Category Archives: high blood pressure

DASH diet expands with lean pork as a substitute for chicken or fish

pilafIf you know anyone following the DASH diet for blood pressure control, or if you are yourself, you may be able to add lean pork to your diet as a substitute for chicken or fish as part of your healthy eating style, according to research from Purdue University.

‘This study supports that the DASH diet can include lean, unprocessed red meats in the appropriate serving sizes,’ said Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science.

The study, which compared lean, unprocessed pork with chicken and fish as the predominant protein source in a DASH-style diet, is published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research is funded by the National Pork Board, the National Institutes of Health’s Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and Clinical Research Center, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This study applies only to cuts of unprocessed lean pork, such as tenderloin and fresh, uncured ham trimmed of visible fat. Each serving size was three ounces. These findings should not be extrapolated to other pork products with higher fat and salt content, Campbell said.

The effectiveness of the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, limits red meat to reduce total and saturated fat as well as sodium. The DASH diet is often recommended to reduce blood pressure and is focused on the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, poultry and fish, while reducing fats, red meats, including pork, and added sugars.

Many cuts of red meat, including beef or pork tenderloin and fresh ham, meet the USDA guidelines for lean, which is less than 10 grams total fat and less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams. Extra lean is less than 5 grams total fat and less than two grams saturated fat per 100 grams.

‘If people have to rely only on fish and chicken their diet choices can be limited, and our findings support that lean pork may be a viable option for people who are consuming a DASH diet without compromising the effectiveness of the diet plan,’ said Drew Sayer, a doctoral student in nutrition science and a co-author on the study.

Hypertension, which is high blood pressure, is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease. About 30 percent of American adults live with hypertension and 65 percent of those 60 years and older have high blood pressure.

The 19 participants in the study had elevated high blood pressure and their average age was 61.

‘The people in the study were at risk for hypertension, and they represent the 60 percent of Americans with prehypertension who are on the road to clinically high blood pressure,’ said Sayer.

The study’s participants consumed a DASH-style diet for two, six-week periods, and they either ate lean pork or chicken and fish as the main protein source. They had a four-week break then consumed the alternate meat. Blood pressures were taken throughout the study, including at the beginning of each six-week period and at the end of the study.

Pre- and post-intervention manual and 24-hour blood pressures were not different between either DASH option of pork or chicken and fish. Consumption of these DASH-style diets for six weeks reduced all measures of blood pressure with no differences in responses between DASH with chicken and fish and DASH with pork.

FoodFacts.com is a fan.  The DASH diet offers a non-medicated approach to lowering blood pressure. It’s great for the heart. It lowers cholesterol. It takes off weight. And it has nothing to do with anything except food. Like it’s medicine. There’s that old saying from Hippocrates again. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” In action.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611114409.htm

Obesity and Inflammation … new insights into obesity-related metabolic conditions

1263-obese-woman-eating-enormous-burger_0Metabolic conditions caused by obesity are in the news consistently. Complications like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease can, in many instances, be linked with obesity. While we know the link exists, it’s been difficult to understand how these things are a direct result of excessive body fat. Understanding that obesity affects health negatively isn’t enough. Getting to the root of the problem is key to help doctors and individuals reverse the obesity crisis for generations to come.

Teams led by Nicolas Venteclef, Inserm Research Fellow (Cordeliers Research Centre, Inserm/Pierre and Marie Curie University Joint Research Unit 1138, Paris, France) and Irina Udalova (Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford, UK) in collaboration with several teams, have succeeded in elucidating part of the mechanisms involved in the development of these metabolic complications associated with obesity. Results of these studies are published online in the journal Nature Medicine.

Currently, over one and a half billion people worldwide suffer from overweight or obesity. We have known for about a decade that a chronic state of inflammation is present in obese patients. This state might play a fundamental role in the development of associated metabolic diseases. This inflammation results from abnormal activity of the immune system observed both systemically (bloodstream) and locally (in metabolic organs such as the liver, muscles, pancreas and especially the adipose tissue).

