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Grapes May Reduce Hypertensive Heart Failure Risk — an article on the Smart Living Network
October 1, 2010 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Grapes May Reduce Hypertensive Heart Failure Risk

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Grapes, like many fruits and vegetables, have long been noted for their great health benefits. Recent studies involving grapes and hypertension may bear more great news for those suffering from heart complications. These studies show that those on a diet including daily portions of grapes may reduce risk of hypertensive heart and conditions, and improve the overall functioning of the heart.

What is Hypertensive Heart Disease?

Hypertensive heart disease is a category of heart diseases that involve arterial hypertension, and 90% of heart failures are precluded by a hypertensive disease. This category includes disease such as:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Hypertensive cardiomyopathy
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy

These diseases are usually accompanied by symptoms which can be either mildly irritating or nearly crippling. Those symptoms include:

  • weight gain
  • swelling of the feet
  • nausea
  • difficulty sleeping
  • increased urination during the evening
  • an irregular pulse

While there is no known cure for hypertension, for someone suffering from a hypertensive conditions, grapes may be a natural solution to help reduce symptoms. And for those not suffering, they may be the key to preventing it.

Why Grapes are Great For the Heart

One of the more recent studies testing the health benefits of grapes involved salt-sensitive rats. During this study, researchers fed one group of rats a diet made up of high salt (in order to put them at risk of heart disease) and another group a high-salt diet plus grape powder (equal to nine grapes per day). As a result, the rats with grapes included in their diet achieved improved heart function, blood pressure, and cardioprotective effects. The great health effects that grapes have on the heart are allegedly due to the different varieties of antioxidants they contain, especially flavanoids and resveratrol (most commonly found in concord grapes). These antioxidants help to increase blood flow in the heart, increase high density lipoprotein (also known as the good cholesterol), and lower your risk of clogged arteries. On top of these great benefits, grapes also contain fiber and proteins which are beneficial for other areas of your health.

A Few More Hypertension Tips

Supplementing your diet with grapes is a great start to hypertension prevention. But here are a few healthy lifestyle tips to help you keep your heart in great shape. Exercise Regularly Your heart, like any other muscle in your body, needs to be exercised to stay in good shape. Taking up cardiovascular exercises daily (even if for short periods of time) can be greatly beneficial. A quick jog before or after work, swimming, or even a half hour of jumping jacks and running in place can do wonders. Supplement Calcium Several studies have linked low calcium to hypertension. Make sure you have a sufficient amount in your diet. It is recommended that the average adult consumes 1,000 mg per day, which can be obtained with 3 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Reduce Sodium Intake An excess of sodium can be highly dangerous to the heart. The recommended daily sodium intake is between 1,500 and 2,300 mg a day. It's much easier to cross that line than you'd think, so it's important to keep track. Try keeping a 'sodium journal' to monitor your daily intake.

Sources:

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/calcium.asp

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN00576

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/301/1/26-a

http://www.npicenter.com/anm/templates/newsATemp.aspx?articleid=19727&zoneid=28

http://www.drlam.com/news/news00016.asp

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