Archive for the ‘Blood Pressure’ Category

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Raw Nuts Help Lower Blood Pressure, Fight Metabolic Syndrome

April 5, 2012
Raw Nuts Help Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

Raw Nuts Help Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

Metabolic syndrome is a well studied and documented group of biomarkers and physical observations that are known to preclude many chronic and potentially life-threatening diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers reporting in the Journal of Proteome Research have uncovered a critical link between eating nuts and higher levels of serotonin in the bodies of patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) who are at high risk for heart disease.

Serotonin is a chemical signaling compound found in the brain that helps transmit nerve signals and can decrease feelings of hunger, boosting spirits and helping people feel happier. The findings indicate that just one ounce of nuts eaten daily is enough to produce the health-promoting benefits.

Nut Consumption Increases Serotonin Levels to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms

Nut Consumption Helps Control Weight to Prevent Obesity

Nut Consumption Helps Control Weight to Prevent Obesity

The explosion of the obesity epidemic around the world is leading to an exponential rise in metabolic syndrome symptoms including excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and lipid abnormalities. As a result, cases of Type II diabetes and heart disease are increasing in record numbers. Metabolic syndrome is largely the result of excessive abdominal fat stores that result from a diet filled with high calorie processed and fried foods. As fat storage cells (adipose tissue) begin to increase in number and swell beyond capacity, they prompt the release of a torrent of chemical messengers that promote systemic inflammation and disease.

Researchers from the Biomarkers & NutriMetabolomics Research Group of the University of Barcelona in Spain studied the biochemical effects of nut consumption on metabolic syndrome and human health. They put 22 patients with diagnosed metabolic syndrome on a nut-enriched diet for 12 weeks and compared them to another group of 20 patients who were told to avoid nuts. The scientists analyzed the full spectrum of compounds excreted in the patients’ urine and found evidence of several healthful changes.

Nuts are Packed with Monounsaturated Fats and Antioxidants to Prevent Chronic Disease

Raw Nuts Should be Part of Every Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet

Raw Nuts Should be Part of Every Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet

Lead study author, Dr. Cristina Andrés-Lacueva commented “Dietary changes may help patients shed the excess weight and become healthier… the regular consumption of nuts, which are jam-packed with healthful nutrients, such as healthy fats (unsaturated fatty acids) and antioxidants (polyphenols) have been recommended to fight the metabolic abnormalities associated with MetS.” Researchers determined for the first time that nut consumption boosted serotonin levels to promote satiety and happiness.

Nutrition scientists now understand that the fats provided with regular nut consumption correlate closely to improved human health. In the past, nuts have been branded with a high-fat stigma and avoided by many health-minded people. Fortunately we now have solid evidence to show nuts are a super food that can help prevent chronic disease including MetS. The study authors concluded that one ounce of nuts eaten daily “reduced levels of substances in the body associated with inflammation and other cardiovascular risk factors in patients with metabolic syndrome.” Grab a handful of tasty nuts to help ward off metabolic syndrome and chronic illness.

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Grape Compounds Shown to Improve Hypertension in Adults

August 17, 2011
Elevated Blood Pressure is a Key Factor Promoting Early Aging and Disease

Elevated Blood Pressure is a Key Factor Promoting Early Aging and Disease

Adults aged 55 and older face a lifetime risk of developing elevated blood pressure greater than 90%, accounting for more than 40 million doctor visits each year and taxing an already overburdened healthcare system. Uncontrolled blood pressure slowly degrades the vascular system throughout the body and takes a particular toll on the kidneys, eyes and delicate arteries around the heart and in the brain.

Small increases in blood pressure place an individual at dramatically increased risk from heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. Researchers focusing on the antioxidant capacity of grape seed, resveratrol and pomegranate found that regular consumption of these foods can effectively reduce blood pressure without the need for dangerous prescription drugs.

