids) are actually extremely healthy. They’re now saying that we need to be getting more of them not less!

To find out a few more foods and drinks which aren’t as bad for you as you might think, click here to get our free report: Eat, Drink and Be Merry (while still lowering your blood pressure naturally).

And for a fully comprehensive guide to how advice about diet and blood pressure has been turned over and improved, take a look at our book:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

The guide contains simple and proven strategies to lower your blood pressure and keep it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These include alterations you can make in your diet and also your daily activities –  things you can do to be more active, and to relax and release stress.

diet and high blood pressureAs the title suggests, the guide is laid out in nine easy to follow chapters. You can work through each one at whatever pace suits you. These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

 

Whole grains for high blood pressure

Whole grains have been a staple part of the human diets since humans started to cultivate cereal crops in the Middle East ten thousand years ago.

The grains (seeds) of cereal grasses were ground to make flours, but it was only in 350 BC that the larger civilizations, like those of the Greeks and Romans, began to grind grains more finely to make ‘white’ flour.

These have since become wildly popular, yet refined grains and flours are far more meagre in nutrients and fibre than their whole grain equivalents.

The tide is slowly turning though, as more and more people become aware of the benefits of eating whole grains for high blood pressure – and a variety of other health reasons.

 

So what exactly are whole grains?

whole grains for high blood pressureThe kernel of a grain, wheat for instance, is made up of four parts:
The ‘germ’ is the innermost part, the embryo of the plant, which would germinate and grow if the grain was planted; this is where most of the nutrients are concentrated, so its rich in vitamins and minerals and oils the ‘endosperm’ is the starchy part that makes up most of the grain the ‘bran’ is the layer which surrounds the endosperm, which is rich in fibre and nutrients the ‘husk’ is the harder outermost covering, which is inedible.

The husk is always removed during the process of milling the grain, but with refined grains, the bran and germ parts are removed too. This just leaves the endosperm, which is full of starchy carbohydrate but not much else.

Whole grains on the other hand still have the germ and bran parts, and so are full of all the original nutrients and fibre.

Refining grains extends the shelf life of the grain, and of course, gives it a finer texture, but is this really worth it, when most of the original nutrients of the plant are lost?

This loss of nutrition is compounded by the practices of mass agriculture, which means that many grains today, even if not refined, are less nutritious than in the past. All the more reason to switch to whole grains to get as much natural goodness as you can.

 

Why whole grains are better

Compared to refined grains, whole grains are rich in nutrients, high in fibre, and don’t raise blood sugar levels as much – all of which means it’s helpful to eat whole grains for blood pressure.

Eating whole grains regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease, protect against metabolic syndrome – which is linked to heart disease and stroke, and be helpful in losing/controlling weight.

 

Adding whole grains to your meals

So it’s a good idea to replace any refined grain products you eat with whole grain products.

You can do this gradually – by changing just one product at a time. This is easier on your body anyway, especially if you’re not used to eating much fibre. Try to make “half your grains whole”, as the US Dietary Guidelines suggest.

Have whole grain bread instead of white bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice. And eat whole grain oats for breakfast!

Most processed or ready-made food you buy – like crackers, pastries, cookies etc – will be made from refined white flour. So look for whole grain versions, e.g., in health food shops, or make it yourself with whole grain flour (or even just half whole grain flour, half regular flour).

 

How to eat more whole grains

There are many opportunities to switch to whole grains – it’s not restricted to pure grain products like bread, pasta or rice. Any product containing grains or flours, you can find a whole grain alternative – bagels, muffins, crackers.

The same goes for cooking and baking – you can use whole grain flours and grains in all kinds of recipes, not only the main ingredient in baked goods, but also as fillers and thickeners in soups and stews.

You can mix and match too – mix whole grain and regular pasta for example (you may need to cook them separately though, as they make take different times to cook). And if you aren’t keen on some particular whole grain alternative, try a new grain altogether: quinoa is a great substitute for couscous or white rice; spelt pasta, bread or flour is a good replacement for wheat.

As well as buying whole grain pasta, you can also make your own pasta from scratch. If you’re interested in doing this, you could try this delicious recipe for whole wheat sage spaghetti, shared with us by Jennifer from the ‘Jen Reviews’ website: Whole Wheat Sage Spaghetti – Jen Reviews (just go easy on adding presunto, since cured meats aren’t good for high blood pressure).

