TRYING TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE?

October 7, 2019

TRYING TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE?

ThedaCare Provider Explains Why Drinking Unsalted Tomato Juice May Help

RIPON, Wis. – Each year, more than 610,000 people die as a result of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In fact, one in every four deaths can be attributed to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in Americans. New research claims to report that drinking tomato juice could help lower a person’s blood pressure, thereby helping improve their overall heart health.

“It’s always important to be skeptical when taking in articles like this,” said Dr. Steve Rasmussen with ThedaCare Physicians-Ripon. “We should remember at times these studies – as it might have been in this case – are funded by a company that might have some financial interest in people drinking more tomato juice. When we notice things like that, it should raise some red flags.”  

The recent article in Food Science & Nutrition unveiled the results of a year-long study by Japanese researchers that showed among participants who drank an average of one cup of unsalted tomato juice each day, some realized a lower their blood pressure during the study.

Dr. Rasmussen explained this study, like so many others, show that what people do or don’t put in their bodies can make a difference in their overall health.

“You can find a lot of indicators of what you put in your body and what you do and how you take care of yourself on a daily basis, that show that these things all really do have an effect on your blood pressure,” Dr. Rasmussen said. “I don’t think that this is a real definitive study, but it does show that more tomatoes in your diet, or tomato juice could be helpful.”

If you are going to start drinking more tomato juice, make sure it is unsalted, as was the case in this research. Dr. Rasmussen stressed that people should be careful because often when things come in bottles, cans, or boxes, they contain a lot of salt.

“So, you have to make sure you’re reading the labels carefully, because if you’re taking in too much salt, that can work against you and actually raise your blood pressure a little bit,” he said. “And people should still stay on their blood pressure medication, no matter how much unsalted tomato juice they drink.”

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called “the silent killer,” Dr. Rasmussen said.

“People feel totally fine, for the most part when they have high blood pressure,” he said. “It doesn’t cause any symptoms, most of the time. It slowly causes damage to your blood vessels and your heart. The big things that those things lead to that we worry about are strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease, or kidney failure.”

He likened one’s cardiovascular system to a set of pipes and a pump.

“If you think about a closed system with pipes and a pump, it’s supposed to be under a certain pressure; if there’s too much pressure, over time in that system, the pipes are going to break down and the pumps’ going to wear out,” Dr. Rasmussen said. “So, people get heart failure, when their heart, which is the pump, wears out. And the damage caused to their pipes, the blood vessels, can cause a variety of issues.”

For people who suffer with high blood pressure, two of the best ways to lower it are to lose weight and exercise regularly.

“The physics of how blood pressure works is if you lose weight, your blood pressure should go down with it, and you lose weight by exercising,” Dr. Rasmussen said.

Other things that help lower blood pressure include limiting alcohol and no tobacco use.  

It’s also helpful to find ways to relax, according to Dr. Rasmussen.

“Using different relaxation techniques can be a good thing, too, because reducing stress in our lives is important,” he said. “At times, that is difficult to do.”

He added that people may have to try different ways to relax before they find what works best for them, whether it’s meditation, reading, spending time with family or friends, listening to relaxation tapes, or a combination of many technicians.

“Lowering or reducing stress is one of those difficult challenges everybody faces,” he said. “Everybody has to find what works for them and then do it regularly. Getting stress under control can, in turn, lower a person’s blood pressure.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to a community of more than 600,000 residents in 14 counties and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals. ThedaCare has 180 locations including seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.