Hypertension is one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease and dietary and lifestyle factors are the major risk factors associated with it. Therefore, changes in the dietary pattern and lifestyle can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of development of hypertension and its related complications.
For the prevention of hypertension dietary patterns should include reduced sodium or salt intake, reducing alcohol consumption, increasing intake of potassium rich foods and adopting lifestyle changes leading to reduced overall stress. A dietary pattern which emphasizes more on the consumption of fruits and vegetables, low fat foods, reduced consumption of saturated fats and weight control. The diet should also promote improving intake of certain micronutrients such as potassium, zinc, fibre and antioxidants that would reduce the oxidative stress caused by fat intake.
Effects of Green Tea
Many studies have shown the positive effect of green tea (Camelia sinesis) consumption, on the reduction in the blood pressure. Tea is the one of the most consumed beverages. In the recent past the overall consumption of green tea has also seen a spurt. The bioactive components of green tea are the phenols and the catechins which possess antioxidant and vasodilator properties (relax arteries). These compounds also promote renal excretion of salt and water. Green tea compounds also inhibit absorption of fats from the intestine and facilitate conversion of cholesterol into bile. Green tea catechins also modify appetite and downregulate enzymes involved in fat metabolism, thus effecting weight loss.
Many randomized clinical trials have reported significant changes in systolic blood pressure, between green tea drinkers and non-green tea drinkers. Epidemiological studies have shown that green tea has cardioprotective effects and evidence synthesis has shown that green tea consumption is associated with blood vessel relaxation, which offers endothelial protection and allow blood to flow freely.
A daily consumption of approximately 200 mg of epigaloecatechin-3-gallate (the most abundant catechin and the most bioactive compound of green tea extract), has been observed to exert maximum benefit. This equates to a consupmtion of about 5-6 cups of green tea per day and maximum benefits are seen after about 12 weeks of continuous consumption.
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