 

Buying whole grain products

When you’re switching to whole grain products, do yourself a favour, and give a little attention to making sure you’re getting a good quality whole grain product.

When buying bread for example, go for freshly baked whole grain bread when you can, rather than a pre-packaged bread, which probably won’t taste as good and will be full of additives and possibly sugars that you don’t need.

If you’re going to make a difference, then make it count.

As always, it’s important to always read labels when you’re buying food, to make sure you’re getting what you think you are. However, this is particularly important for whole grains, as their labelling can be slightly misleading. Many names and phrases are used which are designed to sound wholesome and healthy, but when you read the list of ingredients you might still find the main one to be wheat flour or some other refined grain.

Look for foods labelled as ‘whole grain’ (or ‘whole wheat’, ‘whole oats’ etc), and preferably labelled ‘100% whole grain/wheat/whatever’. Look at the list of ingredients too – and make sure that ‘whole grain’ appears among the first few ingredients.

And enjoy eating whole grains whole-heartedly – good for your overall health including your heart and blood pressure.

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally

In addition to whole grains there is a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affects your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide contains a simple and proven strategy to lowering your blood pressure and keep it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

 

(Image credits: Chiot’s Run, Meal Makeover Moms, MellowFood on Flickr.com)

Lower blood pressure with celery

does celery lower blood pressure

Image credit: Judy van der Velden on flickr.com

There are a number of basic foods we can add to our diet that help reduce blood pressure. One of the best is celery. An unpretentious garden vegetable, celery has a number of great health benefits. And does it lower blood pressure? Yes, it does help.

Below is a video from a Californian lass who explains the benefits of celery and all the good things it can do for you – including helping lower blood pressure.

Benefits of celery include;

  • high levels of potassium  (helps lower blood pressure)
  • natural diuretic (helps lower blood pressure)
  • high in fiber (natural de-toxifier)
  • low in calories (helper you to lose weight)

Celery is a good way to lose weight cause it fills you up yet has very few calories. It is claimed that you burn more calories chewing celery up and digesting it than it returns. Hence a steady diet of celery could help you keep your weight down, if that’s an issue.

How does celery lower blood pressure? Take a look at this short video presentation.

Interesting ways to eat celery for lower blood pressure

But isn’t celery boring and tasteless? And only useful for eating with rich fatty dips? Well no. Although celery is good for dipping (try it with guacamole, one of the tastiest and also healthiest dips around), you can also use it in your cooking.

Add some chopped celery to a pot of chilli or stew, or gently fry with onions as a soup or sauce base – it’ll add its own subtle flavour and bring out the flavour of other ingredients too.

And don’t forget about the wee leaves at the end of celery stick. They’re usually cut off but they’re actually the tastiest bit so use these in salads or sandwiches. Or blend up some celery with other fruits and vegetables in a smoothie. (More recipe ideas are in our guide to lowering blood pressure described below.)

The moral of the story is, you don’t have to buy expensive exotic vegetables to improve your health. You can crunch and munch your way to lower blood pressure with plain old celery.

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally

In addition to celery there is actually a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, grains, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affect your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broad approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide contains simple and proven strategies for lowering your blood pressure and keeping it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

It’s arranged into nine easy-to-follow steps which you can take at your own pace. These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

Oatmeal for lower blood pressure?

Oatmeal makes a comeback

delicious ways to eat oatsOatmeal used to be a standard breakfast dish back in the ‘good ol’ days’ but has now been largely replaced by sugary cereals. From a health perspective this has been a big mistake. A bowl of oatmeal every morning is a great way to start the day. And it’s especially helpful in restoring balance to your cardiovascular system. All in all, you’ll be getting off to a good start by eating oatmeal for lower blood pressure.

Of course there are other ways to eat oatmeal than porridge. You can add oats to your cooking – bread, meatloaf, desserts – use your imagination.

Mind you, oats never had a reputation of fine dining.

In 1755 Samuel Johnson described oats as “A grain which, in England, is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people”.

The Scot’s reply? “That’s why England has such good horses and Scotland has such fine men!”

