Ease the (Blood) Pressure

The silent killer  – high blood pressure – is at epidemic levels across the country. Preventable and reversible, high blood pressure — the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease — can be effectively controlled through medication. But what you eat and drink matters, too, and may control it just as well.

There are no warning signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, making regular testing a requirement for healthy living.

“High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and heart failure,” said Dr. Malissa Wood, co-director of the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. “Currently, 77.9 million (1 out of every 3) adults have high blood pressure in the United States, and the estimated direct and indirect cost of high blood pressure in 2009 was $51 billion.

dash diet meal“Given that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans and it is highly preventable, we need to focus more on diet – both in maintaining or achieving a healthy weight as well as following a DASH-type diet to stay healthy. DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. This includes lots of whole grain products, fish, poultry and nuts. It is rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as protein and fiber and limits sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day ideally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, decreasing the average intake of sodium from 3,300 mg to 2,300 mg per day may reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million,” Wood said.

“Consuming less sodium is one way to help reduce blood pressure, but it’s not our only option,” said Dr. Rani Whitfield, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association national volunteer spokeswoman. “Foods that are rich in potassium like bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, lima beans and peas are heart-healthy options that can help get blood pressure under control,” said the family practitioner from Baton Rouge, La.

Researchers believe that potassium counteracts the effects of sodium and reduces blood pressure. “A recent study also suggests that foods high in nitrates like beets can be helpful in lowering blood pressure”, Whitfield said. “Nitrates open the blood vessels, reducing the blood pressure and increasing blood flow.”

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables like the DASH diet can help control blood pressure and may help prevent high blood pressure. This benefit may be partially derived from the calcium in fresh fruits and vegetables, said Wood.

The American Heart Association recommends eating eight or more fruit and vegetable servings every day. An average adult consuming 2,000 calories daily should aim for 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Also, variety matters, so try a wide range of fruits and veggies.

In her “The Heart of the Matter” video (below), Dr. Tamara Sachs (Internal Medicine) discusses her professional experience with heart disease. She says:

“Health is more than the absence of disease: it is a balance between wellness and the many stressors in your life. The more active a participant you are in this dynamic process, the healthier a person you will become.”

“Knowing what you need to do and actually doing it are two different things. Juice Plus+ is a perfect example. Knowing that we should eat more fruits and vegetables is one thing, but actually doing it is quite another. That’s why I recommend Juice Plus+ to all of my patients. It is a powerful and compelling product for those who wish to protect their health. I would never want to be without it. It is my foundational product for my patients, and I rely on it for my health as well.”

In no less than 6 clinical studies Juice Plus+ was shown to significantly improve markers of heart health, including reduction in homocysteine, systemic inflammation and the negative effects of a high fat meal (watch the video!)  Read more on this here and watch a Internal Medicince specialist, Dr. Tamara Sachs below: