Researchers at the University of Delaware recently conducted a study on the relationship between diet and high blood pressure in older adults.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common chronic health condition in which the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers: systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, while diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats.
A normal blood pressure reading is generally considered to be 120/80 mmHg or lower.
When blood pressure is consistently too high, it can put extra strain on the heart and blood vessels, which can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
Hypertension often has no noticeable symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as a “silent killer.”
The researchers studied the diets of 128 participants aged 65-80 years, looking at the consumption of various foods, including meats, vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy, fats, and added sugars.
They found that there was a strong association between the intake of added sugars and high blood pressure in older women, even after controlling for factors like age, income, body mass index, physical activity levels, daily calorie intake, and blood pressure medication use.
The study found that reducing added sugar intake by 2.3 teaspoons per day resulted in an 8.4 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats) and a 3.7 mmHg drop in diastolic blood pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats).
This suggests that reducing sugar intake can be an effective way to lower blood pressure in older women.
The researchers also found that eating more whole fruit was linked to a reduction in diastolic blood pressure in both men and women.
For every 0.71 cup increase in whole fruit consumption, there was a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 2.8 mmHg.
These findings are consistent with previous studies that have linked added sugar consumption to higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.
These conditions all increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The study supports dietary guidelines that recommend limiting added sugar intake and increasing whole fruit consumption to improve heart health in older adults.
Risk factors for high blood pressure include age, genetics, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, smoking, stress, and a diet high in sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars.
By making these dietary changes, people can lower their risk of developing high blood pressure and other serious health conditions.
While there is no cure for high blood pressure, lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, reducing sodium intake, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking can help manage the condition.
In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to help lower blood pressure. It’s important to work with a healthcare provider to manage high blood pressure and reduce the risk of serious health complications.
If you care about blood pressure, please see recent studies that black tea may strongly reduce blood pressure, and results showing these high blood pressure drugs may increase heart failure risk.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about plant nutrients that could help reduce high blood pressure, and results showing that natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.
The research was published in Nutrients and was conducted by Sheau Ching Chai et al.
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