pressure – or Hypertension – should be seen as an indicator, a “risk
factor” for other diseases, but not as one in its own right. This very
fact means that it should not be simply treated in a blanket and uniform
manner, if found to be elevated, but examined in this broader picture.
main reason for this is that treating it without this assessment means a
“symptom” rather than a “disease” is being treated, and, as there are
significant side effects to blood pressure medication, this is an
important first step. Also you may be living in a fool’s paradise, where
treatment lowers the pressure, but not the factors that lead to the
increase in pressure and hence to the resulting disease.
the principle question should be “what is elevating the blood pressure
in the first place?” It may be that there is arterial or vascular
disease, which usually provides a clear pattern on measurement, often
with a wider than usual range between the two levels measured; that is,
the systolic, or higher end, and the diastolic, or lower.
this out of the equation – because it is a vascular disease problem
primarily – then the question is what raises the pressure within the
blood vessels? Without doubt the major factor here is stress, whether
psychological or physiological; that is mind or body.
will examine the issue of psychological stress in detail elsewhere, but
it should not be forgotten that it is probably the major contributor.
So, it is important to look at this first, and this demands a level of
insight and self responsibility with management, rather than relying on
medication to “fix the problem”.
this article the value of a sound diet is appreciating the
physiological stress that can be reduced or eliminated with the right
diet. Why should we be surprised? But don’t forget that it is not
usually a question of either the mind or the body, but both operating in
the problem, because it may be stress that produces the poor diet in
the first place!
How Mediterranean diet lowers blood pressure
Marc Llewellyn ABC
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
typical Mediterranean diet is known to combat high blood pressure, but
now scientists believe they have pinned down the mechanism behind its
on mutant mice, a group of researchers based in the UK and the USA have
linked unsaturated fats (found in food such as olive oil and nuts) and
nitrite and nitrate (found in significant quantities in leafy green
vegetables) to a reduction in blood pressure in rodents.
oil and plant-based foods, together with the occasional serving of fish
and chicken, a low intake of red meat, and moderate consumption of
wine, typically make up the Mediterranean diet.
The research, which is published in the latest edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,investigated
the process by which unsaturated fat combine with nitrite and nitrate
to form nitro fatty acids. It showed that these inhibit the activity of
an enzyme called soluable Epoxide Hydrolase (sEH), which then leads to
the lowering of blood pressure.
blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common circulatory system
problem, affecting around 32 per cent of all Australian adults. It is a
major risk factor for stroke, ischemic heart disease, and other chronic
determine whether the inhibition of sEH was sufficient to lower blood
pressure, Professor Philip Eaton, from Kings College, London, worked
with colleagues to create mutant mice that had underlying high blood
pressure and whose sEH enzyme could not be inhibited by nitro fatty
Blocking the enzyme…
mice were fed unsaturated fats and food rich in nitrite and nitrate,
the enzyme was inhibited in the wild-type mice but not in the mutant
mice. The wild-type mice, showed signs of lowered blood pressure and
heart protection, but the genetically engineered mice did not.
think this work is important because it provides convincing,
molecular-level evidence about how key components of the Mediterranean
diet … can lower blood pressure and so combat hypertension,” says Eaton.
high blood pressure is a broad risk factor for many other diseases,
this may help explain in part the health-benefits associated with the
Drugs could be developed that capitalised further on this natural protective mechanism, he suggests.
controlled trials have previously shown that the Mediterranean diet has
positive effects on blood pressure in humans. Past research has also
shown that it is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and can protect
against Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and various types of cancer. It
can also lower cholesterol and improve rheumatoid arthritis.