Delicious Way To Balance Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, called hypertension, is one of the most common health problems among men. Even conservative estimates show that more than half of men over age 60 have clinical hypertension. But experts say that most men who don’t qualify as having clinical hypertension are still way above safe levels of blood pressure. And that spells bad news because hypertension is damaging to health. And eventually, it can lead to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among men.
Conventional advice includes restricting dietary salt as a way to reduce high blood pressure. However, as I’ve explained in previous articles, for most men that’s not very good advice. The reason is that eating less than a modest 3 grams of salt per day is actually linked with health problems and increased mortality. Instead, in previous articles I’ve outlined some proven, healthy ways to naturally and safely reduce high blood pressure. For example, increasing potassium intake (fruits and vegetables) and stress reduction are far better solutions.
Of course, just increasing potassium and reducing stress aren’t the only proven, sensible strategies for treating hypertension. And in today’s article I’m going to share with you yet another proven way you can naturally reduce hypertension. The solution may surprise you because it turns out that the humble and delectable olive holds the secret. Studies have shown that olives are capable of producing dramatic improvements in blood pressure.
The Incredible Power Of Olives
For a long time researchers have known that Mediterranean people enjoyed particularly good health. But they weren’t sure why. Was it the sunshine? A positive social environment? While there are undoubtedly many factors at play, in recent decades scientists have discovered that one of the significant factors is olives.
In one incredible study researchers found that olive oil was able to lower blood pressure in hypertensive participants in just 6 months. And the effects were so great that those people were able to stop taking medications.
Here’s what the researchers did. They had two groups of people with hypertension. Both groups were given identical dietary guidelines except that one group ate olive oil while the other group ate sunflower seed oil. After 6 months the participants in the olive oil group had normalized their blood pressure while the sunflower seed oil group had not.
Then, just for good measure, the researchers had the groups switch. The first group started eating sunflower seed oil instead of olive oil while the second group started eating olive oil instead of sunflower seed oil. And after 6 months the second group, now eating olive oil, had normalized their blood pressure as well.
Something about the olive oil clearly has powerful effects when it comes to reducing high blood pressure.
One major benefit of olive oil over sunflower seed oil is that olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats. Sunflower seed oil, on the other hand, is high in polyunsaturated fats and low in monounsaturated fats. As I’ve described in previous articles, polyunsaturated fats, particularly from seed oils, can cause health problems, including inflammation and increases in blood pressure. But monounsaturated fats such as found in olive oil, have anti-inflammatory effects and normalize blood pressure.
But it’s not just the monounsaturated fats that give olive oil its benefits. There’s also a substance found in olive oil called oleuropein. Research into oleuropein has shown that it is powerfully antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. So oleuropein is another important reason why olive oil is so beneficial for hypertension.
More Heart Benefits
Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. So when you reduce high blood pressure naturally, you are benefitting your heart. But it turns out that olive oil benefits your heart in other ways as well.
Oleuropein - that special substance found in olive oil - isn’t just antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is also proven to improve blood vessel health. And as a result, it also can lower elevated cholesterol levels naturally. Oleuropein also protects cholesterol from oxidation, which means that it keeps cholesterol healthy. Plus it can reduce high blood triglycerides and free fatty acids - both of which are risk factors for heart disease. And finally, it can normalize blood sugar, and since high blood sugar is another risk factor for heart disease, that’s just one more way olives can protect your heart.
As you can see, a lot of the major health benefits of olives are attributed to oleuropein. So to maximize your benefits, you want to eat olives in the form that includes the highest levels of oleuropein.
Unfortunately, most olive products contain extremely low levels of oleuropein. That’s because oleuropein is somewhat bitter, and so it is intentionally removed through the brining process of most commercially available olives. And it is filtered out during the refining process of most olive oils.
The good news is that the very best, most delicious, healthiest olive oils contain high levels of health-promoting oleuropein. Those oils are called extra virgin. They are made from the first press of olives, and they are unfiltered and unrefined. You can find extra virgin olive oil in any supermarket or food store, and it is the only olive oil you should buy.
If you have high blood pressure or simply to maintain healthy blood pressure, include olive oil in your diet in place of other oils. Natural fats such as butter contain healthy levels of monounsaturated fat as well, and they are just fine. But use olive oil in place of so-called “vegetable” oils such as soy, corn, or canola since those oils contain harmful polyunsaturated fats.
Eating modest amounts of olive oil on a regular basis can improve your dietary fat intake. But to really get the most benefits, be sure to use only extra virgin olive oil. And be sure to purchase olive oil only from reputable producers who list extra virgin olive oil as the only ingredient. That will ensure that you are eating a quality olive oil that contains plenty of health-promoting oleuropein.