Following excessive weight gain, the adipose tissue develops in an abnormal manner in the intra-abdominal region (android obesity), and becomes an important source of pro-inflammatory mediators, the “chemical messengers” that activate inflammation, with harmful metabolic consequences. This phenomenon is particularly provoked by the accumulation of pro-inflammatory macrophages in this tissue. Paradoxically, some obese subjects do not develop metabolic alterations. Indeed, when adipose tissue expansion occurs in the more superficial deposits, such as the subcutaneous adipose tissue (gynoid obesity), the risk of developing metabolic complications is reduced.

In an earlier study (Dalmas et al. Diabetes 2014), the team led by Karine Clément (Guerre-Millo and coll., UMR_S 1166, Paris, France), in collaboration with Nicolas Venteclef, had observed the importance of inflammatory and prodiabetogenic cross-talk between macrophages and lymphocytes in the visceral adipose tissue of obese patients. By characterising these macrophages, they were able to identify transcription factor IRF5 (Interferon Regulatory Factor 5) as the orchestral conductor of macrophage activation in adipose tissue in obesity.

In order to demonstrate the importance of IRF5 in obesity and type 2 diabetes, the authors generated mice lacking this factor, and then subjected them to a high-fat diet that usually induces obesity and type 2 diabetes. Surprisingly, mice deficient in IRF5 did develop obesity, but without metabolic complications, in contrast to wild-type mice expressing IRF5. This beneficial adaptation by IRF5-deficient mice can be explained by preferential storage of fat in the subcutaneous (protective) and not the intra-abdominal (harmful) region. Decoding of molecular and cellular mechanisms made it possible to show a substantial reprogramming of inflammation in the visceral adipose tissue when IRF5 is absent, which helps to limit its expansion. Indeed, in the absence of IRF5, obesity induces an immune response characterised by the presence of anti-inflammatory macrophages and reduced immune response activation. This modification induces tissue remodelling that limits the expansion of intra-abdominal adipose tissue. This allows the redistribution of lipids in the intra-abdominal cavity to the subcutaneous deposits, a less harmful form of storage for the body.

Data obtained with mice were confirmed in overweight, obese or massively obese patients, by showing significant correlation between IRF5 expression in the visceral adipose tissue and metabolic dysfunctions associated with obesity.

This pioneering study suggests that the immune system (in this case the macrophages of the adipose tissue) directly influences the accumulation of fatty matter in the visceral region, a likely target in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. For the researchers, “It is therefore crucial to decipher the different aspects of inflammation in order to better understand the multifactorial diseases associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes.”

The approach implemented in this study encapsulates translational research, which is aimed at developing effective therapies for patients by establishing a fruitful dialogue between clinicians and researchers, in order to produce robust results that are supported by mouse models while being relevant to humans.

Obesity and inflammation appear to go hand in hand. Scientists are beginning to understand exactly how obesity affects the body which will eventually yield treatments, not simply for the metabolic difficulties that plague the obese population, but hopefully for the treatment of obesity as a disease. FoodFacts.com is hopeful that research like this will not only result in successful treatments, but also add to a different understanding of obesity as a health condition. By removing the stigma attached to obesity in society and creating an understanding of the disease of obesity, we’re more likely to move in the right direction for everyone.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150507114320.htm

The latest evidence against energy drinks: significant effect on blood pressure

CansEnergy drinks are in the news again. New concerns about the health effects of these beverages come up just about every day. There are so many prices to pay for a small pick me up — and the people who are paying those prices aren’t simply adults, they’re kids too.

As Anna Svatikova, the leader author of a new study, said, “We know that energy drink consumption is widespread and rising among young people. Concerns about the health safety of energy drinks have been raised. We and others have previously shown that energy drinks increase blood pressure. Now we are seeing that for those not used to caffeine, the concern may be even greater. Consumers should use caution when using energy drinks because they may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, even among young people.”

