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Avocado Benefits for High Blood Pressure
Avocados are especially high in calories but they are also very notable for their high content of monounsaturated fats and potassium thus making it one of the most beneficial foods for combating high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. The heart pumps blood into the arteries, which are the transport system responsible for distributing blood throughout the body. Blood pressure has two numbers: Systolic, the first and higher of the two shows the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and they are full of blood, diastolic, the second number, measures the pressure in the arteries -bleeding when the heart is at rest. between beats. Normal blood pressure ranges from 90/60 at birth to 120/80 in a healthy adult. For adults age 6o and older a reading of 150/90 is indicative of high blood pressure (hypertension). It is important to note that a reading slightly higher than 120/80 in young adults indicates the risk of developing pre-hypertension.
Having untreated high blood pressure makes the heart work harder and contributes to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). This can lead to stroke, kidney disease, and to the development of heart disease. “Having high blood pressure puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the United States. About 75 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure– it’s 1 in every 3 adults. About 1 in 3 American adults have prehypertension” 1 A diet low in salt and high in vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products can help lower blood pressure. Highly regarded for its blood pressure fighting properties within the fruit family Avocado (aka. alligator pear) the avocado tree found in the West Coast.
Avocados are said to be high in fat, but since they are a plant food, the fat in them is considered oil and not solid fat. However it is important to note that most of the fat (77%) in the fruit is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. Complete scientific evidence that points to the fact that foods containing monounsaturated fats are great for improving your cholesterol and reducing inflammation thus reducing the risks of heart problems and strokes. In fact “The American Heart Association recommends consuming MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) to improve your blood lipid profile.” “(Fat profile or fat panel is a the panel of blood tests that serve as a broad medical screening tool initially for abnormalities in lipidssuch as cholesterol and triglycerides.)” 2
Along with monounsaturated fats, avocados are very rich in potassium (more than bananas – half a medium avocado contains 549 mg potassium, a medium banana provides 451 mg). A diet rich in potassium helps control your heartbeat, keeps the tension in your blood vessel walls working properly, and lowers blood pressure by balancing the effects of sodium on your system. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium is lost through the urine. A high potassium diet can lower systolic blood pressure by 4.4 mm Hg and diastolic pressure by 2.5 mm Hg.
For those who hate to eat avocado the oil that comes from it is a reliable alternative. Research conducted on lab animals and published by the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology.” concludes that “a diet rich in avocado oil, changes the levels of essential fatty acids in the kidneys, resulting in a change in the way the kidneys respond to the hormones that regulate blood pressure.” One tablespoon of avocado oil contains 124 calories and 14 grams of fat (21 percent of the recommended daily fat intake), 9.9 of the 14 grams are healthy monounsaturated fat which lowers LDL ((low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, while increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein) and 1.9 grams is polyunsaturated fat which lowers LDL and HDL. Avocados contain no cholesterol or trans-fat and are richer in vitamin E than any other fruit. Avocado fats are also resistant to heat-induced oxidation thus offering an excellent substitute for vegetable, canola oils and other saturated or fatty products.
While promoting the health benefits of avocado it is important to keep in mind that the fruit is high in calories (one bottle of avocado pieces has approximately 234 calories) so the amount you eat must be considered. Also due to its high potassium content, people with kidney related problems need to be extra careful in using it. Consult your healthcare professional to find out if a diet supplemented with avocado is right for you.
1, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics)
2, Wikipedia.org (wiki/Lipid_profile)
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