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American Heart Month: BLOOD PRESSURE, Proteins, & Sweets


PROTEIN

Studies show that red meats may contribute to heart disease, and that you should consider limiting or restricting consumption of processed and red meats:




“Eating more meat – especially red meat and processed meat – was associated with a higher risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The risk was 22% higher for about every daily serving” -American Heart Association News (1)








As far as protein consumption goes otherwise, the NIH (National Library of Medicine), recommends choosing "modest amounts of protein (no more than 18% of total daily calories). Fish, skinless poultry, and soy products are the best protein sources” (2)


LIMITING SWEETS & HIGH SUGAR BEVERAGES (including fruit juices)

In an article I recently read, “High Blood Pressure: Sugar vs. Salt” (3), Julia Knox takes a unique view on the impact of sugar on blood pressure.


Upon reviewing several scholarly articles, the claim is that sugar intake can lead to Nitric Oxide (which maintains vessel flexibility), as well increase salt sensitivity both increasing blood pressure.









My thoughts- there are a lot of negative effects to consuming foods with excess & added sugars, including but not limited to, higher caloric intake, lower nutritional value, weight gain, unhealthy blood sugar levels, etc.


Regardless if sugars directly have an impact on your blood pressure, if I have high blood pressure, I would want to limit excess consumption of sugars simply to avoid other health conditions, &particularly metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of five conditions that can lead to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other health problems. Up to 1/3 of U.S. adults have metabolic syndrome, which is when someone has at least 3 of the following conditions: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, low HDL, or high triglyceride levels (4).


ACTION:

  • Consider reducing or restricting red meat consumption & keep your protein intake to around 18% of your daily calories

  • Avoid excess sugars, sugary drinks & juices, and processed foods


REFERENCES:
1. American Heart Association News. “Chemicals produced in the gut after eating red meat may contribute to heart disease risk”. Heart.org. Aug 01, 2022. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2022/08/01/chemicals-produced-in-the-gut-after-eating-red-meat-may-contribute-to-heart-disease-risk

2. Medline Plus. “High blood pressure and diet”. Medlineplus.gov. 1997-2023. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007483.htm

3. Knox, Julia. “Sugar Intake Impacts Blood Pressure”. Very Well Health. Jun 20, 2021. https://www.verywellhealth.com/sugar-and-hypertension-5117022

4. Mayo Clinic. "Metabolic Syndrom". Mayoclinic.org. 1998-2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351916


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