Olive Oil and Its Extra Benefits for BP Control
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels. High blood pressure or hypertension is a lifestyle condition when your blood pressure levels cross 140/90mm Hg. When this pressure is constantly high, it can damage the walls of the blood vessels and precipitate cardiac conditions like heart attack, stroke, etc. Symptoms of high blood pressure are not very evident, especially in the early stages.
For this reason, most people are diagnosed with high blood pressure only in the advanced stages. This is why hypertension is called the ‘silent killer.’ Hypertension is widely prevalent in all corners of the world, and the numbers are only rising. According to a WHO estimate, the number of hypertensive adults will increase from 1 billion to 1.5 billion globally by 2025.
Common Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Despite showing no signs in its early stages, some symptoms that you may experience if you have high blood pressure are:
- Severe headache
- Pain in the chest
- Pounding in the chest
- Irregular heartbeat
- Vision problems
- Breathing difficulty
- Pounding in the chest, neck area
- Blood in the urine
To keep your blood pressure levels under control always, you must visit your physician for routine medical checkups, follow a healthy lifestyle and work out regularly.
Olive Oil For BP Control
A significant part of a healthy lifestyle is eating healthy. To reduce hypertension and keep your heart healthy, you must limit your sodium intake and eat less saturated and trans fats, red meat, sweets, and sweetened beverages. At the same time, you must also increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and some healthy vegetable oils.
If you are looking to reduce your blood pressure levels with diet, replace your regular cooking oil with olive oil or an extra virgin version. Wondering why?
That’s because olive oil:
- Is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids
- Contains large amounts of antioxidants that have protective effects on different body tissues and organs
- Is rich in nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties
- Reduces risk of stroke
- Lowers LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and, therefore, offers cardioprotective properties
- Benefits those looking to lose weight or prevent weight gain
- Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Contains antioxidants that have anti-cancer properties.
All the benefits mentioned above of olive oil directly correlate with blood pressure levels and heart health. It is relatively evident that olive oil suits a hypertensive diet and helps keep your blood pressure levels within the normal range. Existing studies suggest
- Hypertensive patients who replaced their regular cooking oil and other types of fats in their diet with extra-virgin olive oil were found to need a reduced amount of blood pressure medication.
- According to another study, researchers suggest that the antioxidant polyphenols in extra-virgin olive oil have blood pressure-lowering properties in hypertensive patients.
Though these studies exist, the amount of research is still limited.
Mediterranean Diet Benefits for Lowering Blood Pressure
While we can use olive oil in our daily cooking for its blood pressure-lowering properties, one popular diet that uses this oil quite frequently is the Mediterranean diet. If you are hypertensive and wish to keep your blood pressure numbers within the normal range, here’s what you need to know about the Mediterranean diet and its benefits for you!
Mediterranean diet or the ‘MedDiet’ is increasingly becoming popular. The main components of a MedDiet are:
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains
- Fish and seafood
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Red wine, and
- Consuming red and processed meat and dairy foods in moderate amounts.
We know that these food groups are great for hypertensive patients and help keep your levels within the normal range. So, a Mediterranean diet is extremely favorable and recommended for hypertensive patients. Not just hypertensive patients, but a MedDiet is also great for protecting you against cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, and even cancer.
Thinking of a diet to manage hypertension? Another popular diet that comes to mind is the DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. This low sodium diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet and recommends the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
However, the Mediterranean diet has the added advantage of olive oil that reduces blood pressure and reduces the dependence on antihypertensive medications. So, if you are a hypertensive patient, are at high risk of developing the condition due to other factors, or wish to keep your blood pressure levels within the normal range, it may be a great idea to replace your existing cooking oil and other cooking fats with olive oil.
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Note of Caution: This article is for information purposes only. Always consult your doctor in case of any blood pressure or other health-related problems.