Natural Fruit Polyphenols Lower Cellular Stress and Blood Pressure

Grape Polyphenols Lowers Oxidative Stress to Lower Blood Pressure

Grape Polyphenols Lowers Oxidative Stress to Lower Blood Pressure

Oxidative stress is a significant factor leading to accelerated damage from hypertension. Excess stress prompts changes to the hormone angiotensin that is known to impact blood pressure through an intricate mechanism of vessel and arterial constriction. Natural agents that can lower dangerous levels of cellular oxidative stress are considered paramount to lowering blood pressure in susceptible individuals.

ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme)-inhibitors are among the most popular prescription medications prescribed to negate the effect of the angiotensin hormone, and create a life of misery for many due to the myriad of side effects inherent with this class of drug. Recent research shows that artificially lowering blood pressure with drugs has virtually no effect on cardiovascular disease risk, compared to lowering readings with natural fruit polyphenols, diet and physical activity.

Study Shows That Grape Seed Extract and Resveratrol Can Effectively Lower Blood Pressure

Grape Compounds and Pomegranate Combine to Treat Hypertension

Grape Compounds and Pomegranate Combine to Treat Hypertension

Writing in the journal Metabolism, nutritional scientists compared the effect of grape seed extract and resveratrol on subjects with metabolic syndrome. Three groups were divided to receive either grape seed extract (GSE) at a dose of 150 mg per day, GSE at 300 mg per day or a placebo. After 4 weeks, both GSE supplemented groups experienced systolic blood pressure drops of 5 to 7 percent. This change was considered significant as no other dietary or lifestyle interventions were followed. Researchers believe that GSE and grape-derived compounds including resveratrol can be used to prevent and treat hypertension based on the potent antioxidant load delivered by the fruit extracts.

Pomegranates effectively lower blower blood pressure in a manner similar to GSE and resveratrol as the juice and extracts contain powerful polyphenols that counteract oxidative stress. This magical fruit also is found to lower circulating levels of the angiotensin hormone that can help blood vessels to relax. The result of a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis demonstrated that consumption of pomegranate juice (50 ml per day for 2 weeks) lowered ACE activity by 36%, leading to a 5% drop in systolic blood pressure.

It should come as no surprise to those following a natural health lifestyle that the key to controlling blood pressure and reducing the risk factors that promote cardiovascular disease are not found in a prescription bottle. Fruits such as the pomegranate and formulated natural extracts from red grape skins and seeds deliver powerful health benefits without any of the associated side effects of synthesized pharmaceuticals.

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Potassium Balance is Key to Blood Pressure Maintenance and Heart Disease Prevention

August 15, 2011
Potassium to Sodium Ratio is Critical to Prevent Hypertension

Potassium to Sodium Ratio is Critical to Prevent Hypertension

Increasing incidence of high blood pressure continues to be the most significant factor in death from a heart attack and advancing cardiovascular disease. Elevated blood pressure readings cause thickening of the coronary arteries as micro-cracks develop that the body attempts to correct with deposits of coronary plaque.

Overweight and obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and stress are known contributing factors to the hypertension epidemic. Researchers publishing in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that the imbalance of potassium to sodium in the diet is a significant factor driving high blood pressure. Maintaining an optimized ratio of 2:1 (potassium to sodium) by cutting salty processed foods and increasing natural fruits and vegetables is shown to significantly lower out of control blood pressure readings.

Potassium to Sodium Ratio in Diet is Critical to Improve Hypertension

Strawberries and Bananas are Excellent Sources of Dietary Potassium

Strawberries and Bananas are Excellent Sources of Dietary Potassium

Potassium from natural food sources has been rapidly depleted from the typical diet due to the dramatic rise in sodium-laden processed foods over the past half century. Combined with a reduction in raw vegetables and fruits that are excellent sources of potassium, the balance of potassium to sodium in the diet has shifted from an ideal ratio of 2:1 to a blood pressure raising rate of 2:3. Current potassium intake is fully one-third that of our generational ancestors and is attributed to the skyrocketing increase in high blood pressure incidence and associated cardiovascular risk.

Researchers examining the potassium intake across 21 countries including the US found that average daily consumption of the mineral ranged from 1.7 to 3.7 grams, well below the recommended daily allowance of 4.7 grams. Similarly, sodium consumption averaged 5 grams per day with many individuals taking in as much as 9 to 12 grams. The recommended sodium intake is 2,400 mg daily and 1,500 mg or less is suggested for those with established cardiovascular risk factors.