Get Natural!  by Kevin Riley

 

Oatmeal gets FDA approval

In 1996 oatmeal was the first food that was granted by the FDA the right to make a specific health claim. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the health claim “Diets low in saturated fats and cholesterol that provide 3g or more per day in soluble fibre from oat bran, oatmeal, or whole oat flour may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Overall, this wonder food reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of heart problems. Study after study has shown that, among other things, eating oatmeal for lower blood pressure is a good idea.

five superfoods which lower blood pressure (and don't cost you the earth)

Oatmeal for lower blood pressure: how it works

Eating oatmeal for lower blood pressure works, but hwo? Well, there are a number of things in oats that contribute to your cardiovascular health but it is thought that the water soluble fibre beta-gluten provides the most benefits. This gel slows down the rate of digestion of other foods and helps keep your blood sugars down as well as keeping your insulin levels normal – resulting in lower blood pressure.

Eating oats also lowers cholesterol. In one test called The Smart Heart Challenge hundreds of people ate one bowl of oatmeal a day and after a month 70% of the volunteers had lower cholesterol levels. The Journal of American Medical Association reported that the fibre beta-gluten found in oats is as effective in reducing cholesterol as statin drug treatment.

For more foods which lower your blood pressure, click here for our free report: Five superfoods which lower blood pressure (and don’t cost you the earth)

 

Eat oatmeal every day!

Need I say more? Give your cardiovascular system a present, every morning, with a bowl of oatmeal for lower blood pressure. Here’s how i make it: One cup of water, one handful of oats, one big dollop of honey into a pot. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Add a chopped up banana or a handful of berries and enjoy. There is no better way than to start your day.

Lowering your blood pressure naturally without the use of (or in addition to) prescription medications is a mixture of good diet, exercise and not being too stressed.

For more information on the amazing benefits of oats and how best to use them to your advantage read our article here:How do oats help reduce blood pressure?

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally (for less cost)

You’ll also find out more about oats and blood pressure in our healthy living guide, along with tasty ideas for using more oats in your cooking and baking.

In addition to oats there is actually a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, grains, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affects your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

oatmeal good for lowering blood pressureThe guide contains a simple and proven strategy to lowering your blood pressure and keep it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

 

Turmeric for lower blood pressure

Does turmeric reduce blood pressure?

turmeric supplement for lower blood pressureI’ve been coming across articles about turmeric for lower blood pressure more and more lately. It seems that research is starting to stack up showing that turmeric can be beneficial for high blood pressure.

How does turmeric lower blood pressure?

The main reason is that turmeric has antioxidant properties and also helps reduce inflammation. Getting more antioxidants is known to lower blood pressure, and more scientists now think low-level chronic inflammation is a cause of high blood pressure.

So foods that reduce inflammation can potentially help lower your blood pressure (this is one of the reasons health websites are all going on about omega 3 fatty acids, by the way, as they’re also anti-inflammatory).

Studies show that eating turmeric can help prevent plaque building up in the arteries, and it also might help lower blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are definitely bad news for blood pressure (read about sugar and blood pressure here), so there are many reasons why getting more turmeric for lower blood pressure is a good idea.

How much turmeric for high blood pressure?

As you probably know, turmeric is traditionally used a lot in Indian cooking and it’s also what makes mustard yellow. Despite it’s bright colour, it doesn’t have a strong flavour so you don’t have to save it just for curries – you can use it in stews and soups or even omelettes or potato salad, or mix some into rice. It’ll make your mealtimes colourful 🙂

UPDATE! You can even put turmeric in porridge…

turmeric for high blood pressure

Photo by Alison. Porridge by Jer Reid.

Seriously. Just add about half a teaspoon (or more or less, as desired) or turmeric when you begin cooking it. A friend just served me this and it was a bit of a revelation, I have to say. You can throw in some raisins or sultanas to add some sweetness.

He also cooked it with water which had had ginger root boiled in it. The very gentle ginger tang complemented the sultanas and turmeric beautifully. Or you can just cook it with freshly chopped ginger for a stronger flavour. (Ginger’s great for your health and circulation and may help lower blood pressure too.)

Oats are excellent for healthy blood pressure and general health in several ways, so this is a winning way of combining several beneficial ingredients for a “super-breakfast”. You can also see this post for more delicious ways to eat oats.

 

 

Turmeric supplements?

Curcumin supplement - for healthy blood pressureThere’s only so much turmeric you can put into your dinner though, so some health experts recommend taking supplements of curcumin – the key ingredient of turmeric which is so good for you. (Click on the picture on the right here for a high-quality curcumin extract.)

