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How To Manage Hypertension Through Diet

Those who suffer from hypertension are at greater risk of other serious conditions and illnesses. Lawrence Appel, MD, MPH, a professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explains that with a rise in blood pressure the risk of kidney disease, stroke and heart attack increases as well.

The good news is that hypertension is treatable. Through making a few simple changes to your diet you will be able to protect your health more effectively by minimizing your high blood pressure.

Diet And Hypertension

According to the American Heart Association, one third of American adults have high blood pressure; and the rate of death due to hypertension has increased by 25% since 1995, meaning there is no sign of this problem going away. However, there is a way to avoid this problem. By some estimates blood pressure is the risk factor for death by heart disease that is the most modifiable. According to Dr. Appel, heart disease is not amongst the sources of mortality that have gained the attention of public health policy makers.

Three Strategies To Focus On In Diet And Hypertension

Diet is a key factor in lowering blood pressure. Appel explains that there are several dietary approaches that can be taken, and each one is designed to address a different contributor to high blood pressure.

Sodium Reduction. Appel says that sodium has been a major focus, and this has led to many people believing that all other approaches revolve around the issue of sodium. Since sodium is used as a preservative, it is often used in excess in processed foods, meaning that food supply producers have effectively “stacked the deck against us.” Read Food Labels Carefully. The recommendation from Appel is that you aim to ingest less than 200 mg of sodium per individual serving, or less than 600 mg of sodium per entire meal (such as a frozen dinner). Naturally, the more fresh foods you eat, the less sodium you will be ingesting.

Weight Loss. Weight loss has been found to have a positive effect on blood pressure, overall. Having said that, rapid weight loss followed by rapid regaining of the weight can be very harmful to your body image as well as your mental health, and could in fact contribute to a variety of health problems including high blood pressure.

Regulation Of Alcohol Intake. Excessive alcohol consumption has a wide range of negative effects on the body, including increasing the blood pressure. An effective strategy is to limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women, and two drinks per day for men.

Managing Hypertension Through The DASH Diet

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and many people have achieved great success through this option. Changing the way you eat, DASH causes you to focus on eating fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, low-fat dairy and whole grains. While the DASH diet requires a range of changes in diet, the easiest way to begin is to include vegetables and fruits at every meal, and add low-fat dairy to most meals.

A lot of evidence supports DASH, and Appel explains that unlike other diets, it is clear that DASH can be sustained throughout a lifetime. Over time, starting from infancy, blood pressure slowly rises, continuing throughout life. Although it is inevitable to experience some blood pressure increase, DASH is a way to minimize this increase. Getting started with these habits as early as possible in life can help you to keep your blood pressure lower throughout your lifetime, according to the best available evidence.

Medication, Diet, Or Both?

Although making changes to your diet can have a massive positive effect on your blood pressure not everyone will be able to manage their blood pressure using only their diet. Some will need medication in addition to the dietary changes in order to keep it in check. Appel is clear that there are benefits to drug therapy and that diet and drug therapy are complementary rather than mutually exclusive. The goal is to lower the blood pressure; and if that requires drug therapy in addition to dietary changes then that is the way to go.

Mary D. Jordan / February 6, 2015 / Choose food wisely

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How To Choose Your Protein Wisely

Protein is essential for our bodies to build strong muscles, bones, cells and skin. The reason we need to make sure that we eat sufficient protein every day is that our bodies are not able to store it as they can store carbohydrates. Is All Protein The Same?

According to Massachusetts General Hospital clinical nutritionist, Alexa Schmitt, RD, the determining factor between good and bad protein is the content of saturated fat. Proteins that contain high levels of saturated fats can increase your cholesterol level; and this increases your risk of heart disease. The majority of adults need to eat between 40 and 65 grams of protein every day. While most Americans eat more protein than their bodies need, it is not necessarily good protein. So what are the smartest choices of protein sources?

Good Sources Of Protein

These are examples of the choices of protein you most likely currently encounter each day.

Meats. According to Schmitt although steak, chicken with skin and salami are all high in protein they are also high in saturated fat. For example, a 6 ounce steak contains almost your full daily protein requirement, but it also contains almost 75% of your daily intake of saturated fat. Does this mean you have to give up steak entirely? Not necessarily. Eating these meats only once or twice a week is the recommendation from Schmitt.

Lean Meats. Fortunately lean meats are a healthier option for those who really like their meat. Turkey, fish, chicken and beef that is 95% lean all still contain a very high level of protein but also contain far less fat, particularly saturated fats which can lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Soy. Soy proteins are low in saturated fats and rich in protein. Schmitt recommends vegetarian meat alternatives like soy nuggets, veggie burgers, and edamame (baby soy beans) You should find all of these in your local supermarket. Edamame is generally prepared by boiling it lightly and adding salt, and is a common addition to Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Check the freezer section of your local supermarket for Edamame if you do not have an Asian specialty market in your area.