Increase Dietary Potassium to Significantly Lower Heart Disease Risk

Less Than A Quarter of Adults Have Blood Pressure Under Control

Less Than A Quarter of Adults Have Blood Pressure Under Control

The study found that only 20% to 30 % of the adult population maintains normal blood pressure readings. The study authors found “An effective way of increasing potassium intake is to follow the guidelines for healthy nutrition more closely, including a higher consumption of vegetables and fruit. In addition, the use of mineral salts in processed foods – by which sodium is partly replaced by potassium – would contribute to an improved intake of both sodium and potassium.”

The study concluded that increasing potassium in the diet has a significant effect on lowering blood pressure and is equal to the effect seen by lowering sodium consumption. Higher potassium intake from natural sources including avocados, spinach, carrots and tomatoes and eliminating sodium-infused processed foods (snacks, soup and fast food) can combine to lower systolic blood pressure readings by 5% to 7%. Improving this single risk factor could reduce hypertension rates enough to dramatically lower cardiovascular risk and heart attack deaths.

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CoQ10 Key to Prevent Hypertension and Congestive Heart Failure

July 15, 2011
CoQ10 Shown to Improve Heart Failure Markers

CoQ10 Shown to Improve Heart Failure Markers

Reporting in the journal Biofactors, researchers found that patients with congestive heart failure that were supplemented with the active form of coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinol) improved ejection fraction by 39%. Ejection fraction is a critical marker of heart function used to determine the volume of blood pumped by the heart through the vascular system.

CoQ10 is essential to convert nutrients to energy and power the cellular engine, and natural production in the body declines with age. Extensive research explains how you can benefit from daily supplementation with this powerful co-enzyme to restore healthy energy balance and prevent age-related heart disease.

CoQ10 Improves Quality of Life for Heart Failure Patients

Senior CHF Patients Quality of Life Improved with CoQ10 Supplementation

Senior CHF Patients Quality of Life Improved with CoQ10 Supplementation

The study conducted at the East Texas Medical Center and Trinity Mother Francis Hospital focused on patients with advanced congestive heart failure that were classified as Stage IV, the most severe form of the disease. Patients were supplemented with 580 mg of the ubiquinol form of coenzyme Q10 daily to increase plasma blood levels by a factor of four.

The researchers found “the improvement in plasma CoQ10 levels is correlated with both clinical improvement and improvement in measurement of left ventricular function.” Prior to CoQ10 supplementation, most of the participants were considered critically ill and confined to bed or a wheel chair. After a regimen of ubiquinol, patients typically improved two classification levels (Stage IV to II or III to I) and were able to carry on a productive lifestyle.

CoQ10 Improves Blood Vessel Elasticity to Lower Blood Pressure

CoQ10 Improves Arterial Elasticity to Lower Blood Pressure

CoQ10 Improves Arterial Elasticity to Lower Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a serious problem that affects as many as one in three adults in the US today. High blood pressure is closely associated with coronary artery closure due to plaque formation and arterial stiffening as the normally elastic vessels require more pressure to fully circulate blood to the body. The result of a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found that coenzyme Q10 supplemented along with other potent antioxidant nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium) significantly increased small and large arterial elasticity that led to lower blood pressure and risk of a heart attack.

Subjects in this study received 60 mg of CoQ10 for a period of six months along with moderate amounts of the other nutrients. In addition to improved arterial elasticity, researchers found a significant decline in HbA1C blood sugar control and an increase in protective HDL cholesterol levels. The authors of the research concluded that the CoQ10 nutrient antioxidant cocktail “has beneficial effect on glucose and lipid metabolism, blood pressure and arterial compliance in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors.”

It comes as no surprise to most alternative health-minded individuals that nutrients obtained from natural sources exert a powerful influence on human health. Adults will want to supplement with 50 to 100 mg per day (higher amounts may be necessary for existing cardiovascular disease) of the ubiquinol form of coenzyme Q10 to maintain optimal health, energy and protection from age-related diseases of the heart.