This experiment is limited as it looked at 25 healthy individuals between the ages of 19 and 40. The experiment monitored their heart rates and blood pressure before drinking a standard energy drink (or placebo) and then again 30 minutes after consuming the drinks. As might have been expected, the increase in blood pressure of those who consumed energy drinks was significantly higher than the blood pressure rate of those people who drank the placebo.

Svatikova concludes, “Consumers should use caution when using energy drinks because they may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, even among young people.”

FoodFacts.com is extremely serious about sharing energy drink news. We especially believe in alerting teenagers to the dangers involved in energy drink consumption. We hope our community does the same. There is nothing nutritionally beneficial about energy drinks and the dangers they pose make the pick me up they offer a useless perk. Talk to kids about energy drinks. Let them know that people have ended up in the emergency room and the morgue because of them. Please remember that even when teens don’t appear to be listening, adults do have influence over their actions. Let’s help keep kids away from energy drinks and let’s make sure that adults find other ways to stay energized.

http://diabetesinsider.com/energy-drink-study-proves-significant-effect-on-blood-pressure/38456

Surprisingly, sugar consumption may be worse for blood pressure than salt

sugar (1)It really seems that every day we get more news about the effects of sugar and salt consumption on our health. We know that there’s too much of both in the processed foods flooding our grocery stores as well as the foods being served in fast food restaurants everywhere. We consume far too much sugar and salt, far too often. We’re aware that too much salt is bad for blood pressure. But did we ever think that sugar may be having the same effect?

Sugar is worse than salt for blood pressure and health, according to a new study published on Thursday.

Two researchers, James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, of St. Luke’s Mid America Hearth Institute and Sean C. Lucan, MD, MPH, of Montefiore Medical Center, examined how dietary efforts to control high blood pressure have focused on limiting sodium. However, their research found added sugar in processed foods is a large contributor to hypertension than added salt.

More so, the study published in BMJ journal Open Heart argued that the guideline to limit salt intake is misguided and not based on evidence.

Even though the negative effect of salt is not proven, health experts still believe the consumption of salt and sugar should be regulated to avoid poor health.

The researchers studied humans and animals to see how sugar is worse than salt for blood pressure, hypertension, and heart disease.

DiNicolantonio and Lucan wrote, “Added sugars probably matter more than dietary sodium for hypertension, and fructose in particular may uniquely increase cardiovascular risk by inciting metabolic dysfunction and increasing blood pressure variability, myocardial oxygen demand, heart rate, and inflammation.”
The most recent version of the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology lifestyle guidelines suggested no more than 2,400 mg of sodium a day to benefit blood pressure.

Though the authors agree salt intake from processed foods should be reduced, they also propose “that the benefits of such recommendations might have less to do with sodium – minimally related to blood pressure and perhaps even inversely related to cardiovascular risk – and more to do with highly-refined carbohydrates.”

After feeding sucrose to rats, the results showed that it stimulated the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). This led to increased heart rate, renin secretion, renal sodium retention, and vascular resistance. All of these effects raised blood pressure.

The authors suggest “reducing consumption of added sugars by limiting processed foods containing them.”

FoodFacts.com feels like this is especially bad news for soda consumers — and sugary beverage consumers in general. There are people who drink multiple cans of soda every day. And there are folks that aren’t trying to gage the amount of added sugars in their diets at all. We all need to limit processed foods — if not make an earnest attempt to eliminate them from our diets completely. That is the only way we can be confident that we can avoid the risks of excessive sugar consumption. Changing our diets can prove to improve our health and lengthen our lives!

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/health-wellness/sugar-worse-salt-blood-pressure-01096633#x3IOwiTA4g4G7Egv.99

High protein diets may help lower blood pressure

SONY DSCTrendy diets. There always seems to be a new one and there always seem to be people who are willing to swear by it. Every once in a while, though, there’s a diet trend that actually proves itself over time. Eventually that diet is much more than a trend, it’s something that people can really rely on to take off excess weight AND help them live a healthier life style.

