Obesity and high blood pressure

Friday 4th July, 2014 

  • What's the truth behind obesity?
  • It's a market economy out of control
  • Natural help for high blood pressure


I had an unusual moment last Tuesday. It was one of those moments where I feel the universe is sending me a message.

On the telly was Uruguay vs Italy in The World Cup (you may be aware that this tournament is on!) I was idly watching while sifting through the day’s papers for the latest health stories.

It was right at the moment when I was reading an article in The Guardian called ‘The Truth About Obesity’ that Luis Suarez sank his teeth into Italian opponent Giorgio Chiellini.

Blimey, I thought…

…Things are so bad that even super-fit athletes get hungry enough to eat other humans!

The subtitle of the article was ‘Ten Shocking Facts About Britain’s Health Crisis’, which are worth repeating to you
They are:

  1. Nearly two-thirds of the UK population is either overweight or obese
  2. Obesity is shortening our lives
  3. Obesity could bankrupt the NHS
  4. It’s an unfair fight – (the government spends £14m a year on anti-obesity message while the food industry spends £1bn a year on marketing)
  5. Obesity took off in the have-it-all-80s
  6. Snacking is a ‘newly created behaviour’
  7. The food industry is behaving like the tobacco industry did (namely, funding biased scientific surveys and pretending to make their product healthier)
  8. Your brain, not your stomach, tells you when to stop eating (effectively, it’s all in the mind)
  9. By the age of 5 it’s almost too late to intervene
  10. Obese children are increasingly being taken into care

It’s a fairly shocking series of facts, I suppose… if you’ve never read The Good Life Letter before. But you’ll probably recognise many of them.

These big picture articles are all well and good, but there are so many of them and yet nothing ever seems to change.

Over the past decades, food has been designed to hit our pleasure centres like never before.When we eat sugary, fatty, salty food, we experience a sensory 'high'. This stimulates our brains to want more food. It conditions our bodies to take on more food so our brains are satisfied.

More eating means more money for the food industry. Plain and simple. And you can cry conspiracy all you want…

But what modern industry WOULDN'T try to increase its market demand?

The industry particularly likes diet foods because it means they can create whole new products ranges, tackling whole new markets, with all kinds of fake ingredients, sweeteners, carb-heavy meals, ‘healthy snacks’ and other things that don’t help (expect for their bottom line).

So the upshot is, I can sit here and type out as many words as I can railing against the food industry, the state of the world, and our inevitable doom. I could tell you to simply STOP EATING, or EAT LESS, which also doesn’t help. Panic starvation diets are the worst thing you can do. And you’re probably sick of being lectured to.

Or I can try and find some ways that delicious foods can help you tackle the specific health problems associated with excessive weight.

Today I want to look at one of those problems. Namely, high blood pressure…

Foods that help control blood pressure

Even if you’re only slightly overweight, it’s important to think about the effects on your blood pressure and heart health. While many people rely on drugs with nasty side-effects to control blood pressure, there are foods you can add to your diet to help.

  • Primrose oil - this is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which can help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce chances of having problem associated with high blood pressure, like strokes or heart attack. Click here to find out more
  • Nuts – these are packed with fibre, reduce the risk of Type II diabetes, and vitamins and minerals including folic acid, niacin, Vitamin E and magnesium all of which protect your heart.
  • Olives - if you're worried about high cholesterol, then the monounsaturated fats found in olives will lower your 'bad' cholesterol and increase the good ones.
  • Bananas - Not only are they low in salt, but they're high in potassium as well. In fact, they're so positively good for those suffering from high blood pressure that  the US Food and Drug Administration has allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
  • Chillis - a study in 2010 showed capsaicin,Capsaicin, the main pungent ingredient in chillis, activates a special "channel" in the lining of the blood vessels called the transient receptor potential vanilloid1 (TRPV1). When the channel is activated, it increases the production of nitric oxide in the blood vessels that is believed to protect against inflammation and other vascular problems.
  • Blueberries - this protects brain cells, helps memory loss, eases inflammation, sharpens failing eyesight, strengthens your heart, and could help protect you against cancer.
  • Garlic helps your body break down fat-soluble molecules. A report in The Lancet has suggested that you can even neutralise the effects of high fat foods by adding garlic to your diet. Garlic can also boost your energy and libido, fight infection and control blood pressure (you can find out more about this in my book The Honey, Garlic and Vinegar Miracle, click here)

In particular, if you’re worried about your heart health and high blood pressure, I’d really recommend the Evening Primrose oil. It’s a great all round tonic, and you can get a really high quality supplement here, with 25% off, which is a great deal.

I’ve probably only just touched the surface of this theme, so please look out for part two of my investigation into foods that help your heart and blood pressure next Friday!

Yours, as always

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