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Blueberries Lower Heart Disease and Hypertension Risk

March 16, 2011

(Article first published as A Handful of Berries Each Day Lowers Blood Pressure and Risk of Heart Disease on Technorati.)

Anthocyanins in Berries Help Lower Blood Pressure

Anthocyanins in Berries Help Lower Blood Pressure

Bioactive compounds found in the full spectrum of berries, and especially blueberries are shown to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The results provide fresh proof that this great tasting source of beneficial phytonutrients can lower the risk associated with a heart attack.

“Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension,” said lead author Professor Aedin Cassidy of the Department of Nutrition at the University of East Anglia’s Medical School. Approximately one-quarter of all adults worldwide and as many as one in three Americans suffer from hypertension, a leading cause of heart disease and death from a heart attack.

Anthocyanins in Berries Reduce Risk of Hypertension

Experts Recommend Blueberries to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Experts Recommend Blueberries to Lower Heart Disease Risk

The team of scientists followed nearly 200,000 men and women over a period of 14 years and assessed their intake of flavonoids from a variety of natural foods including apples, orange juice, blueberries, red wine, and strawberries. They found that the group consuming the highest amount of anthocyanins (found mainly in blueberries and strawberries in the US) were 8% less likely to develop hypertension over the period of the study.

A more in-depth analysis showed that consumption of blueberries in particular conveyed the highest degree of protection against developing high blood pressure with a 10% lower incidence for those eating the fruit once a week. Dr. Cassidy noted “Our findings are exciting and suggest that an achievable dietary intake of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of hypertension”. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart attack, and this finding could translate to a significant reduction in the number of people suffering a cardiovascular event.

A Daily Dose of Berries Can Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke and Dementia

Berries Also Lower Risk of Stroke, Diabetes and Dementia

Berries Also Lower Risk of Stroke, Diabetes and Dementia

Nutrition researchers will now begin to identify the different sources of anthocyanins as well as the ideal dose necessary to prevent hypertension. Most berry varieties are packed with flavonoids and anthocyanins that have been shown to lower the risk of chronic illness from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and premature brain aging.

Extensive scientific studies now exist showing how berry consumption, and especially blueberries help to prevent diseases of the brain that result in cognitive decline and dementia. The special compounds that give berries their deep purple and reddish colors are able to cross into the brain where they exert a powerful effect to thwart functional decline.

We now have evidence that berry consumption can prevent hypertension and lower heart attack risk. Until exact standards are developed, nutrition experts advise eating one-half to a full cup of berries several times a week to protect the heart and the brain.

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Beetroot Juice Effectively Combats Alzheimer’s Disease

February 21, 2011

(Article first published as Beetroot Juice May Hold a Key to Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention on Technorati.)

Beetroot Juice May Help Lower Risk From Alzheimer's Disease

Beetroot Juice May Help Lower Risk From Alzheimer's Disease

The results of a new study published in the journal Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry shows the impact of beetroot juice on brain health. Researchers already know that beetroot juice is beneficial to heart health as it effectively lowers blood pressure. A new study demonstrated the extract could be used as an agent to improve oxygen flow to the aging brain and improve cognitive decline.

Nitrates in Beetroot Juice Relax Aging Arteries

Beetroot Juice Shown to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

Beetroot Juice Shown to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

Healthy blood flow to the brain declines with age as the vascular endothelium begins to harden and normal flexibility is lost. The heart needs to beat faster and harder to pump the same volume of blood and normal oxygen supply is reduced. These are known risk factors for the onset of dementia as well as stroke.

Beetroot juice is high in natural nitrates that turn into nitrite and help to relax and open aging blood vessels that supply the brain. More blood flow corresponds to improved oxygenation, improved memory and the ability to learn and retain recent events.

Blood Flow to the Brain Improved with Beetroot Juice

Beetroot Juice Improves Blood Flow to the Brain

Beetroot Juice Improves Blood Flow to the Brain

The study conducted at Wake Forest University`s Translational Science Center included 14 adults aged 70 and over for a period of 4 days. Participants were broken into two groups and provided with a diet high in nitrates (from beetroot juice and leafy green vegetables) or a traditional diet without nitrates. The next day blood was drawn to determine nitrite saturation levels and an MRI was performed to check for blood flow to the brain. Participant diets were switched on subsequent days and the tests repeated.

