Did you know that what you eat can have a major effect on your blood pressure?
We’ve all been told that high intake of salt and sodium can raise blood pressure, but it doesn’t stop there. New findings indicate that sugar, in different forms, may also be a prime cause for blood pressure issues.
Recent research has indicated that eating too many sweets – or drinking too much soda – may push your blood pressure readings into the danger zone. The study suggests that people who take in a lot of “high-fructose corn syrup” are more likely to have hypertension.
For instance, drinking 2 or more cans of regular soda per day – or taking in the equivalent amount of fructose from other sources – increases risk by at least 30 percent. Plus, the effect appears to be independent of other dietary habits.
Dietary Sugar, Blood sugar, and Insulin
If you have high blood pressure, it’s likely you also have unstable blood sugar levels and are insulin resistant. As your insulin rises, so does your blood pressure, since the two conditions frequently go hand in hand.
The study referenced suggests that a diet high in sugar, and possibly grain products, is implicated as one of the causes of hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. This is because the excess dietary fructose has disastrous effects on your insulin levels, and causes high blood sugar levels for adults
When your blood sugar is too high, extra insulin is released into your bloodstream to counteract it. But, high insulin levels are disastrous for your cells. To protect themselves, your cells become resistant to insulin.
Insulin Resistance, Magnesium, and Sodium
Insulin resistant cells are not able to store magnesium, and it will be excreted in your urine.
Low magnesium levels cause your blood vessels to constrict instead of relaxing, thereby raising blood pressure. Your energy levels will also decrease, which is not good in any situation.
Excess insulin (caused by too high blood sugar levels) can also affect your blood pressure by promoting sodium retention in your body. This then causes fluid retention, which in turn causes high blood pressure. Eventually, fluid retention can even lead to congestive heart failure.
What to Do About It
If your high blood pressure is the result of out-of-control blood sugar level, then fixing your blood sugar levels should reduce your hypertension into the healthy range. Be sure to track your progress by using blood pressure chart to evaluate results.
Obviously, the first thought is to cut out soft drinks, and foods containing a lot of sugar – especially high fructose corn syrup. Adding fiber to the diet is helpful too, as it slows down the digestion of sugars and other carbohydrates. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels – and hypertension – under control.
Other common suggestions like getting regular exercise, eating less salt (sodium), eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and lowering fat intake should be followed as well. Bonus – if you happen to have an issue with obesity, all these suggestions should help you lose a few extra pounds.