What is high blood pressure?
Your heart pumps blood around your body. Blood pressure is the force of blood against your blood vessels as it circulates through your body. This force is necessary to make the blood flow, delivering nutrients and oxygen throughout your body. However, high blood pressure, also called hypertension, means there is too much pressure in your blood vessels. This can damage your blood vessels and cause health problems.
Blood Pressure Measurements
- Systolic blood pressure occurs when the heart beats and pumps blood through the blood vessels
- Diastolic blood pressure occurs when the heart relaxes and refills with blood, between heart beats
- If the blood pressure is “135 on 85” the first, higher number is called systolic blood pressure and the second, lower number is called diastolic blood pressure
Probiotics and Blood Pressure
Eating probiotics regularly may modestly improve your blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
Analyzing results of nine high-quality studies examining blood pressure and probiotic consumption in 543 adults with normal and elevated blood pressure, researchers found:
- Probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by an average 2.38 mm Hg, compared to adults who didn’t consume probiotics
- The positive effects from probiotics on diastolic blood pressure were greatest in people whose blood pressure was equal to or greater than 130/85, which is considered elevated
- Consuming probiotics for less than eight weeks didn’t lower systolic or diastolic blood pressure
- Probiotic consumption with a daily bacteria volume of 109-10 12 colony-forming units (CFU) may improve blood pressure. Consumption with less than 109 CFU didn’t lower blood pressure. CFU is the amount of bacteria or the dose of probiotics in a product.
- Probiotics with multiple bacteria lowered blood pressure more than those with a single bacteria.
Healthy eating plays an important role in managing blood pressure. It is important to reduce your salt intake.
Foods naturally contain small amounts of sodium, but most of the sodium in our diet is added during food processing. Canned and packaged foods are often high in sodium because it is added to preserve food. Sodium intake should be no more than 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day. One teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or ‘DASH’ has been shown to help manage and even prevent high blood pressure. The DASH diet can easily be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes. It emphasizes whole grains, vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and is low in saturated and trans fats.
Serving Sizes (1 serving is equivalent to)
|Grains||6-8||1 slice bread1 ounce dry cereal½ cup cooked rice, pasta, cereal|
|Vegetables||4-5||1 cup raw leafy vegetables½ cup cut up raw or cookedvegetables|
|Fruits||4-5||1 medium piece of fruit¼ cup dried fruit½ cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit½ cup fruit juice|
|Fat-free or low fat milk and milk products||2-3||1 cup milk or yogurt1 ½ ounce cheese|
|Meat and alternatives: Lean meats, poultry, and fish, nuts, seeds, and Legumes||6 or less||1 ounce cooked meats, poultry, fish,1 egg1/3 cup nuts2 tbsp peanut butter2 tbsp of seeds½ cup cooked legumes|
|Fats and oils||2-3||1 tsp soft margarine(non-hydrogenated)1 tsp vegetable oil1 tbsp mayonnaise2 tbsp salad dressing|
Things you can do to keep your blood pressure controlled
- Be physically active for 30 to 60 minutes on 4 to 7 days a week. Try walking, biking, swimming, cross country skiing or any other physical activity that you enjoy. Remember that even a little bit of physical activity is better than no activity. Keep active.
- Choose the following more often: vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and lean meat, fish and poultry. Limit fast foods, canned foods or foods that are bought prepared or those that are high in salt and sugar, saturated or trans-fat , such as shortening, palm or coconut oil and lard.
- Eat less sodium (salt). In general the more processed a food is, the higher the sodium content. Try not to add salt to your cooking and remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Limit alcohol. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one or two standards drinks a day, to a weekly maximum of 9 for women and 14 for men.
- Manage your weight. If you are overweight, losing 10 pounds (5kg) will lower your blood pressure. Weight loss strategies should be long-term and employ a multidisciplinary approach that includes dietary education, increased physical activity, and behavioural intervention. Target: body mass index (BMI) 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 , waist circumference <102 cm [40″] for men and <88 cm [35″] for women.
- Do not smoke. Smoking increases the risk of developing heart problems and other diseases. Living and working in places that are smoke-free are also important. If you smoke, a variety of treatments can help you stop. Stopping smoking reduces your risk of dying.
- Reduce stress. Taking steps to reduce your stress can help improve your general health, including your blood pressure.