But - apart from chronic medications, what other preventative measures can we take to reduce the likelihood or severity of high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and other causes?
The polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) are the answer you're looking for. While these will not prevent or cure hypertension, they can certainly assist in reducing it. Extra virgin olive oils themselves don't contain these health benefits, but rather, they contain phenolic components within them. That's why is so important to purchase EVOOs that are high in polyphenols, otherwise, you are simply using olive oil.
The health benefits of olive oil are 99 percent related to the presence of the phenolic components, not the oil itself.
Hypertension is regarded as a "silent killer," seeing as it causes damage often without us even noticing (until our health situation becomes dire).
What are polyphenols, and how can they benefit hypertension?
Polyphenols are secondary metabolites naturally found in olive oil. Studies indicate that these olive phenols have major antioxidative properties, meaning they are really great for arterial health.
These are great scientific reasons, but what does it actually mean? In other words, studies show that polyphenols found in olives can increase the availability of the healthy molecules.
Just how much polyphenols if I eat per day?
It all is dependent upon how well the body absorbs nutrients. According to Meg Hagar, MS, RD, the average human must aim to get at least 650 milligrams of polyphenols a day. Polyphenols aren't just great for arterial health, though. There are many other health benefits connected to polyphenols, including anti-ageing.
Recent studies have also shown a variety of benefits in terms of medication. Just so we are clear, this does not mean that you should stop your meds or that polyphenols cure heart disease. It is simply an indication of the way beneficial radicals are, and why you need to incorporate them in your daily diet -- specifically through extra virgin olive oils.
The most essential finding in this study is that the daily usage of olive oil, about 40 grams per day, markedly reduces the dosage of blood pressure medication by about 50% in hypertensive patients onto a previously stable medication dosage.
Scientists go as far as to say that studies show people suffering from high blood pressure can reduce their medication dosages by simply consuming more phenol-rich foods -- specifically extra virgin olive oil.
According to Archives of Internal Medicine, extra virgin olive oil can reduce blood pressure readings - and that people using medication may be able to reduce the amount of medicine they take. This is because radicals decrease nitric acid.
In other words, simply replacing other fats in your diet with phenol-rich olive oils can lower your high blood pressure reading.
How do I know if I'm getting enough polyphenols each day?
You can't very well rely each polyphenol, however you can modify your diet using phenol-rich foods. These include cherries, strawberries, red grapes, artichokes, and extra virgin olive oil - among other foods.
Furthermore, it's also critical to be sure you purchase the correct olive oils containing enough polyphenols. These alone may help to reduce hypertension and can even enhance general overall health.
In other words, try to follow a Mediterranean diet to reduce high blood pressure. Further studies indicate that olive oil and green veggies are especially beneficial when consumed together. Additionally, phenol-rich olive oil has been shown to enhance the absorption of carotenoids among other fat-soluble vitamins.
It's safe to say that eating a green salad a day should help keep the cardiologist away!
It's important to note that it is not the olive oil itself providing the health benefits, but rather, the compounds found inside. Where other oils have the potential to worsen hypertension, olive oil can actually benefit it.
In a world plagued with unhealthy foods and fats, it is important to incorporate the healthiest possible ingredients for your diet. You don't have to drink gallons of olive oil, however.
Simply drink 12ml, or a tablespoon, a day, to absorb all the naturally-occurring chemicals. Add some to your own saladand/or cook for supper.
The secret lies in how the olives are refined and pressed. The fact that it tastes better than sunflower oil is an added bonus. By following a healthy diet and lowering your high blood pressure, as soon as you can, you may just save your life.