A study published in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that eating 3 servings of whole grains per day can decrease the incidence of heart attack by 15% and stroke by 25%.
The study was designed and conducted by researchers from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and included over 200 healthy, middle-aged subjects.
Following a 4-week introductory period on a refined diet, subjects were randomized to a 12-week diet consisting of either:
- Refined diet (control group)
- Wheat containing diet
- Wheat + oats diet
At the study’s conclusion, the researchers determined that the whole grain consumption groups (wheat or wheat + oats) experienced a 5-6 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure. According to study director Dr. Frank Thies, this is about the amount you would expect to see on conventional hypertension medication regimens. The study is registered here at clinicaltrials.gov.
FAQ- Fiber as a Blood Pressure Lowering Medication
1. Can those with high blood pressure consume fiber?
Yes, those with high blood pressure can definitely consume fiber. It is actually encouraged that these individuals increase the fiber content of their diet.
It is no secret that adults do not consume as much fiber as they should. According to studies, only 25% of adults are able to match their requirements on a daily basis. This is not ideal as fiber helios protect us from so many diseases.
Among these diseases include cardiovascular diseases and more. Through various studies, researchers found that those adults who had a large amount of fiber in their diet were generally healthier than those who did not. This is because fiber works to lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Fober also lowers cholestrol.
It lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity in our bodies. Hence, there are fewer blood sugar spikes which in turn protects us from various diseases.
Because high fiber intake can help improve cardiovascular health, it is advised that those with high blood pressure increase their fiber intake.
2. Can fiber help reduce blood pressure on its own?
Yes, fiber is great at helping reduce blood pressure and has the research to back this statement up.
There are many different kinds of fibers however, particularly soluble fibers are great at helping lower the total blood cholesterol levels. With lowered cholesterol levels. The blood has more room to flow through our arteries and veins. Thus, the blood pressure is automatically reduced.
Fiber lowers the cholesterol level by lowering the low-density lipoprotein. This specific lipoprotein is detrimental to our health as it causes an increase in cholesterol levels.
Hence, a diet that is high in fiber-rich food may be extremely beneficial in helping lower blood pressure. This lowered blood pressure can help reduce the risk of heart disease, inflammation, and other blood pressure related ailments.
3. Which foods have a high fiber content?
If you want to increase the amount of fiber you consume, adding these foods into your diet can help.
- Fruits such as berries and apples
- Vegetables such as Avocados, broccoli, potatoes, and more
- Beans such as lentils and others
- Whole Grains
- Other snacks such as popcorn
- Dried Fruit
4. Does fiber interfere with any supplements?
Yes, fiber interferes with a few supplements and can cause some issues with medication absorption.
Medicines such as aspirin, epitol, and Carbatrol may not be absorbed too well if your fiber intake is quite high or if you take fiber supplements.
Fiber supplements can also reduce blood sugar levels which may affect any medicine that you are taking. If that happens, your medications or insulin may need readjustment to take into account your current blood sugar levels.
5. Does a low fiber diet cause high blood pressure?
Through many studies, it was found that those whose diet has low levels of fiber are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. This is due to the fact that fiber helps keep a check on cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are a leading cause of high blood pressure. Hence, a lack of fiber causes heightened cholesterol which may or may not lead to high blood pressure.
Newer studies also suggest that lack of fiber in one’s diet can actively contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. This may be caused by the gut microbiota.
Fiber is an essential part of our diet. It is recommended that adults consume around 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day. However, not everyone follows this recommendation. Not only is it not good for our gut health, but studies also show that low fiber diets put you at risk of developing high blood pressure. Hence we should be very vigilant in consuming the right amount of fiber every day.