The high-protein, low carb diet comes to mind in this specific category. Thousands of dieters have attested to the idea that this specific style of eating has not only helped them shed pounds, but has also aided their health and well being. New research regarding high protein diets is revealing that those claims may actually be linked to an important health benefit.

Adults who consume a high-protein diet may be at a lower risk for developing high blood pressure (HBP). The study, published in theAmerican Journal of Hypertension, by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), found participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g protein/day) had a 40 percent lower risk of having high blood pressure compared to the lowest intake level.

One of three U.S. adults has hypertension and 78.6 million are clinically obese, a risk factor for the development of hypertension. Because of the strain that it puts on blood vessel walls, HBP is one of the most common risk factors of stroke and an accelerator of multiple forms of heart disease, especially when paired with excess body weight.

The researchers analyzed protein intakes of healthy participants from the Framingham Offspring Study and followed them for development of high blood pressure over an 11-year period. They found that adults who consumed more protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had statistically significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of follow-up. In general, these beneficial effects were evident for both overweight (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) and normal weight (BMI <25 kg/m2) individuals. They also found that consuming more dietary protein also was associated with lower long-term risks for HBP. When the diet also was characterized by higher intakes of fiber, higher protein intakes led to 40-60 percent reductions in risk of HBP.

“These results provide no evidence to suggest that individuals concerned about the development of HBP should avoid dietary protein. Rather, protein intake may play a role in the long-term prevention of HBP,” explained corresponding author Lynn Moore, associate professor of medicine at BUSM. “This growing body of research on the vascular benefits of protein, including this study, suggest we need to revisit optimal protein intake for optimal heart health,” she added.

FoodFacts.com is betting that this new and exciting information won’t come as any surprise to those embracing a high-protein diet. For years they’ve been touting its health benefits with things like increased energy and simple weight control. They’ll be thrilled to learn of tangible health improvements directly related to the high-protein diet. It’s certainly something to consider for our own dietary habits as well!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911125920.htm

Too much sugar spells trouble for your heart

FoodFacts.com understands that there are so many health concerns that come from the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar. It’s so important for all of us to remember that the bulk of our sugar consumption isn’t coming from the sugar bowls on our kitchen tables, but rather the processed foods on our grocery store shelves. The obesity epidemic and the rise in the instances of diabetes are just a few of the things we’re already aware of that can be traced to the unnecessary amount of sugar in most American diets.

Today we read new information we wanted to share with you that’s really rather eye-opening. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have revealed that consuming too much sugar can greatly increase the risk of heart failure.

This study follows previous research out of the Emory University School of Medicine and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found that people consuming high levels of added sugar from processed foods and beverages are more likely to have higher heart disease risk factors.

This new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association states that just one molecule of glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) can lead to improper function of the heart. G6P builds up when people consume too much sugar and starch and causes severe stress to the heart.

Preclinical trials were conducted in animals and then researchers tested tissue from patients who had a piece of their heart muscle removed in order to have a left ventricle assist device placed. Results of both the clinical trials and the tissue studies revealed that G6P can cause significant heart damage. It was noted that those who have high blood pressure and other conditions already have their hearts under stress. When excess sugar is introduced into the situation, it can severely worsen that stress causing major injury to the heart.

The CDC reports that more than 5 million people suffer from heart failure in the United states every year. Half of those who are diagnosed with the condition die within one year of diagnosis and there are over half a million new cases diagnosed each year.

