Category Archives: hypertension

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

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

Cereal may help ward off hypertension

cereal

Starting each day with a bowl of cereal — especially a whole-grain variety — could trim up to 20% off your risk of developing high blood pressure, according to preliminary research presented Tuesday at an American Heart Association meeting in Atlanta.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be caused or worsened by a range of factors, including obesity, lack of exercise, too much sodium, and stress. Although cereal alone won’t keep blood pressure in check, eating it regularly may be an easy and practical way to prevent hypertension, the researchers say.

“Cereal is something that people can easily get into their diet and that they enjoy,” says lead researcher Jinesh Kochar, M.D., a geriatric specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston. “And it costs a lot less than the drugs you’d have to take if you had hypertension.”

Cereals made from whole grains appear to protect against hypertension slightly more than those made from refined grains (which have had their fiber- and nutrient-rich parts removed), the study found.

Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the College of St. Catherine, in Minneapolis, says that cereal may be a better source of whole grain than bread and other foods because of how it tends to be served. “Usually with cereal you don’t add a source of saturated fat, while you might add something like sausage to bread,” says Jones, who points out that the study did not control for saturated-fat intake. Jones was not involved in the new research.

In addition, the nuts, raisins, or fruit often added to cereal contain fiber and potassium, both of which can help lower blood pressure. Milk’s effects on blood pressure can’t be discounted either, Jones says. “It may be more about the way you put the breakfast together than anything magical about breakfast cereal.”

7 breakfasts under 300 calories
Kochar and his colleagues analyzed data on more than 13,000 men who were part of the long-running Physicians’ Health Study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. All the participants had normal blood pressure and averaged 52 years old at the start of the study. Over the next 17 years, more than half developed hypertension.

Compared with men who never ate cereal, those who averaged one serving per week had a 7% lower risk of hypertension. Those who consumed cereal more frequently had even greater reductions in risk: Two to six weekly servings were associated with an 11% lower risk, and one or more servings per day were associated with a 19% lower risk. (To pinpoint the effect of the cereal, the researchers took several other risk factors for hypertension into account, including age, smoking history, fruit and vegetable consumption, and physical activity.)

Although the food questionnaires used in the study did not ask about specific brands of cereals, popular brand-name cereals made from refined grains include varieties of Corn Flakes, Special K, and Rice Krispies, while examples of whole-grain cereals include Cheerios, shredded wheat, and bran.

10 heart-healthy rules to live by

More research will be needed to determine whether cereal is associated with a lower risk of hypertension in women, too, Kochar says. Although previous studies have shown that women derive heart benefits from whole grain, the findings can’t be immediately generalized beyond men.

Roughly 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. has hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems. The AHA estimates that hypertension costs the country an estimated $90 billion in health-care and other costs each year.

Kochar presented his findings at the AHA’s annual conference on nutrition, physical activity, and metabolism. Unlike the studies published in medical journals, the research presented at the meeting has not been thoroughly vetted by other experts.

Information provided by: health.com