One thing to keep in mind though, is that curcumin is not that easy for our bodies to absorb well. Some research suggests that a substance found in black pepper can improve our ability to absorb curcumin – so it might help to use black pepper too when you’re cooking with turmeric for lower blood pressure.

By the way, turmeric may interact with medications for blood-thinning and for diabetes, so see your doctor if you’re considering taking curcumin supplements. (Using turmeric in food is unlikely to be a problem.)

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally

Turmeric is of course not the only natural food which has a beneficial effect on high blood pressure. There’s actually a huge choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these herbs, berries, fruits, grains, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affect your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

lower your blood pressure naturallyTo help, we’ve now put together a guide to lowering blood pressure naturally (imaginatively titled Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally).

The guide is in the form of nine easy-to-follow steps, each containing simple and proven strategies for lowering your blood pressure and keep it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters. Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

– – – – –
Post by Alison. Turmeric porridge by Jer Reid.

 

Is Garlic Good For Blood Pressure?

From: www.cholesterolrevealed.com

My Blood Pressure is sometimes high but not all of the time,for this reason i dont want to take any medication. I heard garlic suppose to be good for blood pressure. Also i have high cholesterol for many years and it does seem to be going down. I dont eat a lot of fat and dont like dairy product (dont drink milk or like cheese). I do however like to drink half a bottle of sweet wine every day.Is this why my cholesterol is so high. Waiting for your reply. Thanks.

garlic good for blood pressureResponse:

Garlic helps hypertension by protecting the lining of the arteries, relaxing blood
vessels, and thinning the blood (so it can flow more easily, with less risk of
clotting).

(Image credit: Crispin Semmens via Flickr.com)

Garlic is also good for blood pressure in other ways, e.g., it can help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels (eat a bowl of oats every morning too – it’s clinically proven to reduce your cholesterol levels).

Studies show eating garlic or garlic supplements can lower blood pressure by 7- 8%. Garlic has also been used in various medicine systems through the ages as it has many other health benefits too. It’s antiseptic and strengthens the immune system and helps with preventing and recovering from colds, and even can protect against some cancers.

So – is garlic good for blood pressure? Yes.
Eat garlic, raw, everyday.

Aim to use at least a couple of cloves a day. Try chopping it up finely and putting into salad dressings (with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and herbs) – you get the most benefit from using it raw.

You can use lots of garlic in raw salsas too – mix it in with lots of chopped onions, tomatoes, chillies, lime juice (all also good for blood pressure), and a lot of fresh coriander/cilantro.

Plus, use it in as much of your cooking as you can too! It works in almost every type of food.

P.S. Get more information on how what to eat and how to live to lower your blood pressure naturally from our new book: Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally (the easy way)

In addition to garlic there is actually a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these herbs, berries, fruits, grains and vegetables are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affects your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide contains a simple and proven strategy to lowering your blood pressure and keep it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

Is Red Meat Bad For Blood Pressure?

is red meat bad for blood pressure

Photos by Nic Taylor and Schrift-Architekt on Flickr.com

On many health websites, you’ll read that red meat is bad for high blood pressure – it’s high in cholesterol and saturated fat and eating too much of it will bump up your blood pressure. That’s the usual line.

It’s true that many studies have shown that eating red meat regularly is linked to higher rates of heart disease, and heart disease and high blood pressure often go together.

But is this the case for all red meat?

Not necessarily, as recent research shows that different kinds of red meat have different effects on our health.

Firstly, an analysis of 20 studies by a team at Harvard University found that there’s a big difference between eating unprocessed red meat (beef, pork, lamb etc.) and red meat which has been processed (by smoking, salting, curing or having preservatives added), such as bacon, salami, pastrami, smoked ham and other ‘luncheon meats’.

Their analysis showed that it’s eating processed red meat which leads to increased risk of heart disease, not eating unprocessed red meat.

A large French study which followed over 44,000 women, similarly found that regularly eating processed red meat was linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, while regularly eating unprocessed red meat was not.

 

So is red meat bad for blood pressure?

eat, drink and be merry while still lowering your blood pressureSo the answer to the question – is red meat bad for blood pressure – is “it depends”. It depends on what kind of red meat you eat. Eating smoked, salted and cured red meat is bad for blood pressure, but eating fresh red meat isn’t likely to make much difference.

