According to the American Heart Association, more than 40 percent of blacks have high blood pressure (HBP).Though doctors aren’t 100% sure why this is, they believe it may be linked to African Americans also having higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. This trait increases the risk of developing HBP.
How can you lower your blood pressure?
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is absolutely possible to improve your blood pressure. Some of the most important steps you can take include:
- Getting your blood pressure checked at least once every six to 12 months
- Losing weight if you need to
- Lowering your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day or less
- Following the DASH diet
What is the DASH diet? The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (more commonly known as the DASH diet) emphasizes reducing your sodium and red meat intake, while eating more:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy
Yes! Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork, instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source, they had the same healthy blood pressure benefits.
Plus, pork also contains thiamin, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Oh yes…and it’s low in sodium, which is pretty much the whole point of following the DASH diet in the first place.
“The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk to chronic diseases,” said study lead author Dr. Wayne W. Campbell, Nutrition Science Professor at Purdue University. “While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern.”
So, the pork at the grocery store is better than it used to be?
According to Adria Sheil-Brown, a registered and licensed dietitian, as well as a nutrition communications manager for the National Pork Board, today’s pork is a prime example of how farmers do more with less while raising healthier food, providing better care for their animals and protecting the environment.