Struggling with High Blood Pressure? Go Plant-Based!
Yes, that’s right! Switching to a whole food plant-based diet can help with high blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that many people deal with daily and diet plays a huge role in managing it. Plants are Power is here to help you understand how a plant-based diet can help you cure hypertension!
CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM AND BLOOD PRESSURE
The cardiovascular system is one of the most important organ systems in the human body. It allows blood to distribute all necessary nutrients, hormones, the oxygen we breathe, and many other chemical compounds from and to all cells and organs in the body. In this way, it also helps with regulating, stabilising, and maintaining body temperature, pH, and homeostasis, as well as fighting diseases. The cardiovascular system consists of the blood, heart, and blood vessels. Blood pressure is one of the body’s key vital signs and describes the pressure of the circulating blood on the walls of the blood vessels. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm.
The muscle activity of the heart can be divided into two phases: In the systolic phase, blood is pumped from the heart chambers into the body’s and the lungs’ circulatory system; in the diastolic phase, the heart chambers fill with blood again. Both phases of muscle activity can be mapped using a blood pressure monitor. The first reading indicates the maximum pressure the heart exerts when it beats (systolic). Diastolic blood pressure refers to the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
Hypertension is cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure is defined as systolic blood pressure above 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure above 90 mmHg/ Blood pressure is commonly measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Depending on the development of the disease, a distinction is made between primary (essential) and secondary (symptomatic) hypertension. About 90% of all patients suffer from primary hypertension, which – unlike secondary hypertension – is not caused by another underlying disease.
EFFECTS AND CAUSES
Hypertension poses several health risks. It is estimated that the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease doubles with every 20 mmHg added to systolic blood pressure or every 10 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure. The increased pressure on the arteries can lead to them becoming damaged or constricted. This, in turn, can develop into arteriosclerosis. Also, bulges in the arterial walls may develop. In the worst-case scenario, an aneurysm will tear and cause internal bleeding. People suffering from high blood pressure are also at greater risk of vascular dementia, strokes, nerve damage to the eyes, and sexual dysfunction. Additionally, hypertension is one of the most common causes of kidney failure, since high blood pressure can damage the kidneys’ small blood vessels, preventing waste products from being expelled.
Diet and lifestyle have a major influence on the development of hypertension. In addition to genetic predisposition and pre-existing conditions such as diabetes mellitus type 2 and kidney disease, high consumption of alcohol, tobacco, salt, and saturated fatty acids play a role as risk factors. On the other hand, regular exercise, a bodyweight in the ideal range, and an adequate supply of potassium can reduce blood pressure. A well-planned diet can, therefore, guard against the development of hypertension and be used to treat the condition.
BEWARE! THE ANIMALS PRODUCTS YOU ARE CONSUMING MIGHT BE THE CAUSE…
Several studies have shown that there is a correlation between the consumption of red meat and high blood pressure. In addition to foods containing large amounts of saturated fatty acids, a high consumption of sodium, salt, or cholesterol also has a negative effect on blood pressure. Cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of blood vessels, resulting in a loss of flexibility. Processed animal products, in particular, such as cheese, sausage, other meat products, and ready meals, are often very rich in salt, fat, and cholesterol.
HOW GOING PLANT-BASED CAN LOWER THE RISK OF HYPERTENSION
According to several studies, vegans have lower blood pressure levels compared to people who eat meat. Some studies have shown that a high potassium intake, as found in a balanced plant-based diet, lowers hypertension. Sources of potassium include fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Since potassium also has a physiologically antagonistic effect on sodium, this nutrient improves the function of blood vessels. Magnesium and calcium also have a positive effect on high blood pressure. Both are found in kale, fennel, and spinach.
Rapeseed oil, linseeds, and linseed oil can also reduce blood pressure due to the presence of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid, and as such, has a vasodilating effect (like all unsaturated fatty acids). People who do not consume meat and other animal products usually have a healthy body weight, are physically active, and follow a varied diet high in fruits and vegetables. Plant-based lifestyles are therefore not only suitable for preventing high blood pressure, but also for treating it. Switching to a plant-based diet is a natural way to lower blood pressure. Check out some of our delicious plant-based recipes here to move to a healthier lifestyle!
If you are struggling with high blood pressure and want to cure it, start your plant-based journey now by participating in our #21daychallenge! You don’t have to panic. We are here to support you and guide you through this journey…
Interested in knowing more? To access the full article, please visit Proveg International, Hypertension – eating the right diet to lower high blood pressure