Recently there is a very compelling scientific news: Experts at Peking University Clinical Research Institute rely on a “Chinese-style heart-healthy diet”, no drugs, in Significantly lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients in just 4 weeks!
According to the data in this research paper, the effect of changing the diet really looks amazing. A total of 265 hypertensive patients participated in the study, and in just one month, systolic blood pressure dropped by 10 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure dropped by 3.8 mmHg. There were no adverse reactions, and the patients who participated in the experiment also felt that the three meals were not unpleasant, and they were similar to their own meals…
The study assessed the taste of food. On a 100-point scale for what you’re used to eating, this heart-healthy meal has a delicious score of 97.
A friend asked me: Is this true? Is it possible to make such a big change in blood pressure just by changing what you eat? If it is true, then what is the intractable high blood pressure, maybe half of the people can return to normal!
I say: any research result has a premise.
High blood pressure can be caused by many things. If high blood pressure is the result of eating poorly, changing your diet can do wonders. Because it just solved the cause!
If it’s something else, not necessarily. For example, someone has a tumor on the adrenal gland, or high blood pressure caused by cervical spondylosis, which cannot be solved by changing the diet alone. For another example, some people’s blood pressure rises because of excessive mental stress and severe insomnia. It is difficult to completely solve the problem by eating, but it may be slightly improved.
Friend said: I understand this. However, the majority of people who get high blood pressure from eating the wrong way are probably.
I said: You are so right. I looked at the data of this study. How should I put it, according to their original way of eating, it is not surprising to suffer from high blood pressure. This heart-healthy meal has achieved such a great effect just by basically reaching a nutritionally reasonable state, which shows how badly they ate before…
My friend said: I saw those heart-healthy eating methods, and I don’t think they have much technical content? What kind of fried vermicelli with cabbage, the nutritional value of this dish is not high, how can it be included in a heart-healthy diet. I thought I would give you some star healthy ingredients like salmon, avocado, arugula, blueberry kiwi, etc.
I said: You are wrong. The significance of this recipe is that it is purely Chinese, without those foreign ingredients that seem to be tall. It may seem bland and not expensive, but the recipe content really changes a lot and is heart-healthy.
The first is that the amount of salt (sodium) you eat has changed.
The text makes it clear that these people eat an average of 6,000 mg of sodium per day. After eating this healthy meal, they only eat 3,000 mg of sodium per day, which is a full reduction in half! If nothing else, the blood pressure will change just by losing so much salt!
My friend said: You used to eat 6 grams of salt, but now you eat 3 grams of salt? How bland and tasteless!
I say: Please see, 6000 mg of sodium is not 6 grams of salt!
Knowledge point 1
Learn to convert sodium and salt content. 1000 mg of sodium = 2.54 g of salt. Do the math, 6000 mg of sodium, that’s 16.24 grams of salt. 3000 mg of sodium, which is about 8 grams of salt.
My daily cooking is about 6~8 grams of salt (including the salt in soy sauce and sauce), and the taste is not too bland. Every dish has a salty taste, sometimes a small piece of fermented bean curd or half a salted duck egg is eaten in the morning.
My friend was surprised again: you can actually eat fermented bean curd! I can’t even eat it.
I said: As long as the total sodium content does not exceed the standard, why not eat it. Don’t label food. What is needed is the overall effect. I bought the fermented bean curd product with the lowest sodium content, one-third less salt than the high-sodium product. I also use low sodium for cooking.
Knowledge point 2
You can get 1/4 to 1/3 less salt by using low-sodium and reduced-salt products. The premise is that the same amount of ordinary salt is added before, and no extra is added.
In addition, cooking food properly can also help reduce salt. The study involved culinary experts, who used cooking techniques to make dishes less salty and less unpalatable, and subjects were more receptive to healthy eating. Put more spices, more vinegar and lemon juice, and a small amount of pepper to make the dish more flavorful without affecting the blood pressure control effect.
Knowledge point 3
Avoid pickling food in advance, and add salt or soy sauce to taste when cooking, and you can easily get 1/3 the effect of reducing sodium salt with less impact on taste.
My friend said: Alright, alright, the salt reduction effect of this recipe is really big enough. What’s more rare than that?
