According to experts, high blood pressure may be a choice, not an unavoidable part of aging. According to Dr. Michael Greger, M.D., in NutritionFacts.org, for the first 90% of our evolution on earth humans ate less than a quarter teaspoon of salt daily. When salt was introduced to preserve foods, blood pressures soared, leaving us with the current blood pressure epidemic.
Over 70 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure and a further 30% have prehypertension, making this condition extremely crucial to control. However, sometimes prescription drugs used to control hypertension can have potentially dangerous side effects. And with the recent recall of several blood pressure-lowering medications due to potential cancer contamination, it's more important than ever to try natural ways to keep blood pressure under control.
Greger profiles the Yanomamo people of the Amazon rain forest, who have the lowest salt intake reported in the world. Unlike our culture, where blood pressure rises with age, these folks start with a blood pressure of 100 over 60 and that's where they end up in their senior years.
"Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke," asserts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Together, heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other cause."
Besides drastically cutting back on sodium, researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, studied 4,500 people for 13 years who followed the DASH diet religiously and found that other foods can trigger high blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and recommendations include eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and fish.
The researchers found that cutting out salt was one of the things that slashed the risk of heart failure and stroke by half for the people on the DASH diet.
They also discovered that the elimination of five other food products did the same thing, so consider these the five most dangerous foods to avoid:
- Red meat
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Alcoholic beverages
- Full Cream
Greger believes that by simply lowering our intake of sodium we can eliminate hypertension as we age and eliminate this major health problem that kills 400,000 Americans each year.
"I agree 100% with Dr. Greger on this," Dr. Joel Fuhrman M.D., author of "The End of Heart Disease," tells Newsmax. "I have been putting my patients on a zero-added salt, plant-based diet for 30 years. At my retreat in San Diego, I have people come to get well and they all come off their blood pressure medications as it normalizes. Some have been told they need angioplasty and bypass surgery and can, in a relatively short period of time, diffuse the need for those interventions. People should know that they can protect themselves with nutritional excellence."
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