A team of University of California researchers has found that increases in free radicals found in the diet and the atmosphere reduce can cause high blood pressure. The research suggests that multiple antioxidants in the diet, including vitamins E and C, may help prevent and treat certain types of high blood pressure. Dr. Nostratola Vaziri and his team found that rats whose food contained ingredients that caused "oxidative stress," a chemical imbalance linked to heart disease, had higher blood pressure than did rats with normal food. In addition, the antioxidant vitamins E and C together helped to reduce blood pressure and reverse oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, inflammation, Alzheimer's disease, and a host of other disorders. It is caused by the production of free radicals, which damage DNA and alter the structure of key proteins. While antioxidants helped to bring back blood pressure levels close to normal, they did not fully restore blood pressure, indicating that these vitamins play a partial role in blood pressure regulation.
A recent large study in humans (D.A.S.H. or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) showed that people with mild hypertension who ate a low fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and a few servings of low fat dairy products achieved a reduction in blood pressure similar to that obtained by drug treatment. More reason than ever to reach for 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day!
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.