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Add This One Nutrient To Your Diet & Control Your Blood Pressure Levels Naturally

posted on 8/12/2016 Facebook Facebook

Hypertension is most often the hidden offender which damages your system for years before symptoms develop. One in three Indian adults has high blood pressure and approximately one-third of our population is expected to suffer from it by the year 2020. High blood pressure, if left untreated can have disastrous effects on your health especially your heart. Fortunately, by adopting healthy lifestyle changes you can control your high blood pressure to reduce your risk of life-threatening complications. 

Is Blood Pressure In Your Genes?
Your blood pressure is a result of constant interactions between your genes and environment. Several genetic variants found in the body’s salt and fluid regulating system (called the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system or RAS) influence blood pressure and can cause salt-sensitivity.

1. A variant in the ACE gene causes increased activity of RAS, which leads to increase in blood pressure levels when more sodium is present in the blood.

2. A variant in the AGT gene leads to greater production of angiotensin II, a hormone that increases sodium retention in the blood and sodium reabsorption in the kidney. This causes an increase in blood volume and ultimately higher blood pressure.

3. Variants in the NOS3 gene are also associated with salt sensitivity.

Potassium To Control High Blood Pressure
A healthy meal incorporating the right amount of essential fats, proteins, vitamins and other nutrients has been studied to play a role in regulating rising blood pressure levels. According to research, modest dietary change has a greater impact on lowering blood pressure than any other lifestyle factor including exercise, relaxation techniques, alcohol reduction and reduction of sodium intake alone. People suffering from high blood pressure are often advised to cut down the level of salt (sodium) from their diet, since it is known to increase blood pressure levels.

But, did you know that potassium counterbalances the blood pressure-increasing effects of sodium in the body? Eating more potassium-rich foods while limiting sodium is more effective than sodium reduction alone when it comes to preventing hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases. People who are genetically pre-disposed to salt sensitivity can benefit from a high-potassium and low- sodium diet.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for potassium is 4,700 mg a day. Unfortunately many amongst us do not get nearly enough. The best sources of potassium in the diet include:
  • Tomatoes 
  • Beans
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Potatoes 
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms
  • Bananas

Apart from a healthy diet rich in potassium, people with high blood pressure also need to pay critical attention to their intake of unhealthy junk food. Foods rich in saturated fats, processed foods containing high quantities of salt, artificial coloring and other food preservatives should also be avoided by hypertension patients. Daily exercise is also found to have a profound impact in managing blood pressure levels as well as protecting against cardiovascular diseases. 

References:
1.Padmanabhan S, Newton-Cheh C, Dominiczak AF. Genetic basis of blood pressure and hypertension. Trends Genet. 2012 Aug;28(8):397-408. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 May 21. Review. PubMed PMID: 22622230.
2.Hirawa N, Fujiwara A, Umemura S. ATP2B1 and blood pressure: from associations  to pathophysiology. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2013 Mar;22(2):177-84. doi: 10.1097/MNH.0b013e32835da4ca. Review. PubMed PMID: 23324996.
3.van Rijn MJ, Schut AF, Aulchenko YS, Deinum J, Sayed-Tabatabaei FA, Yazdanpanah M, Isaacs A, Axenovich TI, Zorkoltseva IV, Zillikens MC, Pols HA, Witteman JC, Oostra BA, van Duijn CM. Heritability of blood pressure traits and the genetic contribution to blood pressure variance explained by four blood-pressure-related genes. J Hypertens. 2007 Mar;25(3):565-70. PubMed PMID: 17278972.
4.Haddy FJ, Vanhoutte PM, Feletou M. Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006 Mar;290(3):R546-52. Review. PubMed PMID: 16467502.
5.Krishna GG. Effect of potassium intake on blood pressure. J Am Soc Nephrol.1990 Jul;1(1):43-52. Review. PubMed PMID: 2104250.
6.Whelton PK, He J. Potassium in preventing and treating high blood pressure.Semin Nephrol. 1999 Sep;19(5):494-9. PubMed PMID: 10511389.
7.Perez V, Chang ET. Sodium-to-potassium ratio and blood pressure, hypertension,and related factors. Adv Nutr. 2014 Nov 14;5(6):712-41. doi: 10.3945/an.114.006783. Print 2014 Nov. Review. PubMed PMID: 25398734; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4224208.

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