Nuts, Legumes And Beans. All types of beans are low in saturated fats and high in protein according to Schmitt. Garbanzo beans and chickpeas are an excellent addition to salads and in hummus. Consider spicy vegetarian chilli recipes for a delicious and healthier option to traditional chilli. You can also add legumes such as lentils and dried peas to stews and chilli. Another great source of protein that is not high in fat are nuts as long as you eat them in moderation.

Dairy. Schmitt says that although dairy foods are frequently overlooked as sources of protein, they are worth including. While some dairy foods are higher in saturated fat than others, Schmitt recommends low fat versions of Greek-style yogurt, ricotta cheese and cottage cheese. These are not only good protein sources, they are also easy and convenient snack foods.

Planning your meals in advance can help you to make healthier choices. By planning in advance you will be able to identify the foods that you eat too much of and you will be able to replace these with healthier alternatives.

Key Points To Remember About Protein

Bear in mind when you choose your protein sources that although you may get the same amount of protein from foods that are low-fat and high in fat, by choosing the food with the higher fat content you could be risking increasing your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Choosing to get your daily protein from plant sources and leaner meats can help to protect your heart health.

Mary D. Jordan / February 6, 2015 / Choose food wisely

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Chocolate Could Help Fight Obesity And Diabetes

A recent survey in the US has revealed nearly one third of the population are obese. And the fatter you get, the greater the risk of obesity related disease such as diabetes. However, according to the resent research, there is an astonishing prevention maneuver for both obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is eating chocolate.

A research team led by Dr Andrew P Nelson, the department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, conducted a test by using mice. They discovered that a certain type of antioxidant found in cocoa helped preventing mice from getting fat and lowering their blood sugar levels. As we all know, chocolate is made from cocoa.

And there are some other studies that suggest eating chocolate could help fighting against those health conditions.

According to the report by Medical News Today, a study claimed that chocolate, berries and wine can help preventing diabetes. Another research claimed they found teenagers who consume lots of chocolate tend to be thinner than who donít.

Those studies suggest that reason of health benefits chocolate may provide is its flavanols. Flavanols is a certain type of antioxidants.

The researchers of the most recent study claim there are some different types of flavanols and cocoa contains several different types of them.

According to their study published in Agricultural Food and Chemistry journal, the scientists went on to find out exactly which type of flavanols are responsible for preventing gaining weight and lowering blood sugar levels.

For this particular research, the scientist team fed mice with six different types of diets for 12 weeks.

Those diets are high fat diet, low fat diet, high fat diet with different types of flavanols, such as monomeric, polymeric and oligomeric procyandins. Mice were fed with each flavanols every day, 25 milligrams for every kilogram of their weight.

They found oligomeric procyandins is the most effective one.

The researchers found high fat diet with oligomeric PC was the most effective for controlling the weight of the mice and helping improvement of glucose tolerance. Therefore effective to prevent type 2 diabetes.

The researchers claim on their findings:

The most effective anti-obesity and anti-diabetic bio activities of flavanols in cocoa are proved to be oligomeric PC.

Additional research with prolonged feeding of flavanol in vivo, need to be conducted in order to identify the fractions of the highest bio activities. So they can find out the reasonable doses for clinical applications for human body.î

The researchers claim that the amount of flavanols dosage used in the test are much lower than the doses used in previous research and more feasible when applied into the proper levels for human consumption.

The researchers added. The data point out that small level of consumption of flavanols in cocoa could be greatly effective in clinical trials in human body that previously considered.î

Previous researches suggest that the health benefits of chocolate could be more than just decreasing the risk of obesity and diabetes. According to a recent report by Medical News Today, if you eat 70 g of dark chocolate a day, it could reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and thickening of the arteries.

Interestingly enough, that study didn’t mention any benefit of flavanols provide. The participants of the test ate either chocolate with favanols added or regular dark chocolate. They found the both chocolate had the same effect.

Professor Diederik Esser, of the Top Institute Food and Nutrition and the Division of Human Nutrition at Wageningen Unviersity in Netherland, who conducted the study, claimed that they provided a better picture of the impact of chocolate in vascular health and found out that increased flavanol content had no additional benefit on vascular health.

Another research pointed out that consuming hot chocolate could assist preventing memory decline. Then again, the researchers didn’t connect this finding into flavanols.

When you think about it, there could be more health benefits of chocolate than we know now.

Mary D. Jordan / February 6, 2015 / Choose food wisely