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Common Peas Can Help Your Blood Pressure?

April 14, 2009 | 66,677 views

yellow peasResearchers have found that proteins in common garden peas can help fight high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD patients are actually at highest risk from the cardiovascular complications arising from high blood pressure associated with kidney malfunction.

Peas long have been recognized as healthy, containing protein, dietary fiber and vitamins. The new research focuses on the yellow garden pea, a mainstay pea variety.

Scientists purified a mixture of small proteins called pea protein hydrolysate. When researchers fed small daily doses of the protein mixture to laboratory rats with a severe form of kidney disease, the rats showed a 20 percent drop in blood pressure.

The researchers also report that consumption of the pea extract produced a 30 percent increase in urine production in the diseased rats, bringing their urine to within normal levels.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Nature is full of simple solutions to many of the health ailments plaguing the world right now, and the healthy compounds in yellow peas are a great example of that.

Rats with chronic kidney disease fed a mixture of small proteins called pea protein hydrolysate had a 20 percent drop in blood pressure. This is important not only for those with chronic kidney disease -- who often face high blood pressure and associated heart complications -- but would likely be welcome news to many of you.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is such a common health problem that one out of three of you reading this has it. Uncontrolled hypertension is a serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke -- and it’s especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs or symptoms.

Unfortunately, simply eating peas in their natural state may not produce the same blood pressure lowering effects as the protein extract used in the study. The researchers say the beneficial proteins are inactive in natural peas and require treatment with special enzymes to become active.

In the near future, the beneficial protein extract could be made into a powder to add to foods or beverages, or it may be put into a pill form, the scientists said.

However, it’s important to realize that drugs used to treat hypertension -- even natural ones -- will not change, modify, or in any way address the underlying cause of your high blood pressure.

Additionally, statistics show that over half of people taking multiple medications for high blood pressure are still not able to manage their condition, so for many these drugs simply don’t work as promised.

What is One of the Most Common Causes of High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is associated with kidney malfunction in people with chronic kidney disease, but much more often high blood pressure is related to your body producing too much insulin. As your insulin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase.

Hence, if you have hypertension, chances are good that you also have poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The two problems often go hand in hand.

In fact, groundbreaking research published in 1998 in the journal Diabetes reported that nearly two-thirds of the test subjects who were insulin resistant also had high blood pressure.

So if you fall into this group, and your hypertension is the direct result of an out-of-control blood sugar level, then normalizing your blood sugar levels will also bring your blood pressure readings into the healthy range.

Ideally, this can be done without the use of any drugs, which is to your advantage considering beta-blockers -- a class of drugs frequently prescribed to manage high blood pressure -- have been found to cause type 2 diabetes by decreasing your insulin sensitivity. This is actually promoting the very problem you’re trying to solve.

That said, although I hardly ever recommend the use of drugs, it’s VITAL that you do go on a medication to lower your blood pressure if your blood pressure is very high! Otherwise you are putting yourself at serious risk of a stroke, and the brain damage that occurs during a stroke tends to be permanent and irreversible.

Once you begin to address the underlying causes of your high blood pressure, and your levels begin to go down, then you can slowly wean off the medication.

Natural Methods to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Although the pea protein extract mentioned in the study sounds like a promising alternative to pharmaceuticals for blood pressure, you really want to focus on techniques that will address the underlying causes, namely high insulin levels. These include:

1. Exercise: A regular, effective exercise program consisting of aerobics, sprint-burst type exercises, and strength training, can go a long way toward reducing your insulin levels and your blood pressure.

2. Eat for your nutritional type, and avoid foods that raise insulin levels: Foods that will raise your insulin, such as sugar-type foods and grains, should be avoided if you have high blood pressure. This includes eve whole, organic grains, as they rapidly break down to sugars.

Foods to avoid include:

• Breads
• Pasta
• Rice
• Cereal
• Potatoes

While cutting out these insulin-boosting foods, focus your diet on the healthy foods that correspond to your nutritional type.

One food in particular that can also be helpful for reducing your blood pressure is crushed, raw garlic. Many people swear by it, and it's something you can easily add to your diet.

3. Use stress management techniques. Even mild stress can raise your blood pressure. Prayer, meditation, or the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are all useful techniques for managing your emotions.

4. Optimize your vitamin D levels. It has recently become clear that normalizing your vitamin D levels can have a powerful effect on normalizing your blood pressure.

5. Balance your omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio. Most Americans eating a standard American diet have a ratio of 25:1, which is highly unbalanced. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Therefore, you’ll want to lower the amount of vegetable oils in your diet (omega-6), and make sure you have a high quality, animal-based source of omega-3s, such as krill oil.

Over 85 percent of those who have hypertension can normalize their blood pressure through lifestyle modifications like these. So if you have hypertension, or hope to avoid it, taking control of your health now is one of the best decisions you could make.

[+] Sources and References

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