But what about all that saturated fat and cholesterol? Surely they mean red meat is bad for blood pressure?

Well, firstly, the cholesterol you eat in your food doesn’t necessarily have any great effect on the cholesterol levels in your blood.

That might sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually other foods that affect the cholesterol present in your bloodstream – eating food containing trans fats raises cholesterol levels, and so does eating a lot of sugary foods and starchy foods (especially those based on refined grains – white bread, pasta, pastries etc).

As for saturated fat, well a raft of recent studies have been demonstrating that saturated fat is not the demon it’s made out to be and that eating saturated fat isn’t strongly linked with high blood pressure and heart disease.

I’ve written on more on this in another post: Saturated fat and high blood pressure

So you can put quality steak back on the menu and you can even have butter with it 🙂

For other good foods and drinks that aren’t as bad for you as you might have thought, click here to get our free report, Eat, Drink and Be Merry (while still lowering your blood pressure naturally).

 

Why is processed meat bad for blood pressure?

Researchers in the Harvard study and the French study think that it’s the high salt content of processed meat, and the nitrate preservatives which are added to it, which contribute to the increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure which are linked to eating processed meat regularly.

 

Red meat associated with some other health risks

Having said all this, there are some studies which do still show that regularly eating red meat – even unprocessed red meat – is linked to poorer health, including increased risk of some cancers and diabetes.

So if you eat red meat frequently, it’s probably still a good idea to replace it sometimes with fish (especially fatty fish which is good for blood pressure and the heart) or poultry, or other high-protein foods like legumes (peas, beans, chick peas) and nuts.

 

Cooking red meat for maximum health benefits

How you cook meat also affects its health properties. Cooking meat at high
temperatures makes it more carcinogenic as various unsavoury chemicals are created. Unfortunately, this includes chargrilling and barbecuing meat.

The healthiest ways to cook meat are therefore to bake or steam it, or slowly
grill or broil it with a low heat, or fry gently at low heat in a pan. These are also good options if you prefer your meat leaner, as you can let the fat drain out.

 

high blood pressure and the elderly - how to lower it naturally

Those of you who’ve read our guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally will be familiar with this, of course.

If you haven’t already got it, our ebook covers everything you need to know about how to lower your blood pressure naturally (without needing medications) by making simple alterations to some of the things you eat and drink and do.

It goes through it all step-by-step, so it’s easy to follow and enjoyable to do. Just click on the pic for more info and a free sample.

 
Some references:

https://www.ironmagazine.com/blog/2010/new-harvard-study-red-meat-does-not-cause-heart-disease/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/red-meat/BGP-20056277

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25080454

https://www.naturalnews.com/029859_processed_meat_diabetes.html

Eating processed meats, but not unprocessed red meats, may raise risk of heart disease and diabetes

https://www.insidescience.org/content/study-protein-may-lower-blood-pressure/2056

 

 

Saturated Fat and High Blood Pressure

saturated fat and high blood pressure

It’s been a long time that health authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have been urging us to cut down on the saturated fat we eat. They’ve been assuring us there’s a clear link between saturated fat and high blood pressure and heart disease and all kinds of other health problems.

Saturated fat is found mostly in animal products – meat and dairy products.

So we’ve duly been eating less steak and replacing butter with less tasty margarines. Or not doing so, and feeling guilty about it.

But is it there really such a strong relationship between saturated fat and high blood pressure? In recent years, scientists have become far less certain…

 

Saturated fat and high blood pressure – does one cause the other?

The answer to that seems to be no, actually.

Studies in both the US and the UK now show clearly that cutting down on the amount of fat in your diet, especially saturated fat, isn’t linked to lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease or better health in general.

Sugar and carbohydrates linked to high blood pressure instead

In fact, studies conducted in the States have recently shown that reducing carbohydrates and replacing them with fat is actually better for you, and can even help with weight loss and cholesterol reduction.

All this sounds very counter-intuitive but the fact is that eating too many carbohydrates appears to be far more detrimental to your health and blood pressure than eating a lot of fat.

Getting too much sugar is the worst thing for you  – especially the sugars that are added to many processed foods these days. (Watch out for fructose and hydrogenated corn syrup in particular).

However, starchy carbohydrates like refined grains (white bread, regular pasta etc.) are broken down into sugars. And getting too much carbohydrate is a more sure path to weight gain and higher cholesterol levels and higher blood pressure.