Study Concludes Beetroot Juice Improves Blood Flow and Cognition

Test results indicated that blood flow to the critical front lobe white matter was increased as a result of the diet high in nitrates from beetroot juice. No change was seen when a traditional diet was provided. The study authors concluded “Our results support the proposal that oral nitrate therapy may be beneficial in treating cognitive decline that is often observed with aging. Towards that end, we show a direct effect of dietary nitrate on cerebral blood flow within the subcortical and deep white matter of the frontal lobes”.

Increasing blood flow and oxygenation is essential to prevent the cognitive decline that is so prevalent in the aging population. Half of those people at age 80 will experience some form of dementia or vascular disorder. Research continues to confirm that a natural diet including foods such as beetroot juice can help to improve cognition and allow people to age naturally.

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Lipoic Acid Lowers Blood Pressure and Stroke Risk

February 12, 2011

(Article first published as Super Nutrient Lowers Blood Pressure and Reduces Stroke Risk on Technorati.)

Rising Blood Pressure Dramatically Increases Stroke Risk

Rising Blood Pressure Dramatically Increases Stroke Risk

Slowly rising blood pressure as we age places millions of Americans at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Medical practitioners and Big Pharma think the answer is prescribe a host of different pharmaceuticals until a magical number is achieved artificially. Research has rapidly emerged to demonstrate that reaching a normal blood pressure using drugs is not the same as lowering blood pressure naturally.

In fact, using drugs to lower blood pressure can contribute to a host of damaging side effects including death. Fortunately you can take advantage of nature`s treasure of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables and supplement with lipoic acid to dramatically lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Protein Damage Contributes to High Blood Pressure

Stress Contributes to High Blood Pressure and Stroke

Stress Contributes to High Blood Pressure and Stroke

For the first time, researchers have discovered the actual underlying cause of high blood pressure and the best way to alleviate the problem at its source. The result of a study published in the journal Nature demonstrated that a key regulatory protein that controls blood pressure is damaged by the normal wear and tear caused by free radicals. The protein angiotensinogen becomes damaged through free radical assault and leads to hypertension.

Researchers found that a low antioxidant status was indicative of increased blood pressure. Insufficient circulating antioxidants allow damage to angiotensinogen protein molecules and loss of blood pressure regulation. The study determined that simply increasing antioxidant status was not enough to fully lower blood pressure readings and found that other mitigating factors such as stress, being overweight, and insulin resistance generated high levels of free radical damage. When these factors were addressed and controlled, increased intake of antioxidants from natural food sources and supplementation effectively lowered blood pressure levels.

Antioxidants Lower Risk of Stroke by 60%

Lipoic Acid is a Powerful Antioxidant That Relaxes the Vascular System

Lipoic Acid is a Powerful Antioxidant That Relaxes the Vascular System

Stroke is a leading cause of disability and mortality in western society, largely due to damage to the delicate vascular network and the movement of blood clots through the body. Free radicals cause the endothelial lining of delicate blood vessels to become unstable and inflamed, greatly increasing the risk of an ischemic stroke. A study released in the Journal of Nutrition found that individuals with the highest antioxidant status were 60% less likely to suffer from a stroke. Vitamin C alone was found to lower the risk by 40%.

Lipoic Acid Rejuvenates Antioxidant Status During Aging

The human body functions at an advanced metabolic rate and our cellular mitochondria generate large amounts of free radicals that wreak damage in the process. Mitochondria are the energy producing structures in each cell and are particularly vulnerable to free radical damage. Details of a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science demonstrated how lipoic acid is able to prevent damage to the mitochondria by providing a powerful antioxidant shield to the cellular structure. They found the `R-lipoic acid` form to be most effective.

Energy production within our body generates large numbers of free radicals that are known to be the cause of aging and chronic conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. In addition to controlling external factors such as stress, weight and insulin resistance, increasing antioxidant status from raw foods and supplements is shown to slow the aging process and dramatically lower the risk of disease.