This new research underscores the importance of remaining aware of the amount of sugar we consume. Pointing directly to the possibility of additional and serious dangers from the over-consumption of sugar, the study can certainly motivate us all to become even more vigilant about the avoidance of added sugar in our diets. FoodFacts.com has always been an advocate of cooking fresh, healthy foods from the ingredients we choose ourselves. While picking up what’s quick and convenient might seem like a good idea at times, our hearts will thank us for the additional effort involved – and the reduction of sugar in our diets.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262014.php

Getting under the skin of blood pressure regulation

FoodFacts.com has been keeping our community up to date about controversies surrounding sodium levels. While it appears that we consume far too much salt on a daily basis, there have been conflicting studies about just how much is too much, how we need to control sodium levels in our diets and the effects of consuming too much of it. But today we found information that really got under our skin … literally.

According to new studies out of Vanderbilt University, a different and important organ system is significant to our bodies’ blood pressure control abilities. It appears that our skin stores sodium. Traditionally the model for blood pressure regulation has been relegated to the kidney, circulatory system and the brain. But that model still left questions about the reasons for elevated blood pressure in 90 percent of hypertension patients.

In these studies, researchers sought to find other ways the body stores sodium and they discovered that the skin, the immune system cells and lymph capillaries do, in fact, help to regulate sodium balance and blood pressure.

Mice who were fed a high-salt diet had large amounts of salt accumulate in their skin. The immune system cells seemed to sense the sodium and activated a protein called TONEBP. This protein increased a growth factor in the immune cells which in turn builds lymph vessel capacity and helps to clear the sodium.

The study shows that elimination of the TONEBP gene in immune cells prevented the normal response to a high-salt diet and increased blood pressure. Likewise, blocking signaling through the lymph vessel receptor inhibited the changes in lymph vessel density and resulted in salt-sensitive hypertension.

The findings support the idea that the immune and lymphatic systems in the skin work together to regulate electrolyte  composition and blood pressure. Defects in this regulatory system may be associated with salt-sensitive hypertension.

To study the clinical relevance of sodium storage in humans, the investigators implemented special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies to detect sodium. They reported earlier this year that sodium is stored in muscle and skin in human beings, and that sodium storage increases with age and is associated with hypertension.

In future studies they intend to explore the meaning of that sodium storage. Will it, for example, elevate the risk for cardiovascular disease? They are planning to follow 2000 individuals for five years to measure tissue sodium two times per year to determine if elevated tissue sodium levels are linked to heart attacks, stroke or other arterial diseases.

There’s salt everywhere in our food supply. FoodFacts.com knows that our sodium consumption really isn’t coming from the salt shakers on our tables. This new information about how sodium is stored in the skin gives us a better idea of what our bodies are doing with all that salt and how it can possibly be affecting our health. We’ll be watching for the new studies exploring the relationship of cardiac disease and the salt-skin phenomenon. It’s just one more reason we should all be as aware as we possibly can be of our sodium consumption. We should all make our best effort to rid our diets of salt-laden processed foods. Let’s keep the salt on our tables where it belongs.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130603135314.htm

Great news about grapes!

FoodFacts.com likes nothing better than learning that a simple, natural, fresh food contributes even more than we had previously realized to our good health and well being! Today we learned more about grapes and their health benefits.

A new study from the University of Michigan Health System shows that grapes can reduce the risk of heart failure from chronic high blood pressure. It appears that they can increase the activity of a number of genes responsible for antioxidant defense in heart tissue. Grapes are a natural source of antioxidants and polyphenols.

The study involved rats with high blood pressure who were prone to heart failure. The rats were fed a grape-enriched diet for 18 weeks. The grape consumption reduced the occurrence of enlargement of the heart muscle and improved the diastolic function of the heart. But in addition, the study revealed that grape consumption turned on the antioxidant defense pathways by increasing the activity of the specific genes that produce glutathione, the most abundant antioxidant in the heart.

While prior studies had shown that grapes could protect against heart failure due to high blood pressure, this study was able to illustrate exactly how that is accomplished. The study will be extended, continuing into 2014. The research team is looking to further define the mechanisms of grape action. They currently believe that the consumption of the whole grape is important to realizing these benefits. The whole fruit contains hundreds of individual components and they suspect that those components work together to provide the beneficial effects.

