Does maintaining heart health and low blood pressure mean No Fun? Sometimes it might seem that way. With study after study coming out telling you to eat more heart-healthy foods, eat less sugar, eat more veggies and L-arginine, eat less salt…it seems like the studies are saying, “Have less fun in your life.”

But, you don’t have to stop having fun in your life. You don’t have to give up all of your favorite foods, get up at 5 am to go running, spend every evening doing yoga, and pretty much give up everything you love.

But, you do have to think about moderation…

(From US News)

What’s the best dietary strategy to lower those blood pressure numbers?

One key factor that’s long been linked to blood pressure is salt (sodium) intake. In the new study, 412 people with high blood pressure (or in danger of high blood pressure) were assigned to one of three daily salt-intake regimens. Some took in about half of a teaspoon of salt per day; some had a teaspoon of salt per day, while others consumed about 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day.

Current recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration call for a daily limit of about one teaspoon of salt (2,300 milligrams of sodium) per day.

The study participants, who averaged 48 years of age, were also randomly asked to stay on either a “regular” diet or switch to the healthier Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) regimen.

This diet is often recommended by doctors and nutritionists and focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts.

(From Harvard News)

Sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks are by far the biggest sources of added sugar in the average American’s diet. They account for more than one-third of the added sugar we consume as a nation. Other important sources include cookies, cakes, pastries, and similar treats; fruit drinks; ice cream, frozen yogurt and the like; candy; and ready-to-eat cereals.

Nutritionists frown on added sugar for two reasons. One is its well-known links to weight gain and cavities. The other is that sugar delivers “empty calories” — calories unaccompanied by fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Too much added sugar can crowd healthier foods from a person’s diet.

Could it be possible that sugar isn’t the true bad guy boosting heart disease risk, but that it’s the lack of heart-healthy foods like fruits and veggies? Apparently not. In this study, the researchers measured the participants’ Healthy Eating Index. This shows how well their diets match up to federal dietary guidelines. “Regardless of their Healthy Eating Index scores, people who ate more sugar still had higher cardiovascular mortality,” says Dr. Teresa Fung, adjunct professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.


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