Second, it greatly increases the supply of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
The heart-healthy diet increased potassium intake by an average of 1753 mg per day and calcium intake by an average of 413 mg per day compared to the meals the subjects ate before, almost a full increase times. The daily intake of potassium can meet or exceed the recommended value of 3600 mg for the prevention of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure.
Friend said: I heard that people with high blood pressure should eat a high potassium and low sodium diet. Isn’t this calcium and magnesium to prevent osteoporosis?
Potassium, calcium, and magnesium all work against the blood pressure-boosting effects of sodium. When they work together, the lowering effect is better.
I said: I am proud by the way, the nutritional recipes I made on Weibo, including blood sugar control recipes and blood pressure control recipes, all contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium to the heart A healthy diet is required, and the supply of many B vitamins is even higher. If you don’t believe me, you can look at the data.
If you don’t know how to eat a high-potassium diet, check out this article I wrote in 2015. This article has been highly appreciated by many doctors, and it has also helped many hypertensive patients to solve the problem of potassium supplementation.
A friend asked: How to supplement calcium and magnesium?
I say: For calcium, add soy products, milk yogurt and non-astringent green leafy vegetables. For magnesium, increase soy products and green leafy vegetables.
Third, this heart-healthy meal also pays attention to fat control.
Chinese residents generally eat too much oil for cooking, and the proportion of fat for energy has almost doubled compared to 40 years ago. Compared with the subjects’ regular diet, the fat-to-energy ratio was reduced by 11%. This is not small data, and it is also of great significance to losing weight. Cooking with less oil and choosing low-fat varieties of meat and dairy ingredients can reduce the fat ratio.
Reduces fat in meat, which can reduce saturated fat intake. Reducing the frying oil, in most cases, reduces the intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which helps to improve the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, thereby reducing the inflammatory response.
Knowledge Point 5
Some seed oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Such as corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, wheat germ oil, ordinary peanut oil, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
Olive oil, tea seed oil, canola oil, high oleic peanut oil, almond oil, etc. are mainly monounsaturated fatty acids, and the total amount of omega-6 fatty acids is small.
Flax, perilla and peony oils are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
My friend said: My family thought that imported sunflower oil was very good, so I bought this for cooking. It seems that I used it wrong.
I said: In fact, for most families, not to mention what oil to use, it is possible to reduce cooking oil, frying and stir-frying, which is already good for heart health. helped. Repeated heating of oil will produce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carcinogens, and trans fatty acids. Acrylamide, which is produced when heated at high temperatures, is also a pro-inflammatory substance. When eaten in excess, these ingredients are bad for cardiovascular health.
Fourth, heart-healthy meals improve the quality of staple foods.
The daily staple food of Chinese people is mostly rice, porridge, steamed buns, cakes, noodles, etc. made of refined rice and white flour, and the proportion of whole grains and mixed beans is seriously insufficient. To improve heart health, you need to increase the “high-quality carbohydrates” ingredients such as whole grains and beans. In a heart-healthy meal, multigrain ingredients are added to pasta and whole grains and beans are added to rice. This not only effectively increases dietary fiber, but also enriches the supply of potassium, magnesium and B vitamins.
I myself have advocated for many years that people eat multigrain rice, multigrain porridge, oatmeal and multigrain pancakes. This practice is not only good for heart health, it also helps prevent diabetes, and it can also help you lose weight. Of course, the specific addition of whole grain and mixed beans, and how much to add, also depends on the digestive capacity.
When I have a weak stomach, I have to reduce the proportion of whole grains and beans to less than one-third, but I still rarely eat pure white rice when I cook at home, otherwise The nutritional quality of the diet is difficult to achieve.
Fifth, this diet has enough vegetables, fruits and milk.
I don’t need to say more about the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Everyone knows that the key is that the quantity must meet the recommendations of the dietary guidelines. For example, the same fried cabbage with fans, how many cabbage and how many fans are there? Naturally, it is better to have more cabbage and less fans. You can’t just eat one dish at a time, and the variety should also be diversified.
Milk provides protein, calcium, and potassium, which are also needed in a blood pressure-controlling diet. However, to control saturated fat intake, skim milk is used in the recipe.
A friend asked: My father-in-law has cerebrovascular disease. Is this recipe suitable for him too? What about my five- or six-year-old children?
