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In reaction to misleading article, experts say no specific food helps in lowering blood pressure

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Claim: An article by Naija news lists some food which it claims helps lower blood pressure

This article is misleading as Dubawa’s findings and health experts noted that no specific food helps in lowering blood pressure but a healthy diet among other measures help.

Full Text

An article by Naija news, an online new platform, names some foods as diet that lower blood pressure. Some of these foods include; milk, egg, Banana, Dark chocolate and olive oil.

“High Blood Pressure which causes stroke, hypertension and heart attack is quite prevalent in the society today because of anxiety and overthinking. But do you know that there are some foods that you can eat to lower blood pressure?”

Excerpt of Naij news article.

For milk, the report claims a daily dose of a cold glass of milk offers a solid serving of both calcium and vitamin D, nutrients that help lower blood pressure by 3 to 10 percent.

The report also claims Egg whites are a solid source of protein, vitamin D, and other healthy nutrients can help reduce blood pressure, while eating a banana which is rich in potassium is better than taking supplements. 

Also, the report claims dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavanols, which make blood vessels more elastic and olive oil, which is an example of a healthy fat, contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure.

Verification

Dubawa conducted a keyword search on blood pressure, it’s types, causes and treatment.

What is blood pressure?

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries which carry blood from your heart to other parts of the body.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers called; systolic blood pressure (measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats) and diastolic blood pressure (measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats). When measured it is the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure.

The normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg.1.

Types of Blood pressure/hypertension

There are two types of hypertension; primary and secondary. 

-Primary hypertension

Primary hypertension also called essential hypertension, is a kind of hypertension developed over time with no identifiable cause.

Factors that may play a role in this type of hypertension are; genes, physical changes, environment, etc.

-Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension often occurs quickly and can become more severe than primary hypertension. Several conditions like kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, congenital heart defects, problems with your thyroid, side effects of medications, use of illegal drugs, alcohol abuse or chronic use, adrenal gland problems, and certain endocrine tumours may cause secondary hypertension.

Treatment for hypertension

The type of hypertension and its cause help your doctor determine the best treatment option. For primary hypertension, lifestyle changes may help reduce high blood pressure. Where this does not help, medication will be prescribed.

For secondary hypertension, treatment will focus on the underlying condition causing high blood pressure. When hypertension persists, lifestyle changes are made and medications prescribed.

NOTE: Treatment plans for hypertension often evolve as what worked at first may not work overtime. Doctors will continue to work to refine treatment.

Healthline lists some home remedies for hypertension including a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like fish), physical activities, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Expert Opinion

Dubawa also reached out to experts on the efficacy of the foods mentioned in relation to blood pressure.

A medical Doctor, Dr Lynda Effiong-Agim said the write up contained faulty facts and noted there are modifiable(factors you can control) and non-modifiable factors (factors you can’t control) in controlling blood pressure. 

“There are medical sites one can actually get correct information. This is why not everything concerning health seen on the internet is true. Some may have some elements of truth but have other faulty facts in their write-ups. Just like I have spotted some faulty ones in this post. There is no specific food that their work is to lower blood pressure, however eating a healthy diet and having a good active lifestyle as well as avoiding some habits can help with prevention of or control of hypertension…all these ones are just modifiable factors, i.e the factors that one has control over to prevent hypertension or help in the control for those who already have. There are some other factors too which are not modifiable and by default make one more likely to develop hypertension.”

Excerpt of Dr Lynda’s comment.

She advised the public to consult medical personnel or hospitals as well renowned health site for health information noting that posts like this one can be misleading especially to those who do not have a medical background to be able to filter information.

Another expert, a nutritionist, Ms Bernice Apemiye, said while it is true these food have the minerals listed by the article, there is no research on them helping to lower blood pressure.

“I would say it’s partially correctly in respect to the fact these food sources have the minerals and vitamins stated but in respect to blood pressure, I haven’t read any research on a banana or milk lowering blood pressure. There are many factors that help in lowering blood pressure, not just one nutrient alone.”

Excerpt of Mrs Bernice’ comment

Conclusion

This article is misleading as Dubawa’s findings and health experts noted that no specific food helps in lowering blood pressure but a healthy diet among other measures help.

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