Venezuelan Lifestyle

Diet, Not Age, Makes Your Blood Pressure Go Up

In All Health Watch, Blood Pressure, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article, Heart and Cardiovascular

The conventional wisdom among mainstream doctors is that blood pressure inevitably increases with age.

But a new Johns Hopkins University study shows that’s not true.

It looked at two remote tribes in the Venezuelan rainforest. Scientists studied their diets and took their blood pressure.

They couldn’t believe the readings…

The research was published in JAMA Cardiology. It included 72 Yanomami and 83 Yekwana people.1

The two groups are genetically similar. But the Yanomami are among the most isolated people in the world. They are hunter-gatherers who eat a completely natural diet of rainforest plants and game.

The Yekwana are also quite isolated. But they live near an airstrip. It allows regular delivery of Western food. The food includes canned and packaged items that are processed and high in sodium.

The study looked at what happened to blood pressure in the two tribes as they got older.

As the Yanomami aged from babies to seniors, their blood pressure stayed the same. But the Yekwana’s blood pressure went up. Their systolic (the upper number) readings rose an average of 16 points between childhood and age 50.

The study authors say the data shows that diet, not aging, is what causes blood pressure to rise as people get older.

Dr. Noel Mueller is assistant professor of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. He is a co-author of the study.

“The idea that rising blood pressure is a result of aging is a widely held belief in cardiology,” he said. “But our findings add to evidence that rising blood pressure may be an avoidable consequence of Western diet and lifestyle rather than aging itself.”2

The average blood pressure of adult Yanomami, the tribe that eats only natural foods, is 95/63. The average adult American’s reading is 122/71.

4 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

The obvious take-home message is that you should avoid processed foods to keep your blood pressure at healthy levels. Here are five other natural ways to avoid hypertension…

  1. Eat dark chocolate. Science has found that dark chocolate improves blood pressure and other markers of heart health. Eat the kind that’s at least 70% cacao.3>
  2. Lose a few pounds. Dropping just 5% of your weight will lower your blood pressure. So if you weigh 200 pounds, for instance, losing just 10 will bring your numbers down significantly.4
  3. Increase your potassium intake. Most people get too much sodium in their diets and not enough potassium. That imbalance wreaks havoc on blood pressure. Boost your potassium by eating vegetables such as tomatoes, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes. Other good sources are dairy, tuna, nuts, and fruit such as bananas, avocados, melons, and oranges.5
  4. Meditate. Meditating is a great way to relax, and relaxation lowers blood pressure. One simple technique is called mindfulness meditation. Learn how to do it here.

Editor’s Note: There are five common heart attack triggers… And you probably did three of them before lunch. Find out what they are HERE.

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