I've got a friend who eats a SAD. She has been having some serious issues with high blood pressure lately, and her doctors are wanting her to go on pills, probably forever.
I've done some basic research on helping her change her diet, and there are a lot of things that are pretty consistent: Take out coffee, sugar, salt (packaged foods), wheat.
Eat more fresh food, especially parsley, apple cider vinegar, fresh veggies, low fructose fruit, fresh meat (locally produced grass fed is very available here).
her diet basically consists of lots of factory-produced meat, few vegetables, tons of carbs, tons of grains, tons of sugars, tons of salt and packed foods, and very little fresh food.
Anything more that she should consider?
Although I don't consider myself a member of the "paleo cult" those who actually seem to be a little mental about eliminating all things "modern" from their diet. I've been "eating paleo" for longer than most of the paleo folks out there... at least semi-paleo. I use a common sense approach to it and I also use a carb control approach. I do use a little dairy at times and then if I get into problems with it, I stop using it until the problems are resolved. I've changed myself from a 300lb, 60% body fat, insulin using fatass with MS who was using canes some of the time, and was looking at a future in a wheelchair...to a lean, fit, weightlifter, runner, triathlete with perfect lab work and much better physical health. MS is no longer taking my legs away from me. I no longer use insulin...and another great benefit is...my blood pressure stays around 102/60 instead of 230/120 most of the time. ..................................... My common sense recommendations for your friend... Animal proteins, green vegetables, resistance exercise three times a week, sprints 2-3 times a week... Don't use nuts/seeds/fruit at first. Eat more green vegetables than anything else. With the animal proteins, don't worry about the fats...DO NOT TRY TO GO LOW FAT. The body needs to learn how to utilize fat for energy and feeding it fat while controlling carbohydrates is the surest/quickest way to do this. By controlling glycogen stores and not exceeding the body's 15g/kg of LBM of glycogen storage capacity, she will not have excess glucose in the blood stream which will cause an insulin response. Remember the insulin response moves excess glucose into storage. What isn't used in the muscles is stored on and in the body as saturated fat and cholesterol. This is what leads to plaque formations, causing atherosclerosis. Eat the way I've suggested and the atherosclerotic process is stopped and even reversed...blood vessels that are pliable and elastic don't cause high blood pressure. Resistance training builds muscle which increases glycogen storage capacity, an indirect way to reduce excessive glood glucose. Sprints indirectly burn the body fat and the fat we eat by boosting the metabolism a little. They also help improve the health of the circulatory system.
Some may disagree with what I've suggested because of the higher fat and because I do actually eat about 1/3 of my calories from each macronutrient (P, F, C) about 1/2 the year in spite of knowing that more fat/protein, with less carbs is better for the lipid profile, the blood glucose, blood pressure, cardiovascular risks, etc... I guess this makes me a heretic or a hypocrite to some. Paleo is a good starting point though... start there, using LESS nuts and fruits...add more things as tolerable and she should improve her health dramatically.
To elaborate on Eva's thought, see if she can go Paleo for a month (or however long) and compare the before/after blood pressure. It will either improve, get worse, or stay the same, but she'll have results needed to assess the diet.
BEEN ON THE PALEO FOR APPROX. 7 WEEKS. I STOPPED ALL WHOLE AND PROCESSED GRAINS, LEGUMES AND PROCESSED SUGARS. I STILL CONSUME A VERY SMALL AMOUNT DAIRY PRODUCTS, IE CHEESE AND MILK. MY BLOOD PRESSURE BEFORE THE CHANGE WAS 245/180, CRAZY HIGH!!!!, AND 175LBS. DOCS WANTED ME ON MEDICATIONS, I THINK NOT....NOW THE BLOOD PRESSURE IS 150/95, CONTINUING DROP AND MY WEIGHT IS NOW 165LBS. I STARTED RUNNING LAST AUGUST 2010 WITH THE CRAZY BLOOD PRESSURE AND NOW FEEL HEALTHIER WITH INCREASED STANIMA. I AM NOW A DEDICATED PALEO EATER.
Thank you Mark. You are the support I have been looking for. I have felt like a fragile, ticking time bomb since my blood pressure took a huge spike (LOTS of stress). I have been afraid to exercise for fear of tipping over dead :~) I will keep eating well and start exercising a bit more confidently. Thanks.