Today many Americans are plagued with heart disease, high blood pressure and risk of stroke. These diseases impact the quality of life and short circuit a vibrant and radiant experience. I see many people compromising their health due the excuse of stress, fast paced lifestyle and or worry. As long as someone has little time, fast food seems like a good option. Over time the salt, fat and lack of nutrition in this diet takes its toll. As you get older your body can’t handle the accumulation of these factors and you begin to show signs of wear! Joint aches, headaches, memory loss, immune problems and even low mood can all result from a poor diet. Give yourself the option to have a vibrant and radiant future! At least one you will remember – lol.
Did you know that diet and lifestyle can make a HUGE difference in your health?
“Elevated blood pressure (BP) is the primary risk factor for loss of brain function in older Americans. Increased BP is the #1 risk factor for not only stroke but also more insidious damage to the smallest arteries delivering blood to the brain’s white and grey matter that control higher brain functions…. Excessive salty intake, especially when accompanied by inadequate potassium leads to excessively constricted blood vessels throughout the body… Not surprisingly elevated BP in mid-life is strongly associated with an elevated risk of dementia over time.”
A recent study of 1424 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study examined the impact of BP and its treatment on cognitive function and the loss of white matter in the brain. These older (>64y) women underwent MRIs which demonstrated that higher BP was strongly associated with the loss of white matter in their brains. The authors conclude that “… it is clear that even moderately elevated BP is associated with silent vascular disease in the brain that contributes to dementia.” (Kuller JH, et al. Relationship of hypertension, blood pressure, and blood pressure control with white matter abnormalities in the WHIMS – MRI Trial. J Clin Hypertens 2010;12:203-12)
Eating a diet high in salty foods whether it is from snacks, fast food or processed foods is a problem for health and so is a low potassium a contributor to poor health.
Many Americans understand the link between potassium and their health and consume a lot of bananas, orange juice or potatoes. You may not be getting the biggest bang for your food buck. Orange juice, without the pulp of the fruit can raise your blood sugar quickly making juice – even freshly squeezed a high glycemic food. Coming in at 236 mg of potassium for ½ cup of juice, a small banana has 467 mg with a half of a baked potato has 422mg and turns quickly to ½ cup of sugar in your body. This quick conversion to sugar, defeats the power of the potassium! Want to learn what foods are highest in potassium? Check out Feel Well Membership.
Aside from reducing dietary salt and increasing potassium to lower BP and increase blood flow to the brain there are two other dietary factors likely to protect against both stroke and dementia. Taking in foods high in nitrates (not nitrites!) and also foods rich in anthocyanins may help to dilate small blood vessels and protect against stroke and other heart disease.
Foods rich in nitrate includes beets, celery, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, carrots, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, melons and turnip greens. Foods rich in anthocyanins include blueberries, black beans, blue corn, and purple potatoes.
Want to learn what foods are highest in healthy nutrients? We offer video, podcasts, article and more on our online Wellness Center, Feel Well Membership. You can access 24/7 at your convenience. Learn, Take Charge. Live Your Life Well!