Does oatmeal lower blood pressure? Could this normal and everyday food that can be bought at any grocery store be the key to getting your blood pressure down to how the levels? Is this the secret weapon you have been waiting for?
You have probably heard plenty of times that consuming a low sodium diet is the way to go… It is all about sodium. Sodium is the enemy, but is oatmeal the ally?
I completely understand why consuming oatmeal to lower blood pressure is something that you hope works. After all, oatmeal is cheap, delicious, and can be consumed in a variety of different ways… Oh yeah, and it is natural. I think just about anyone would rather lower their blood pressure naturally compared to taking medications that could potentially have harmful side effects.
But anyways… YES, oatmeal does help lower BP and this is not just some folk medicine with no hard proof backing up these claims. A study published in the Journal of Family Practice showed that adding oats to your diet can reduce both systolic and diastolic BP by as much as 7.5 and 5.5 points respectively. In the study there were two groups compared, one which consumed a low fiber diet and another which consumed a high fiber diet of oats over a six-week period… The group that consumed the high fiber diet consisting of oats having a profound effect on the lowering of blood pressure.
The Problem With High Blood Pressure
But what’s the problem with high blood pressure anyhow… Is it really that big of a deal?
Of course it is and since you are reading this article I am guessing you are already well aware of this.
High blood pressure is pretty straightforward… It is high pressure inside your blood vessels that places in unnecessary strain on your cardiovascular system. It makes your heart work harder than it should as well as your blood vessels in addition to making everything less efficient at doing their job. Thus the heart, which is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood and nutrients throughout the body, works harder and has less output.
But besides that there are a number of other problems like income from high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be the gateway to all sorts of things that you don’t want, the worst being heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes. It is commonly associated with higher levels of cholesterol buildup because of how the insides of the arteries become damaged with micro tears, leading to cholesterol not flowing smoothly throughout and instead getting stuck to the walls, which can build up.
But besides having an effect on your cardiovascular system and increasing the risk for related diseases such as heart disease, high BP also leads to a lot of problems that you might not think are directly related, such as increased weight gain… Which can in turn lead to just about every problem under the sun.
Why Oatmeal Can Help
But what is it about oatmeal that can help your body out to lower blood pressure? Well… A few of the reasons it helps our because it…
It’s High In Fiber
According to WebMD,oatmeal ranks in the top 10 for sources of fiber, containing about 4 g per cup of cooked oats. And it doesn’t matter how you consume it… Cooked or not, it’s going to be a good source of fiber.
Diets high in fiber are associated with significantly lower rates of hypertension. A large meta-analysis of clinical trials that I came across suggests that fiber intake may reduce BP.
It Helps Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol and blood pressure have a complicated relationship. High levels of cholesterol can put you at a higher risk of getting high blood pressure, and vice versa as I mentioned in the previous section.
The reason high levels of cholesterol can increase your blood pressure is because of how your arterial walls will become blocked and blood flow will become restricted as cholesterol builds up. Blocked blood flow means that your heart has to be artery and that your blood really has to squeeze and push itself more than it should in order to get where needs to go.
MayoClinic suggests that the reason oatmeal helps to lower cholesterol is because of its soluble fiber content, which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your blood. Basically the soluble fiber soaks up the cholesterol itself so that your body can get rid of it.
Provides Good Minerals
Oatmeal it is also a decent source of minerals such as potassium and calcium, which are proven to help lower blood pressure.
In 1 cup of cooked oatmeal you are getting about 143 mg of potassium. Now there is no real RDA (recommended daily allowance) set for how much of this mineral you should be getting, because deficiency in potassium is rare, but 143 mg is a nice little dose nonetheless.
Potassium and sodium are things that you want to keep in a nice healthy balance. You do need some sodium, but of course you don’t want too much. Potassium helps keep the negative pro-hypertensive effects of salt (high in sodium) at bay.
When it comes to calcium you’re getting about 187 mg in 1 cup of cooked oatmeal. In addition to that, many people will eat their oatmeal with milk which is also a good source of calcium. The RDA for this mineral is around 1000 mg a day for adults.
187mg might not sound like much per serving, but it is better than nothing.
Low calcium intake has been shown to be related to high BP and other cardiovascular diseases. Koreans actually have a high rate of hypertension and, as expected, the consumed diets very low in calcium.
Fatty Acids Can Help
Fatty acids can also be good for your BP and oatmeal has several. Per 100 g you get about 0.11 g of omega-3 and 2.42 g of omega-6 fats.
Now there is a lot of talk about omega-6 fats promoting inflammation and blood vessel constriction, which would lead to higher BP. However, there is now a lot of new information coming out and research being done showing that this fatty acid also does the opposite… Helping improve blood circulation and lower BP.
Omega-3 fats can also help and are commonly promoted in healthy heart supplements. For example, fish oil is high in omega-3 fats and I’m sure you have heard of people taking this in supplement form before. Just about every bottle of fish oil that you will find at the store will mention how it is healthy for your heart, or maybe have a picture of a heart on it.
But It’s Just One Piece of The Puzzle
While oatmeal is a good food to add to the lineup of natural BP lowering health foods, this is definitely not something that is going to work all on its own. It is just one piece of the puzzle… It is just one food that you should add to your arsenal to get rid of your high blood pressure problem and keep it that way for good.
If you really want to get rid of high BP, and get rid of it fast… Naturally, then you should take a holistic approach. You can do all sorts of things to help lower blood pressure, some of which include…
- Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains (this is where oatmeal falls in), white meats such as fish & chicken
- Reduce salt intake
- Stay active
- Lose excess weight
- Stop smoking if you do and restrict alcohol consumption
- Try to relax more
Of course there is the eating part of the equation and how you should eat a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains in white meats, all the while reducing your salt intake, but there’s a lot more you can do. Exercise and staying active has been shown to also have a big effect on blood pressure, partly because it can help you lose excess weight (if you have any) which is often linked to high BP. And if you are a smoker or a heavy consumer of alcohol, you are going to want to cut back on that for sure. And of course RELAX… You need to try to relax more and reduce those stress levels. Something as simple as relaxing more throughout the day, taking a few minutes here and there to ease your mind, maybe through meditation or something like that, can have an effect.
So in closing, yes oatmeal can help lower blood pressure and if you are not already consuming this delicious natural grain then you might want to think about adding it into your diet. However, it is not going to be a one-stop solution by any means. It is just a heart healthy food that can help reduce BP in a number of different ways in that has many other health benefits to it.
But anyways… I hope you found this post helpful, and if so, please give it a share to help spread the word. If you have any comments or questions just leave them them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