Category Archives: high blood pressure

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

Sodium Nitrate Warnings

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Overview
Foodfacts.com wants to make you more aware of what controversial ingredients are being put into our foods. Sodium nitrate is a food additive in processed meats used to prevent the deadly bacteria botulism from growing. It is found in processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, bacon, deli meats, ham and salami. It is this preservative that gives pink color to these meats. There are some harmful effects of eating these meats and taking in high amounts of sodium nitrates that you should be aware of.

Cancer
Sodium nitrate additives cause the formation of nitrosamines in the body, which are cancer-causing chemicals. Sodium nitrate is being linked to colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer, but research still is being done to determine the relationship between this additive and other cancers. According to Medicalnewstoday.com, 90 percent of nitrites and nitrates have been determined as carcinogenic to the body and specific organs.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes
Sodium nitrate might damage blood vessels, causing the narrowing and hardening of arteries, which can lead to heart disease, says MayoClinic.com. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating processed meats increases your risk of heart disease by 42 percent and diabetes by 19 percent compared with non-processed meats with the same saturated fat content. Further studies are being done on the possible link between insulin-dependent diabetes and sodium nitrates.

High Blood Pressure
High sodium foods are the leading cause of high blood pressure, and additives such as sodium nitrates add even more sodium than what is naturally found in the product. Read through the ingredients list on the food label to look for additives such as sodium nitrate, sodium alginate, monosodium glutamate, all of which add unnecessary sodium to your diet.

Increased Death Rates from Disease
According to Dailyscience.com, a study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found a substantial link between increased levels of nitrates in our environment and food with increased deaths from diseases, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes mellitus and Parkinson’s. These diseases are associated with increased insulin resistance and DNA damage, which has drastically increased and is thought to be related to nitrates.