Posts Tagged ‘lower blood pressure’

Postscript to Go Red for Women

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Today is Go Red for Women Day, highlighting female heart disease. I posted an article about this campaign on Wednesday so you could find something red to wear for today, so this is a follow up of healthful tidbits from various sources. (Link to Wed. posting:

In the Oct. 2010 Nutrition Action Healthletter is an article called “Keep it Supple: You’re only as old as your arteries.” In this cover story the information is a mixture of negative and positive. On the negative front I learned that as we age, the walls of our arteries become more rigid, less flexible. Ditto for the wall linings of our arteries. As our heart contracts, pumping blood into the aorta means the aorta’s walls and linings need to stretch in order to accept the surge. As we age, these areas lose some of their flexibility, which can mean an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and cognitive decline.

The good news is that you can slow down how quickly your arteries age with aerobic exercise and strength training. However, brisk walking (aerobic),does not seem to improve endothelial (inner lining) function in postmenopausal women, so the article suggests combining aerobics with strength training as well as cutting back on sodium and saturated fat, eating a diet packed with fruits and veggies, adding 2 servings of seafood per week to your meal plan, and avoid gaining excess visceral fat (intra-abdominal fat that is linked to stiffer arteries).

Then I found an article in Life Extension Magazine (Nov. 2014) that is a perfect follow up to the one above. In this article by James Harrison, the endothelium (arterial wall linings mentioned above) are protected by pomegranate extracts. Here is a quote: “Best of all, research concludes that by improving endothelial health, pomegranate supplementation lowers risk factors for heart  attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events.” A study was done using pomegranate seed oil for four weeks with greatly reduced triglyceride levels in high cholesterol people studied. Check with your health practitioner before using this, but in the meantime, it couldn’t hurt to add pomegranate seeds to your diet in a fruit salad or as a colorful addition and crunch to your green salad.

Below is a photo of my recent recipe Crunchy Fall Fruit Salad, with pomegranates and walnuts providing the “crunch.” Here is the link to that recipe:

My final trio of tidbits is the DASH Diet, which has been around for some time, but I read an update in the Nutrition Action Healthletter of March 2015. DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension and this condition of high blood pressure raises the risk of: Stroke, Heart Failure, Heart Attack, Kidney Damage, Peripheral Artery Disease, Memory Loss, Vision Loss, and Erectile Dysfunction.

In the research and study discussed in an interview in Nutrition Action with Frank M. Sacks, professor of cardiovascular Disease at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health and professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, the good professor states that: “The foods we found in populations with low blood pressure were primarily fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains. They ate very little red meat, sugar-containing beverages, and desserts.”

(I found that statement very reassuring, since that is basically my diet, except that I rarely eat fish and only do so occasionally because my doctor recommended it. Also, my website recipes cover all these foods except fish.)

Professor Sacks noted also that in many of the people tested in the 1997 DASH study actually lowered their blood pressure as much as drug treatment regardless of age, sex,weight, or race, but the test did not cover people over 76. If you are on blood pressure meds, you might want to research this diet to see if it applies to your situation  and share it with your doctor. After all, isn’t healthful food a form of natural medicine?

P.P.S. Just checked my email and found this article from Banyan Botanicals on Ayurveda and heart health by Melody Mischke. Title: Vibrant Heart: An Ayurvedic Guide to Heart Health. Have not even read it, but I have read other articles from this website and like them. here is the link: ♥ Hearty Reading ♥

This photo is larger and more lovely on the website article link above. Thanx Banyan Botanicals!