It is estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure, which increases their risk of heart failure. We know that antioxidant-rich diets, high in fruits and vegetables help to reduce hypertension.

FoodFacts.com will follow this great news about grapes and keep our community informed of any new information that further reveals how these tasty, small globes of goodness can help us improve and maintain our health. In the meantime, let’s remember that grapes are an easy snack, a great tasting addition to salads and even to main dishes. It’s definitely well worth the effort to find ways to increase grape consumption in our diets.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/260045.php

Energy drinks can cause increases in blood pressure and heart disturbances

In the recent past, FoodFacts.com has devoted blog posts to the growing concerns surrounding energy drinks and how they affect our health. There have been concerning reports linking energy drink consumption to deaths and hospitalizations. And those reports have been on the rise. We’ve been especially concerned about how they are marketed and how attractive they seem to teenagers and children.

A new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions shows that energy drinks can drastically increase blood pressure and disturb the heart’s natural rhythm. The researchers out of the University of the Pacific in Stockton the David Grant Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base in California used previous data published in several different studies. They were able to illustrate the effects energy drink consumption have on the cardiovascular system.

Energy drinks contain two ingredients that affect both blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. Those ingredients are caffeine and taurine. The researchers measured something called the QT interval, which is the amount of time in the heart’s electrical cycle that reveals the heart’s rhythm. Scientists measured the QT interval of 93 people after they had consumed one to three cans of energy drinks. For each can of energy drink consumed, the participants QT interval increased by 10 milliseconds. A prolonged QT interval can be associated with life-threatening arrhythmias.

It was noted that doctors are concerned when a patient experiences an addition 30 milliseconds in their QT interval. The association between energy drinks and a prolonged QT interval —especially considering the reports of cardiac death after their consumption certainly calls for further research and investigation.

The participants blood pressure reading also increased by an average of 3.5 points. This, along with the prolonged QT interval, is cause for caution before energy drink consumption. It’s important to note that children are at a higher risk for these problems than adults.

FoodFacts.com will continue to report research regarding energy drinks. Meanwhile, please approach energy drinks with caution for yourselves and your families. Help teenagers and children to be aware of the possible dangers linked to these beverages.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/258125.php

News for diabetics … a link between legumes and blood sugar

FoodFacts.com found some good news for diabetics today that might not simply help them control their blood sugar levels, but might also lessen their risk of heart attacks and stroke.
A study released this week found that daily consumption of legumes can result in a reduction of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Beans and lentils can help type 2 diabetics with all of this.

The research showed that when a diet including one cup of legumes daily had a better affect than a diet rich in whole grains. Participants were placed on a diet that included this one cup serving each day for three months. It was estimated that their ten-year risk of cardiovascular disease fell a little over 1% at the end of that period.

The 121 participants in the study all had diabetes.  They were split into groups.  One group increased their consumption of legumes by at least a cup per day.  The others followed a diet which included an increase in whole grain products designed to increase their fiber consumption.

At the end of the study period, those people on the “bean diet” experienced a larger drop in their hemoglobin A l c levels than those on the whole-grain diet.  It is important to note that health regulators in the U.S. do consumer a change of .3 or .4% to be “therapeutically relevant.”

In addition, those on the whole-grain diet did not experience a reduction in their blood pressure levels, while those consuming increased amounts of legumes saw a definite difference.

Legumes are a healthy source of protein.  There are so many varieties and so many different ways to include them in your diet.  FoodFacts.com encourages our community to share this important information with the diabetics in your life, and, perhaps try it yourself, even if you aren’t diabetic.  While further study needs to be done, it certainly couldn’t hurt to include more legumes in your meals!

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/23/beans-show-promise-in-diabetes/#ixzz2AGKmFshv