Having high blood pressure increases the threat of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Though easily preventable with the right diet and regular exercise, one in three adults suffers from hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heredity, weight gain, smoking, and diabetes, to name just a few, can make you an easy target. But there are a few things you can add to your daily diet to help minimize your risk.
Sesame and Rice Bran Oils: Healthy Fatty Acids
According to new research conducted by the American Heart Association, people who incorporated a blend of both sesame and rice bran oils into their cooking reduced their blood pressure significantly. Additionally, consumption of the oil blend coupled with high blood pressure medication produced even more optimal results among average aged men and women. Fatty acids and antioxidants found in the oils are likely helping to reduce blood pressure.
High cholesterol among test subjects also saw a decline, with a 26 percent decrease in LDL’s (bad cholesterol) and a 9.5 percent increase in HDL’s (good cholesterol). “Rice bran oil, like sesame oil, is low in saturated fat and appears to improve a patient’s cholesterol profile,” says Devarajan Sankar, MD, Ph.D., a research scientist in the Department of Cardiovascular Disease at Fukuoka University Chikushi Hospital in Chikushino, Japan, in the AHA press release.
Yogurt: Decrease Systolic Blood Pressure
In another recent study, the AHA also found that those who consumed yogurt in at least 2 percent of their daily caloric intake were 31 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure. However, the trick is finding a balance between adding more yogurt into your diet without increasing your ingested calorie count. Eating at least one 6-ounce cup of low-fat yogurt every three days should suffice, and should also lower your systolic blood pressure.
Low-Calorie Cranberry Juice: Rich in Antioxidants
Hypertension also decreased in those who drank low-calorie cranberry juice, the AHA reported. People who consumed the fruit cocktail every day for eight weeks, in accordance with a healthy diet, had a significant drop in average blood pressure levels. Cranberries, naturally rich in antioxidants, have previously been associated with decreased blood pressure in other studies.
Change Your Lifestyle and Live Longer
In addition to watching your diet, lifestyle changes will help control blood pressure. Implementing lifestyle changes can be rocky in the beginning, but big health payoffs lie at the finish line. Make sure to exercise regularly, watch your sodium and alcohol intake, and don’t let stress get the best of you — just relax and breathe. And remember to consult a doctor if you have any symptoms or questions.
Last Updated: 2/10/2015. By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
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