Hypertension has no obvious symptoms, but it is likely to cause severe chronic diseases such as heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, diabetes, or kidney disease. High blood pressure is related to a diet rich in salt, oil and calories. There is a 7-day dietary intervention that may be effective in improving blood pressure.
According to the WHO, more than 1 billion people worldwide, more than one in four men and one in five women, have high blood pressure. The number of people aged 30 to 79 with hypertension has increased from 650 million to 1.28 billion over the past 30 years.
A blood pressure lowering diet has been dubbed the DASH diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Some call it the healthiest diet because it is also good for controlling blood sugar, managing weight, and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is often recommended for two-week periods to regulate a patient’s blood pressure.
The diet is generally low in sodium and high in magnesium, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids and high quality proteins. The intake of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol in fat is reduced, foods rich in sugars, alcohol and red meat are completely avoided.
However, a vegan, low-fat, high-fiber, and cholesterol-free diet has been shown to lower patients’ blood pressure in just one week.
Dr. John A. McDougall presented his research on dietary intervention in 2014 with more than 1,600 participants; their “systolic blood pressure decreased by a median (IQR) of 8 (18) mm Hg (p <.001), diastolic blood pressure by a median (IQR) of 4 (10) mm Hg (p <.001) ) and blood glucose of a median (IQR) of 3 (11) mg / dL (p <.001). "
“Medicines for hypertension and diabetes were reduced or discontinued at baseline to reduce the risk of hypotension and hypoglycemia. The cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) were continued throughout the program for people taking this class of drugs upon entry into the program. “
“This study documents that a low-fat (≤10% of calories), high-fiber, high-carbohydrate (~ 80% of calories) vegan diet allows overweight patients to lose weight even if they eat enough food to feel completely satisfied, ad libitum. After following such a diet for 7 days, participants lost an average of 1.4 kg (3 pounds) and experienced significant improvements in blood pressure, blood lipids and blood glucose. ”
“For patients whose risk of a cardiovascular event within 10 years was> 7.5% at baseline, the risk fell to 5.5% (> 27%) at day 7 (p <.001) "according to the article published in Nutrition Magazine.
Are vegans healthier?
Dysautonomia expert Dr. Wei-Hwa Chen explained that vegans generally have lower rates of hypertension.
“AND because a plant-based diet contains more potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, phytochemicals, and unsaturated fatty acids, “said Dr. Chen.” These are all good cardiovascular nutrients. Plus, plant-based foods are cholesterol-free and poor. of saturated fat “.
By switching to this diet, people are getting more essential nutrients that they might otherwise avoid in their normal diets. The typical American diet, as well as other environmental factors, has left most Americans deficient in many nutrients.
“Potassium allows the body to excrete excess sodium and helps regulate blood pressure. Magnesium helps maintain the elasticity of the blood vessel walls and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (accumulation of fat on the artery walls), ”said Dr. Chen.
“Dietary fiber improves the state of intestinal bacteria, absorbs cholesterol and expels it from the body. The anti-inflammatory effect of phytochemicals can protect blood vessels, prevent arteriosclerosis and promote blood circulation.
“Unsaturated fatty acids can be divided into monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats; both help reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body, “said Dr. Chen.” So plant-based diets help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, because the gut microbiota tends not to produce toxic metabolites compared to a meaty diet. “.
TMAO and the microbiome
A 2013 she studies from the Cleveland Clinic found that TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide), a heart-damaging metabolite, is produced by the liver after gut bacteria digest L-carnitine (found in red meat) and lecithin (found in egg yolks, in meats and whole dairy products).
Dr. Chen explained that TMAO disrupts cholesterol metabolism, causing excess cholesterol in the blood, which builds up in the arterial walls and leads to atherosclerotic vascular lesions, which in turn will increase blood pressure and worsen atherosclerosis.
Lecithin and L-carnitine are both essential nutrients found in both meat and vegetables.
However, the gut microflora will produce more TMAO when the diet is high in meat, especially red meat. Heavy meat eaters are also more prone to cardiovascular disease. In contrast, vegetarians had a protective gut microbiome that barely produced TMAO.
Dr. Chen pointed out that for people who are unable to be persistent on a vegan diet, they might start with a DASH diet, which emphasizes soy products, which are better than fish, seafood, eggs, and White meat; red meat should be avoided as much as possible. However, it is not recommended that meat eaters take supplements rich in L-carnitine and lecithin without doctor’s supervision, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.