Yep, it is not saturated fat that is the problem.

 

Sugar and carbs also linked to weight gain

Not only is eating saturated fat not a big risk factor for high blood pressure but it doesn’t necessarily lead to gaining weight. Although fat is higher in calories than carbohydrates, our bodies don’t work like simple calorie counters. The calories don’t just ‘add up’ within us and get turned into fat.

What seems to be key in how much fat gets formed in our bodies is how the food we eat affects our blood sugar and insulin levels, not just how much actual fat we eat. So more and more research shows that eating too many carbohydrates – starches and sugars – leads to more body fat than eating too much fat.

Indeed, since we were told to eat less fat and load up on grains and carbs, high blood pressure, heart disease, and also diabetes and obesity have not gone down in the US and the UK but gone up…

 

So why were we advised to cut down on saturated fat?

eat, drink and be merry while still lowering your blood pressureWell, it seems that when the early studies came out showing apparent links between fat consumption and risk of heart disease, the government health authorities didn’t examine the studies thoroughly before deciding on their ‘health’ advice to keep your fat intake down.

Many scientists now point out the these early studies were flawed and limited in scope and that they did not form adequate evidence for the health advice which then followed.

Most recently, a group of researchers, from the University of the West of Scotland and Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, did a review of the original studies that the dietary advice was based on. They concluded that the studies did not in fact provide evidence that cutting down on saturated fat led to better health.

They also found that the studies were not comprehensive. They generally only involved men and most of them did not even test the effects of reducing saturated fat to 10% of one’s daily calorie intake (which was the advice given in the 70’s and 80’s).

“It seems incomprehensible that dietary advice was introduced for 220 million Americans and 56 million UK citizens, given the contrary results from a small number of unhealthy men. […] The present review concludes that dietary advice not merely needs review; it should not have been introduced.”

Pretty damning stuff. (And if you still don’t believe it, read the articles listed at the end of this post for more details.)

For more good foods and drinks which you can enjoy and which aren’t as bad for your blood pressure as you may have thought, click here to get our free report: Eat, Drink and Be Merry (while still lowering your blood pressure).

 

Don’t eat trans fats though!

Having said that, there are some fats that everyone agrees we should still avoid – trans fats. Many studies, including a 2009 review of 21 studies, have found that higher trans fat intake is associated with higher risk of heart disease. Some researchers think that one of the problems with the early studies on saturated fat and high blood pressure may have been to do with confusing the effects of trans fats and saturated fats.

Although some trans fat (‘trans fatty acids’) occurs naturally in quite small amounts in the fatty part of meat and dairy products, it’s the artificial trans fats that are added to processed foods that you really need to watch out for.

They’re found in many pastries, cakes, pies and other baked goods, as well as in some margarines (another reason to go back to butter). They’re also in many fried foods.

So check the labels before you buy. And, really, it’s best to ditch processed foods anyway and make your own at home – from simple ingredients that you can trust.

 

lower your blood pressure naturally with diet, exercise and relaxation - and garlicFor more on how to adjust your diet and lifestyle to lower your blood pressure naturally, it’s worth looking at our book:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

There are a huge variety of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally. These include altering some of the things you eat and drink, being more active (and there are many ways to do this that don’t involve going to the gym), and finding time and ways to relax more.

Because there are so many things you can do, it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. Which is why we’ve put together this book that sorts it all out for you.

The book is laid out in nine steps. Each one covers a few specific aspects of lowering blood pressure naturally. You can work through each step at your own pace. And before long, you’ll find you’re gradually but profoundly adjusting your daily life in ways that significantly benefit your general health and well-being as well as your blood pressure!

I should also mention that lowering your blood pressure naturally is not a path of difficulty and denial. You don’t have to stop drinking or eating chocolate, for example (though quitting smoking will definitely help). You don’t have to go to aerobics or do yoga, unless you want to. There are even blood pressure-lowering exercises you can do while sitting on your sofa.

