Hypertension: This is the best diet of all if you have high blood pressure

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Elia Tabuenca García
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A plant-based, "planted-based" diet can prevent hypertension and preeclampsia in pregnancy, according to two new studies

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Those with a tendency to hypertension should know that changing their diet could have beneficial effects. In fact, two new studies suggest that a plant-based diet may help protect against high blood pressure.





This is nothing new now: following a mainly plant-based diet can be the key to warding off some chronic diseases and living longer. Now two new research suggests that switching to a planted-based diet may be beneficial, even for pregnant women, in preventing hypertension.

Leading the studies were scientists from the Medical College of Georgia (part of Augusta University Medical Center) and the Medical College of Wisconsin who recently published their results in the Acta Physiologica and Pregnancy Hypertension journals.

The intestinal microbiota plays a key role in regulating the response of our immune system as well as in the correct absorption of nutrients. The microorganisms present in the intestine also help to produce serotonin and therefore, if in balance, have a positive effect on mood. 

The "good" intestinal flora thrives on both probiotics and prebiotics found in many plant foods. And it would be a modification to our daily diet that could help improve the gut microbiota and protect against hypertension, even when the consumption of salt in the diet is high. 

The discovery was made on an animal model and found that rodents who ate a cereal-based diet rather than a milk-based protein diet developed significantly lower blood pressure.

This has led researchers to believe that the development of hypertension is not just about sodium consumption, but also about daily food choices.

As Dr. David L. Mattson, senior author of the study stated:

The animal protein amplified the effects of the salt. Since the gut microbiota has been implicated in chronic diseases such as hypertension, we hypothesized that dietary alterations shift the microbiota to mediate the development of salt-sensitive hypertension and kidney disease.



In addition, when the rodents gave birth (and hence the second study), another beneficial effect of the plant-based diet was seen: it protected against preeclampsia (or gestosis), a condition that some pregnant women develop, which involves high blood pressure and can lead to serious complications to both mother and baby. 

This means that if mom is careful about what she eats it will help during pregnancy but also her long-term health and could provide protective effects for her children, concluded Dr. John Henry Dasinger, another of the authors.

In conclusion, these researches, certainly to be deepened and confirmed with human studies, suggest that following a mainly plant-based diet before and during pregnancy can help reduce a mother's chances of developing preeclampsia. 

Of course, anyone can benefit from adding more plant foods to their diet as well as cutting down on processed, salt-rich foods.

Fonte: Augusta University / Acta Physiologica/ Pregnancy Hypertension

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