Ward off Hypertension – Cereal May Help Fight High Blood Pressure

Erin Benjamin 

Patients who are seeking new ways for warding off hypertension may be interested in research that was presented recently in a meeting conducted by the American Heart Association in Atlanta. This research study suggests that by starting the day with a serving of whole-grain cereal could shave 20% off of your chances of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure. Although cereal may help, there are many factors that can lead to hypertension, such as excess sodium in the diet, stress, obesity, or a lack of exercise. These must all be addressed in the battle against hypertension as well in order to find relief.

Ward off HypertensionYet for those who want to make small and easy but significant changes in their diet, adding a bowl of cereal in the morning is an easy way to ward off hypertension. The study also indicated that cereals that sti from whole grains have a higher level of protection than those made from refined grains. One hypothesis for why cereal may be a better alternative to other whole grains was offered by Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., who is a professor at Minneapolis’s College of St. Catherine. She states that because cereal is usually served on its own, you can avoid extra sources of saturated fat that you might see when you are eating breads. She also noted that the study did not include a control for saturated fat.

There are also additives to many commercial cereals which could boost the fight against high blood pressure, including nuts, dried fruits, or raisins. These have a high level of fiber and potassium, which can also help ward off hypertension. Milk, as part of a balanced diet, also may be helpful, according to Dr. Jones. Indeed, researchers speculate that it is the full package of a bowl of cereal that contributes to the hypertension lowering effect.

In the study referenced, Dr. Jinesh Kochar of Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston looked at data collected from more than 13,000 men who took part in the Physician’s Health Study. This was financed by the National Institute of Health. At the beginning of the study, all of the men exhibited a blood pressure level that would be considered normal, and averaged 52 years in age. Over the course of 17 years, half of those studied developed hypertension. Those who ate on average one serving per week of cereal managed to ward off hypertension at a rate of 7% less risk.

The men who consumed cereal two to six times per week had a11% lower risk of hypertension, and those who ate cereal every day had a 19% lower risk. These statistics indicate that it was the cereal that helped to ward off hypertension, although other risk factors were looked at as part of the study. Smoking, vegetable and fruit consumption, and physical activity were also measured. Because this study only looked at men, Dr. Kochar states that there is a need for more women’s studies.