Study Suggests Reduction in Sugar Can Lower Blood Pressure

In a recent newsletter we covered some basics about dietary sodium. Here we place a bit of a point on that with a summary of a recent study that finds a link between sugar consumption and blood pressure.

A study published in the online May issue of Circulation found that reducing consumption of beverages that contain added sugar can lower blood pressure (BP), but not simply because it may reduce body weight. The analysis also suggested that change in overall intake of sugar, whether added to or naturally occurring in food and drink, had an effect on BP.

In the study of more than 800 adults participating in a hypertension trial of dietary and behavioral interventions, drinking one less sugar-sweetened beverage a day was independently associated with declines of about 1.2 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and 1.1 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic BP, respectively, over 18 months. (Systolic is the top number and diastolic the bottom number, respectively, in a blood pressure reading.) The relationships remained significant after researchers further controlled for weight change. Thus, this observational study demonstrated that if you reduce sugary drink consumption, you will reduce blood pressure and suggested that the BP-lowering effect is independent of weight loss.

Managing High Cholesterol with Dietary Choices

Several of our current patients have elevated cholesterol values. This is often associated with the development of atherosclerosis, including the setting down of atheromas (fatty deposits of waxy plaque) on the blood vessel walls. This, in turn, leads to narrowing of the arteries and compromising the pliability of the arterial vessels. Most of us can benefit from a review of some basic nutritional information to help manage cholesterol levels. Here we focus on fruits and vegetables.

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

 [IMAGE] Fruits and vegetables are among the most healthy food choices for helping to manage our total cholesterol. Keep a varied and ready supply on hand. Use fresh whenever in season and use organic if available and affordable.

When prepared simply (avoiding rich cream sauces, for example), it’s pretty tough to go wrong with vegetables. Keep on hand a good supply of vegetables. Dark leafy greens and high water-content veggies are especially helpful during the summer heat. Traditional Chinese medicine generally considers these be to bitter in taste to drain heat downward, as well as cool or cold in nature. Vegetables are also generally an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients. In addition to peppers, celery, cucumber, carrots, spinach, green and red leaf lettuces, and tomatoes, also regularly include cruciferous vegetables in your diet such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. As the summer gives way to fall, begin to include vegetables such as eggplant, squashes and other root vegetables.

Fruit in moderation is a good source of antioxidants and vitamins. Fruit is best eaten whole, as juices can be concentrated with sugar and thus have a high glycemic index. Include berries, oranges, apples, pears, grapes and bananas in your diet. Try to opt for organic where available and affordable; many fruits are sprayed with chemicals.

HealthPoint Oriental Medicine uses a variety of methods to assist those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and/or hypercholesteremia (high cholesterol) to manage and control these diseases. Because these diseases (especially) hypertension are serious and potentially fatal, and because the signs and symptoms are often not apparent, we always advise any of our patients with routine high blood pressure and/or elevated cholesterol values to be immediately evaluated by a physician. Our services can be an extremely important part of a comprehensive, healthy approach to avoiding or managing hypertension and/or high cholesterol.

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