No, we’re not talking about salt.
Nor are we discussing fats.
Alcohol? No again.
There is ONE other ingredient, one whose consumption has sky-rocketed during the last 20 years. And it’s the main cause of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and even many types of cancer.
There was a time when salt and fat were considered to be the biggest enemies of blood pressure. It turns out that sugar is even worse.
Particularly harmful is one type of sugar – fructose (*). Fructose can be found in almost all prepared foods in one way or another.
At the turn of the 20th century, only 5-10% of the population had high blood pressure. Now, approximately 31% of adults do. It turns out that this alarming increase is directly related to a change in diet – a diet that is becoming high in added sugars (especially in the form of high-fructose corn syrup *).
What does fructose do?
It causes insulin levels to rise and keeps them elevated as long as you keep pumping in fructose. This slowly leads to insulin resistance followed by type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
Scary, isn’t it? Yes, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure seem to go hand in hand, and this is one of the main reasons you should be careful about what you eat.
According to a study in 2010, people who consumed 74 grams or more of fructose in a day had a 77% higher risk of having high blood pressure. And an average American consumes about 70 grams of fructose every day. The recommended fructose consumption per day is less than 25 grams per day. Throw in one soda can and you’ll easily exceed your daily recommended limit.
In fact, consuming 24 ounces of a carbonated soft drink has been shown to increase blood pressure, on average, by 15/9 mm Hg. Who did you expect this?
In another study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers reported an interesting find. Compared with those who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugars, those who consumed 10-24.9% had a 30% higher risk of death through heart disease. Those who consumed more than 25%, had an almost threefold increased risk.
The way fructose causes a rise in blood pressure is complicated. It breaks down into many waste products, including uric acid. Uric acid has a nasty habit of inhibiting nitric oxide in blood vessels (*).
How is this bad for your blood pressure?
Nitric oxide keeps the blood vessels relaxed and elastic, and its suppression can reverse the effect and cause blood pressure to shoot up.
WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE?
» A good diet helps, but doesn’t always cure high blood pressure completely or quickly. But 3 exercises can do this without any side effects. Check out these easy blood pressure exercises here…