The key is to just make small changes gradually and consistently. No big hassles. No sudden diets. Just stick with it. And enjoy a cheeky wee glass of wine while you do 🙂

Just click on the link for more information and to download a free sample

– – –

Post by Alison

A few references:

https://www.businessinsider.com/experts-eat-more-fat-2014-10?IR=T

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/health/dietary-fat-advice-should-never-have-been-issued-finds-study.118077597

https://news.osu.edu/news/2014/11/21/study-doubling-saturated-fat-in-the-diet-does-not-increase-saturated-fat-in-blood/

https://wholehealthsource.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/does-dietary-saturated-fat-increase.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267834.php

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/02/dutch-recognize-saturated-fat-not-a-problem.aspx

 

Can Cayenne control hypertension?

can cayenne control hypertensionCayenne, chilli pepper, call it what you will, but can Cayenne control hypertension? Well, not just on its own but it’s a good thing to include in your meals (and even drinks) if you’re on a general mission to lower your blood pressure.

 

How can Cayenne control hypertension?

Cayenne, a type of chilli pepper, is from the Capsicum family of vegetables, and has been used by Native Americans for over 9,000 years as both a
food and medicine. Cayenne, or chilli, has also  featured in various Asian traditional medicine systems as a treatment for circulatory and digestive problems, amongst others.

Capsaicin is the ingredient which gives cayenne and other chilli peppers their hot and spicy taste and studies have found that it can help relieve pain and lower blood sugar levels.

Now, having low, or at least stable, blood sugar levels is really important if you want to get your blood pressure down. Sugar, especially added sugars, are probably more of an issue than salt when it comes to high blood pressure, but that’s a story for another post…

Studies with animals have suggested that cayenne can lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure though. So although obviously more research needs to be done on humans on the specific relationship between cayenne and blood pressure, it’s worth pointing out that Chinese researchers have noticed that areas of China where chilli peppers are used heavily in local cuisine have signficantly lower incidences of high blood pressure than areas which use little chilli.

 

How should I use Cayenne to lower my blood pressure?

As mentioned above, Capsaicin is the ingredient which gives Cayenne its helpful healing properties and all hot peppers (habanero, jalapeno) contain this, so you can use any of these.

Cayenne is handy though, as it’s easy to get in powdered form (get it from a good source if you can, organic where possible).

Of course you can add cayenne to stews and chillis and curries etc. But there are a few other ways you can take it too:

  • mix a little cayenne (up to a teaspoon) in warm water,  add a little honey and/or lemon for flavour and extra antioxidants, and drink it carefully
  • add a dash of cayenne to an olive oil-based vinaigrette (put some apple cider vinegar and garlic in too for extra blood pressure benefits)
  • mix cayenne into cocoa and add hot water for a rich blood-pressure-lowering treat (cinnamon and cardamom are good for blood pressure too, as is quality cocoa, but avoid milk in this drink as it offsets the cocoa’s benefits)
  • cayenne is good in mulled wine if you’re having a winter warmer
  • make a raw tomato salsa with onions, tomato, garlic, hot chillies, lime, coriander – almost all of these ingredients are great for lowering blood pressure

 

But take care!

Chilli peppers can be very hot and can even burn your skin so take care when chopping up raw chilli peppers. Vinegar can help get it off your skin if it’s stinging. And DO NOT chop chillies and then put in/take out contact lenses (I speak from painful experience…)!
Please note: Cayenne may interact with ACE inhibitors and blood-thinning
medications so, if you take these, check with your doctor before increasing
your use of cayenne. Also check with your doctor if you’re diabetic, due to
cayenne’s effect on blood sugar.

Alright, hope that’s spiced up your day a little. At this time of year, chilli or cayenne is perfect to warm you up and get your metabolism going too, so let yourself get a little hot…

 

Lower blood pressure: for life

If you are serious about controlling your hypertension, then you’ll know that just adding a bit of cayenne here and there isn’t going to be enough (although every wee bit helps).

To lower your blood pressure in the long-term, there are a whole variety of ways you can adjust what you eat and drink and your lifestyle more generally – being active, being less stressed.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThis might sound daunting, especially if you’re just starting out on this route to better health, but to help you out, we’ve put together a complete guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally.

There are a lot of guides out there with good information, and of course you can find plenty advice yourself on the internet. But it can be difficult to synthesize it all and make it work for you.

To solve this problem, our guide – Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – is laid out in 9 straightforward steps.

You just follow the advice for each step – take it a week at a time or a month at a time, whatever suits you – and you’ll be on your way to lower blood pressure and better health in general.

Not only is the guide easy to follow, but it’s also fun to follow, with lots of tasty food and drink suggestions, and useful tips and insights on lifestyle changes like getting more exercise, sleeping better, getting more relaxation time…. Lowering your blood pressure naturally doesn’t have to be hard!

