Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fats and high blood pressure

         Essential fatty acids are fats that our bodies cannot produce themselves and must be obtained through the diet.  These are used to produce factors called prostaglandins that influence blood pressure, keep blood vessels elastic and influence platelet stickiness.  Increasing linoleic acid from vegetable oils has a profound blood pressure lowering action.  Good food sources of linoleic acid are raw (not roasted), unsalted fresh walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds.  Saturated fats from animal fat/meats/dairy products, trans fats from fried foods, food cooked in oil, processed food and hydrogenated margarine, shortening and oils should all be avoided.  The unhealthy fats contribute to atherosclerosis and high blood pressure and compete with healthy fats for absorption.  Oils should be cold-pressed, fresh and kept refrigerated as they easily turn rancid if exposed to light and heat.  They should be used cold, drizzled over salads or vegetable and not used for cooking as the heat degrades the oil.  Increase omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid foods:  salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, raw walnuts, almond, sunflower seeds, pecan, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and avocadoes.