DIET AND FITNESS:

Want to Lower Your Blood
Pressure? ---Just Cut Down on
Protein

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January 21, 2018

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist




Ever since I lost my grandparents to early heart disease, I
have been on a quest to find out what I can do to lower my
own risk for an early exit. That search has led me through
hundreds, no thousands of studies, to one suspect -- high
blood pressure. If disease is a crime family, then high blood
pressure is the Godfather. High blood pressure is the Number
One cause of the most chronic diseases in the world,
according to the World Health Organization. Let that sink in.



All major roads of disease lead to or through high blood
pressure. Your blood pressure reading is given as two
numbers, with the top number being your systolic blood
pressure and the bottom number is your diastolic blood
pressure. Heart disease risk doubles (a 100% increase)] for
every 20 points of systolic blood pressure above normal.
Your risk of heart disease doubles with every 10 points over
70. That means that if you have blood pressure of 140/80,
twenty points over the 120/70 considered normal, then your
risk of having heart disease is 100% higher than a person
with normal blood pressure.  



We in America suffer from chronically high blood pressure.
According to the latest figures from the American Heart
Association, a full 29% of us over the age of 20 have
hypertension.  A full 46% of us have untreated hypertension
or hypertension that is out of control.

For people between the ages of 45 and 54, 37.1% of men
and 35.2% of women have hypertension. For people over the
age of 55, 54% of men and 53.3% of women have high
blood pressure.

But there are two type of people with consistently low blood
pressure nulbers. The first type are loong distance runners.
And teh second type may surprise you --- vegans or people
who eat low levels of protein.

I had long known that people who pound out the miles
running have great, consistently low blood pressure
numbers. But the news from studies that vegans and low-
protein eaters may come as a surprise.



Vegans Who Do Not Exercise Have Lower Blood Pressure
Than Marathoners


































In an eye-opening study conducted by researchers at
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis,
scientists set out to compare the blood pressure levels of
three sets of people.

The first set were 21 vegans. The second set were 21 long
distance runners with the same body mass index as the
vegans so weight wasn't a factor. The third set were 21
people who ate the "Western" diet most of us follows, with
plenty of meat, carbohydrates, oil and the rest.



The vegans had been following a vegan or low protein raw
diet for an average of 4.4 years and were on average age 53
years old.



Overall, as you might expect,  all of the measures of heart
disease risk were lower in the vegans and the marathoners
than in those following a Western diet. These markers
included lipids, lipoproteins, glucose, insulin, C-reactive
protein ( a measure of
internal inflammation), blood pressure
, and carotid artery intima-media thickness all were lower.

But, for me, the most astonishing finding was that vegans
who are sedentary have lower blood pressure levels than
long distance runners. The long distance runners had average
systolic blood pressure of 122 (plus or minus 13, which
means the lowest reading was 109 and the highest was
135).  In contrast, the vegans had an average systolic blood
pressure reading of 104 (plus or minus 15, which means it
ranged from 89 to 119).


T
he diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure levels were
also lower for vegans. Their diastolic pressure was 62 (plus
or minus 11, meaning it ranged from 51 to 73). This
compared to 72 (plus or minus 9, so it ranged from 63 to 81)
among the long distance runners and 79 (plus or minus 8,, so
it ranged from 70 to 87) for those following the Western diet.



Your Choice - Run 48 Miles per Week or Eat a Plant Based Diet


The strategy for lowering your blood pressure that doctors
traditionally have prescribed is weight loss and exercise. That
still works. But you have to lose a lot of weight and exercise a
lot to reach the great numbers of the vegan group. The long
distance runners logged an average of 48 miles a week.
That's running almost 7 miles a day.

I don't know about you but logging 7 miles a day running is
way outside my realistic abilities. My knees couldn't take it.

But eating more plants -- I can handle that.


One way to eat more plants and less protein is to cut out
protein from your breakfast. Instead of eggs, bacon,
sausage, cheese, I have started eating an apple and a side of
nuts.