For more information, to buy, or to get a free sample, click here:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

 

(post by Alison)

Delicious Ways to Eat Oats…

…. and lower your blood pressure at the same time

delicious ways to eat oats

Oats are fantastic for lowering your blood pressure and have many other health benefits as well. You can read all about these in our post: Can oatmeal help lower high blood pressure?

So what’s the tastiest way to get your oats?

Well, a bowl of oats first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day. Not only have you given yourself a good helping of the soluble fibre that helps lower your cholesterol (details in the other post), and helped stabilized your blood sugar levels (both of these are important for lower blood pressure), but oats will also keep you going for a while, so they give you a good steady energy boost.

You might not think a bowl of oats sounds that exciting though. It’s true that plain porridge can be … well, pretty plain. But there are plenty of tasty things you can add which not only give it more flavour and texture, but are also good for your blood pressure. Muesli too can be as varied as you want it to be.

Here are some ideas for delicious ways to eat oats. But don’t stop there. Experiment! (And add a comment below to tell us if you hit on something particularly tasty.)

 

Delicious ways to eat oats 1: Porridge, with variations

Porridge is great in the winter to warm you up and keep you toasty. Make it with water, or milk, or a mix of the two. For extra smoothness, you can soak it overnight in cold water, with a little sea salt (Scottish style) or maple syrup (Vermont style) then cook in the morning.

For extra flavour and texture, add other ingredients, either while it’s cooking or once it’s served. Try dried or fresh fruits (berries are great for blood pressure and are delicious in porridge), nuts and seeds, and even some spices. In Vermont they used to add nutmeg, cinnamon and sometimes ground ginger. Experiment!

oats and turmeric for lower blood pressure

Porridge by Jer Reid (photo by Alison)

UPDATE! A friend just served me porridge with turmeric, and I have to say, it was a bit of a revelation. He’d also cooked it with sultanas and ginger water and the subtle combination of flavours was perfect – a little sweetness but not too much.

Turmeric is getting a lot of press lately for its multiple health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. You can read more about it here: Turmeric for lower blood pressure

Here’s the rough recipe for turmeric porridge: add half a teaspoon of turmeric and a handful of sultanas when you’re cooking the oats. For the ginger, boil chopped ginger root in water for at least ten minutes beforehand, and use some or all of this water to cook the porridge.

Experiment with quantities, and also with different spices. Adding spices like cinnamon and cardamom might work really well, and even a wee dash of chilli/cayenne. All of these spices are good for blood pressure so by combining them with oats, you’re really creating a powerfully healthy breakfast.

 

Delicious ways to eat oats 2: Muesli and mixes

delicious ways to eat oats for lower blood pressureMuesli is a good for a stimulating morning start, especially in the summer with fresh fruits and yoghurt. It’s also good to take out and about with you and have a handful now and again for energy on the go.

If you’re buying muesli, check the label and make sure there’s not too much added sugar. Granola can be good too, but is often very high in sugar. Health food shops often have their own muesli mixes which you can buy in bulk, and which are simpler ingredients.

Or make your own – buy oat flakes, barley flakes, and your favourite dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Try different combinations and see what you like.

 

Delicious ways to eat oats 3: baked goods, stews, soups….

oats for lower blood pressureFollowing the Scots, you can eat/use oats in other baked and cooked foods – bread, oatcakes, cookies and muffins, flapjacks and muesli bars, pastry, in burgers, and even as a thickener in soups and stews.

So, go out there and get your wild (or packaged) oats…

 

Delicious ways to eat oats 4: More ideas…

For more ideas for eating oats – and loads of other blood pressure-lowering foods – check out our new book:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

It’s packed with tasty tips on how you can adjust your diet to lower your blood pressure. You’ll be surprised at how many foods and drinks are beneficial for your blood pressure.

The book also includes different kinds of exercise you can do to bring your blood pressure down (some of which you can even do while sitting down watching TV), and gives tips on how to easily integrate these into your daily life – the point being that you don’t have to suffer to lower your blood pressure naturally – you can enjoy it 🙂

As well as diet and exercise, another major cause of high blood pressure is stress. So the book also contains a range of techniques you can use to lower your stress levels and just generally relax more.

Sounds good?

Click on the link above for more details and a free sample.

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