I said: This way of eating is good for various cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, stroke, etc. It is also good for the prevention and control of diabetes. Benefits.
Five or six-year-olds can eat three meals normally and can eat heart-healthy meals together. Children eat some whole grains properly, reduce cooking oil, and eat less sweets and sweet drinks. They will grow stronger, have better physical strength, and are not easy to gain weight. However, after all, children don’t need to control blood pressure, but they need more protein supply. You can add some yogurt, and milk does not need to be skimmed. Sometimes it’s okay to eat ice cream.
My friend said with emotion: In this way, there is really a lot of knowledge in this heart-healthy diet.
Knowledge point 6
The American Heart Association’s 2021 heart-healthy dietary guidelines recommend increasing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish and poultry, moderate intake of low-fat dairy products, and a reduction in red meat (especially processed meat), alcohol, salt, sugar, and saturated fat, and avoid highly processed foods and sweetened beverages.
Of course, pay attention to sleep well, stay in a good mood, don’t get too tired, and get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.
As long as you stick to these healthy eating habits for a long time, your body will naturally get better and various indicators will be improved.
My friend said: But if I was asked to think about what to eat every day, all aspects of nutrition must be balanced, healthy and delicious, I really can’t care about my energy. It would be great if someone made this kind of nutritious meal for me and delivered it to my home every day, or had a canteen to eat.
I said: Exactly. This study, in conjunction with culinary experts, madeheart-healthy diets into four flavors of Shandong cuisine, Cantonese cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Huaiyang cuisine, and recipes designed by nutritionists, trained by trained The chef came to provide the food, so it achieved such a good blood pressure reduction effect.
If the recipe is just given to patients, or even just a sample, so that they can do it themselves, I am afraid it will be difficult to operate in place, and it will be difficult to achieve the blood pressure target.
So…that underscores the importance of healthy food service that provides nutritious meals!
Now, when it comes to eating out, it means that the nutrition is not balanced, the cooking is unhealthy, and it can only satisfy the taste and enjoyment. Chefs seldom think about how to cook a reasonable nutritious meal with less oil and less salt, so that a healthy diet becomes delicious and easy to accept.
I don’t think the scientific content of the study itself is much subversive, nor is the effect surprising. Its greatest significance is to tell the Chinese that if a healthy diet is really implemented on the table, its health benefits are huge!
It doesn’t matter how you eat in China or foreign countries, it doesn’t matter what kind of cuisine you have, and the price of ingredients doesn’t matter. What is important is what kinds of ingredients are included, whether oil and salt reduction can be achieved, whether whole grains can be eaten, and whether the variety and quantity of vegetables can meet the standards.
I look forward to the future of catering services, which can be divided into two types. One genre focuses on serving delicious food for more holiday cheer and party fun. The other type focuses on providing healthy food, so that people can eat reasonable daily meals for disease prevention and weight loss at reasonable prices, and eat Chinese-style nutritious meals instead of expensive light meals with Western styles. In particular, nutrition guidance should be strengthened for all kinds of canteens, because canteens are a convenient source of people’s daily diet. If they can be done scientifically and reasonably, it will play a very important role in the public’s healthy diet.
I hope that with the strong evidence provided by this study, the government will be determined to enact nutrition regulations and actually implement enhanced nutrition in the cafeteria and catering industry guiding policy.
On the other hand, We should also strengthen the technical research on Chinese healthy diet. In the past, we only studied how to make the tongue more pleasing, and now we need to study how to make it healthy enough to taste better. At the launching ceremony of the Nutrition Week in the past two years, I have made reports on healthy cooking, which also shows that the nutrition industry is paying more and more attention to the implementation of healthy meals.
Friend said: I am really looking forward to these research results!
I said: At the same time, there should be more effective evaluation criteria for healthy meals… Thinking that the relevant research at hand is not yet finished, let’s work hard.
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Fan Zhihong_original nutritional information
Beijing Food Nutrition and Human Health Advanced Innovation Center Post Scientist
Director of Chinese Nutrition Society
Director of China Association of Health Promotion and Health Education
China Association for Science and Technology hires chief expert in nutrition science communication
PhD in Food Science, China Agricultural University