High blood pressure affects one in four people in the UK, according to recent government figures. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to complications including heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries and this leads to serious health complications. To help manage the condition and reduce any health fatalities, one needs to be vigilant with the foods they eat. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise and a well-balanced diet will reduce a persons risk and may even reduce their need for blood pressure medication. When it comes to cooking these healthy foods, what is the best oil to be using?
A daily consumption of at least two tablespoons of phenol-rich extra virgin olive oil can be effective in lowering blood pressure.
In a study by the University of California at Davis Olive Centre, extra-virgin olive oil helps lower high blood pressure.
The study found that the high phenolic content in extra-virgin olive oil was more effective in lowering either systolic or diastolic blood pressure in comparison to sunflower oil, soybean oil, or refined oil with low phenol content.
In anther study in 2000, extra-virgin olive oil was proven to help reduces a person’s need for blood pressure medication.
The most important finding in this study is that the daily use of olive oil, about 40 grams per day, markedly reduces the dosage of blood pressure medications by about 50 per cent in hypersensitive patients
Doctor Aldo Ferrara
Doctor Aldo Ferrara, associate professor of internal medicine at the Frederico University of Naples said: “The most important finding in this study is that the daily use of olive oil, about 40 grams per day, markedly reduces the dosage of blood pressure medications by about 50 per cent in hypersensitive patients on a previously stable drug dosage.”
When it comes to how much of the oil one should be using, according to the study, around forty grams per day of extra-virgin olive oil is the ideal amount. This equates to about four tablespoons.
Doctor Ferrara explains that only extra-virgin olive oil contains antioxidants called “polyphenols” which may be responsible for the drop in blood pressure.
Polyphenols are completely absent from sunflower oil, according to Ferrara and colleagues.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation said: “Oils and fats supply calories and essential fats and help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
“The type of fat is just as important for health as the total amount of fat consumed.
‘That’s why it’s important to choose healthier unsaturated fats. Eating too much and the wrong kinds of fats, such as saturated and trans fats, may raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy HDL cholesterol.
“This imbalance can increase your risk of high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke.”
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