High blood pressure is known
as arterial hypertension and is considered to occur when blood pressure readings
are constantly over 140/90 mmHg.
High blood pressure is one of the chief
coronary risk factors in the development of arteriosclerosis. Along with high
blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, obesity and diabetes, it is one of the
main health problems of the developed world.
Like other risk factors,
lifestyle can contribute to high blood pressure.
One in every four adults
is hypertensive. This increases the risk of early death because of the damage to
the body's arteries, especially the arteries that supply blood to the heart,
kidneys, brain and eyes.
Olive oil and blood
It has not yet been clearly
established what elements of the Mediterranean diet are responsible for its
effects in reducing blood pressure. It has been demonstrated, however, that the
addition of olive oil to a diet that is not changed in any other way has a clear
lowering effect on blood pressure, which seems to be specific to this oil.
Regular consumption of olive oil decreases both systolic (maximum) and diastolic
(minimum) blood pressure.
There is recent evidence that when olive oil
is consumed the daily dose of drugs needed to control blood pressure in
hypertensive patients can be decreased, possibly because of a reduction in
nitric acid caused by polyphenols.