I add a bowl of oatmeal if I'm really hungry.


I try to eat protein during the middle of the day, at lunch,
when I'm more likely to burn it off just moving around doing
errands.

For dinner, I keep it simple with vegetable soup.



So far, I am seeing some improvement in my blood pressure
numbers, trending down to 120/79. I still have work to do to
reach the amazing numbers clocked by the vegans. But going
whole vegan is, well, a little too much for me.

I am also not a raw plant eater. I often cook my vegetables in
a little olive oil.


The 30-Day Challenge ---Study Has Found That Only 30 Days
of a Plant-Based Diet Changes Your Health


In 2013, a group of scientists from Australia looked at how
30 days of plant-based eating could change the health of
people already diagnosed with hypertension.

The study, led by Avondale College of Higher Education and
Medical Nutrition Therapy Northwest in Oregon, examined
5,046 men and women who were on average age of 57 years
old.

What the participants had in common was that they suffered
from  "metabolic syndrome". You're deemed to have
Metabolic Syndrome if you have three or more of the
following conditions; diabetes, hypertension, having large
waist line, being overweight, having high total cholesterol,
high LDL or low HDL or high blood sugar levels.  


The participants were encouraged to make these changes for
30 days on their own to do the following:


  • move towards a low-fat, plant-based diet, emphasizing
    whole-food grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

  • limit the amount of fat in their diets to less than 20% of
    calories be derived from fat.

  • drink  2-2.5 litres of water daily. Two liters are about
    sixteen 8-ounce glasses

  • limit their daily intake of added sugar to 40 grams

  • limit sodium to 2000 mg ( a teasopoon is about 2400
    mg, so they are lilited to three-quarters of a teaspoon)

  • limit cholesterol to 50 mg.

  • engage in 30 minutes of daily moderate-intensity
    physical activity and practice stress management
    techniques.


At the end of 30 days, the participants health measurements
had all improved dramatically.  Body mass index fell

(-3.2%), systolic blood pressure dropped (-5.2%), diastolic
blood pressure dropped  (-5.2%), triglycerides dropped (
-7.7%), fasting glucose levels dropped (-6.3%), LDL
cholesterol dropped (-13.0%), total cholesterol dropped (TC,
-11.1%). The only marker that did not improve was high
density lipoprotein (HDL). Well, improvement of 7 out of 8
health factors is not bad.



When you think about the turnaround in your health that can
be achieved in just 30 days, it's nothing less than astounding.



The results are impressive enough that many doctors now
consider recommending a plant-based diet as the first line of
treatment for hypertension.


























































You're just getting started. Learn more about the relationship
between your diet and your risk for other diseases and
conditions:
Read more recipes from this author /Beets Lower
Blood Pressure-But There's a Big Catch/ Healing Foods Links
/
How Much Is Too Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease
Connection / Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your Health? / Ideal
Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing
Foods Links /  Foods That Shrink Your Waist / Foods That
Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That
Reduce Blood Pressure


DIETS AND FITNESS


HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH
SALT

HOW MUCH SALT IS IN MY
FOOD

SALT CONTENT OF COMMON
FOODS

150,000 DIE FROM EXCESS
SALT

I HAVE HIGH BLOOD
PRESSURE!

FOODS THAT LOWER YOUR
BLOOD PRESSURE

QUINOA-THE NEW
SUPERFOOD

INFLAMMATION INSIDE
THE BODY

FAT--IT'S ALIVE!

WHY WE GO SOFT IN THE
MIDDLE

WHY EUROPEANS ARE
THINNER

>VEGETARIAN RECIPES


MY HEART ATTACK

CANCER SURVIVORS


MONEY AND BUDGET

RESOURCES

AMERICAN HEART
ASSOCIATION

LINKS AND RESOURCES



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A plant-based diet lowers blood pressure
even more than running 7 miles a day
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