It has long been believed that medical diseases can often be a result of our western diet. Well, it turns out that we now have an even better reason to eat fiber, not just for our bowels, but for our hearts.

blood pressure

We’ve long heard the expression “you are what you eat”. Well, as we are gathering greater scientific knowledge, it turns out that this saying is truer than we imagined. A new study done in Sweden by Dr. Kieth Eliasson of Stockholm’s Karolinska Hospital, recruited 63 mild hypertensives with a mean diastolic blood pressure of more than 99.6 mm of Hg. The normal level is about ten points lower, anything up to 90. For the next three months, each volunteer would receive a 7 gram dose of tablets, while their blood pressures were monitored.

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One half of the group was given tablets containing mixed dietary food fiber, the other was given identical pills containing placebo. Because blood pressure normally changes with different moods and activities, researchers took several daily readings from each volunteer. Blood pressures were measured at rest, during mental stress (using the Stroop test), and during physical stress (using the cold pressor test). Readings were also taken to assess levels of cholesterol, insulin, glucose, and triglycerides in the blood.

The findings were consistent, and dramatic. The group taking food with fiber lowered their blood pressure, by an average of 5%, and also reduced their levels of cholesterol, glucose, insulin and triglycerides in the blood stream.

Here’s an action tip:
The best route to health is not always through drugs, even though that has been our medical tradition. If you have high blood pressure, or for that matter even if you don’t but want to help prevent it, try eating more food fiber in your diet. The next time you see your doctor for a blood pressure check, ask him or her for more dietary advice.

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