Are you familiar with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet? The DASH Diet is a very effective plan to lower blood pressure. However, it can be difficult to follow, especially if you don’t currently consume many vegetables. The DASH Diet calls for 4-5 servings of vegetables each day. One vegetable serving equals one-half cup or a one cup serving of greens, such as spinach and lettuce.
Here are 3 easy to locate aromatic vegetables you can incorporate more into your daily diet for a variety of health benefits. Aromatic vegetables are used to add flavor to many dishes.
Onions – Probably one of the most often used aromatic vegetables in the United States. Onions are high in allyl sulfides, which aid in the fight against heart disease and cancer. Onions provide inulin, vitamin C, fiber manganese, and folate.
Celery – A great low calorie addition to meals, celery promotes a lower blood pressure. Celery contains Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and quercetin. Quecetin is a flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties to protect heart health.
Garlic – Reduces atherosclerosis, which is the thickening of your arterial walls, and reduces cancer risk.
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Blood pressure should be checked every two years after the age of 21, annual checks after age 50, more frequent checks if you have risk factors. It is easiest to treat high blood pressure if you catch the gradual increase early on. If you have a family history of heart disease or stroke, all the more reason to pay attention.
Home Monitoring Blood Pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is wise to monitor your blood pressure at home, as well as your doctor’s office. Combining your readings with your doctor’s will provide a better measure of your high blood pressure and treatment to control it.
Also, home monitoring will rule out if you suffer from “white coat hypertension”. About 30% of individuals diagnosed with hypertension, have “white coat hypertension”. In other words, their blood pressure is elevated due to increased anxiety when visiting the doctor. The only way to know the effects on your blood pressure is to monitor it regularly. For the most accurate results, monitor your blood pressure at the same time every day.
DO NOT substitute home monitoring in place of regular MD checkups. Your MD appointments are very important, especially if your high blood pressure is being treated with medication.
Continue reading ‘How to Find the Right Blood Pressure Monitor’ »
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65 million Americans have high blood pressure with approximately 74 percent taking medication to treat high blood pressure.
Research presented at the 61st American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session found internet-based telemedicine to lead to more effective medication prescriptions, improved blood pressure control, and a reduction in cardiovascular risk when compared to traditional, periodic office visits.
Telemedicine to monitor blood pressure refers to patients reporting blood pressure readings more frequently via web-based platforms. This led to more efficient and timely treatment plan adjustments if needed from their health care team.
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Do you need to worry about how much salt you consume in your diet? It has been argued that only those who are “salt sensitive” need to be concerned about decreasing sodium/salt intake to lower blood pressure.
A study published online in Circulation researched how a high sodium diet may lead to hypertension. The study followed over 5000 participants from the Dutch PREVEND study for close to six and a half years. All participants did not have high blood pressure when the study began.
Researchers found high sodium intake to increase serum uric acid and urine albumin excretion. Increases in serum uric acid and urine albumin are two markers of endothelial dysfunction. The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels and a dysfunction is an imbalance of the substances that act on the endothelium leading to vasodilation and vasoconstriction.
As serum uric acid secretion increases, risk of developing hypertension increases. Researches found the same to occur as urinary albumin levels increased. The increased risk of hypertension with increased levels of sodium intake was only seen in participants with markers of endothelial dysfunction.
Studies have shown that consuming high levels of sodium for short periods of time to be associated with endothelial dysfunction. Researchers believe that repeat incidences of high sodium intake in the long term may explain rises in blood pressure connected to high sodium diets.
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Typically cranberry juice is thought of as a home health remedy to treat urinary tract infections (UTI’s). Some recent research indicates cranberry juice may also promote lower blood pressure levels.
Let me begin by stating these study results are preliminary. More research needs to be conducted. The study, funded by Ocean Spray Cranberries, was published as an abstract and the results have not yet been peer-reviewed and published in a journal. Results were reported at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Washington, DC.
Placebo Controlled Study
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You don’t have to begin a drastic diet in order to achieve your heart health goals. Big results can be achieved by improving your daily habits one step at a time.
Here are 5 steps you can implement now for a healthy heart:
Step 1 – Add fruits and vegetables to your daily diet
That’s right, I’m not telling you to eliminate a food, but to add foods. Fruits and vegetables are essential. Add a fruit and/or vegetable to every meal or snack to boost your intake of this necessary food group. It’s estimated that our intake of vegetables is usually only 59% of what it should be and fruit only 42%.
Step 2 – Switch processed grains for whole grains
Continue reading ‘5 Steps to Achieve a Healthy Heart’ »
Is the deck stacked against you when it comes to genetics and heart disease? If so, I’m right there with you. However, this isn’t a pass to just say “oh well, nothing you can do about it” and proceed to live an unhealthy lifestyle.
Heart disease and heart attacks are for the most part preventable. Deaths due to coronary heart disease have significantly decreased since 1980.
Here are 5 steps you can take right now to beat the odds:
- Know your numbers
Go to the free health screenings to have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. Discuss with your doctor to determine how often more in depth lab work should be completed. Ignorance is not going to help you.
For cholesterol, the American Heart Association provides the following recommendations:
Continue reading ‘Reduce Your Heart Attack Risk’ »
I’ve been asked many times about the safety of taking a weight loss supplement (i.e. diet pill) when living with high blood pressure or taking blood pressure medication.
My answer doesn’t vary:
“I do not recommend diet pills – whether you have high blood pressure or not.
Many weight loss supplements contain “undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients”, frequently in levels exceeding FDA recommendations. These ingredients include drugs not approved in the U.S. These substances impact blood pressure and anti-seizure medications, diuretics, along with drugs linked to suicide, depression, and cancer.”
Not only can weight loss supplements lead to negative health consequences, they don’t typically work.
Continue reading ‘Weight Loss Pills: Do they work?’ »
Earlier this month (February 2012), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing that nine out of ten adults eat too much salt daily.
This excess salt is not the salt you are adding with the salt shaker. The high salt diet comes from processed foods and restaurant meals.
A diet high in sodium (salt) leads to high blood pressure. This equals an increased risk for developing heart disease and having a stroke.
According to CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden, heart disease and strokes are responsible for the deaths of more than 800,000 Americans annually and add approximately $273 BILLION dollars to health care costs.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend salt be limited to no more than 2300 milligrams per day. This recommendation may be even lower (no more than 1500 milligrams per day) depending on your ethnicity, age, and medical history.
The average adult in the U.S. consumes more than 3300 milligrams of salt each day.
10 Foods Contributing the Most Sodium
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There are several different varieties of rice. Most people were raised eating white rice and continue to do so. However, the different types of rice provide different nutritional benefits. Let’s look specifically at white rice, brown rice, and wild rice.
White rice has been milled so that the husk, bran, and germ are removed leaving you with a refined product. During this process, the rice is polished giving it the bright, white, shiny appearance we expect.
By removing these layers the flavor, texture, and appearance of the rice is changed and the shelf life is extended as it is now less likely to spoil.
Nutrients are removed during the processing, such as the B vitamin thiamine. Due to this depletion of nutrients, white rice is usually enriched. This means some the nutrients removed during processing are added back in, such as thiamine, niacin, and iron.
Continue reading ‘Which is better for your health? Wild, Brown, or White Rice?’ »