According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 28.6% of adults over that age of 18 in the United States have hypertension ie. chronically elevated blood pressure. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. When diagnosed with high blood pressure, invariably your doctor will prescribe a medication to reduce it. If somewhat enlightened, he may mumble a few words about eating a healthy diet to aid in blood pressure control but it is doubtful that he or she will actually “get” how important nutrition can be in the treatment of hypertension.
John H. Maher DC in Anti-Aging Therapeutics Volume XII wrote a review article on the treatment of hypertension that was astonishing. He reviewed a couple of studies that you may want to consider. In one experiment, supplemental phytonutrients (powderized veggies and fruits) were administered to the study group. After 90 days, systolic blood pressure dropped 12 mm Hg and diastolic dropped 7 mm Hg. There was no change in the control group.
Another study was reviewed that used either whey protein powder or whey protein powder and a phytonutrient drink. Both of these groups dropped their blood pressure and the control group did not. The group using the protein powder and green drink dropped an average of 10.9 mm Hg systolic and 13.9 mm Hg diastolic. These are amazing numbers and similar or better to what could be expected from taking a pharmaceutical. Keep in mind that pharmaceuticals all have potential side effects whereas protein and veggies would have none.
There are different classes of blood pressure medications. As an example, potential side effects of beta blockers include congestive heart failure, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and impotence just to name a few.
Calcium channel blockers are another class of anti-hypertensive medication and it is thought that they may actually increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and death! Isn’t the idea here to avoid this? This is a good reason to consider good nutrition to help avoid medication. There is no risk to be well nourished.
Granted, the data in Dr. Maher’s article is somewhat limited and the study groups were small, but it is reasonable that there may be some validity that these food supplements may help. It is well accepted that the DASH and DASH 2 diets are a useful adjunct to treating hypertension. These plans emphasize fruits and vegetables far more than the nutritionally devoid standard American diet. In my opinion, although these diets are vastly better than how most people eat, they are not as good as the so-called Paleo or caveman diet that totally concentrates only on the foods that were available prior to the agricultural revolution.
I have decided that I am going to start consuming a “green” drink daily. Life is busy and we don’t always have time to make a huge salad. Elevated blood pressure is just one disease. It is thought that a diet rich in vegetables and fruit may impact the risk for numerous diseases including cancer. You cannot go wrong with too many vegetables. In susceptible individuals with a propensity to high blood sugar, fruit may have to be limited somewhat because of the carbohydrate load.
If you do have high blood pressure, do not make any changes in your medication regimen without discussing it with your doctor. Since whey protein and a “green” drink are simply foods, there really is little risk taking these. If you do and are presently on blood pressure meds, get your doc to follow your blood pressure.
Lee Kurisko MD is Chief Medical Officer of www.medibid.com. He is trained as a family physician, radiologist, and neuroradiologist. He is author of “Health Reform- The End of the American Revolution?” He is now pursuing Board Certification in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.”. His blogposts on health and fitness can now be seen at www.healthandfitnessdoctor.com.
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