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Digital Subscriptions > PlantBased > May-17 > Don’t get High get Healthy

Don’t get High get Healthy

High blood pressure is almost entirely preventable and yet devastates millions of lives, including the young. Juliet Gellatley of Viva! reveals how you can defeat it with a vegan diet

Here’s a fun party icebreaker! What’s the number one risk factor for death in the world? I’ll guarantee that almost no one gets the right answer – which is, high blood pressure (hypertension). And yet this silent killer lays waste to the lives of nine million people every year in the UK, and its victims are becoming ever younger.

An alarming one-fifth of 24-32 year olds have high blood pressure; one third of men and one quarter of women aged 40 have it and by the age of 70, we’re expected to have it as if it is an inevitable part of aging — and most of us do. It kills so many because it plays a part in a range of fatal conditions, including heart attacks, aneurysms, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure. What’s particularly alarming is that damage starts at only small increases above normal levels. Brain scientists have recently made the startling discovery that by age 40, the brain of a person with clinically high blood pressure of 140/90, looks seven years older than the brain of a person with normal blood pressure. The Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California, Davis, USA show that even slightly raised blood pressure, if persistent, causes brain injury and premature brain aging. The higher the systolic blood pressure, the more severe the harm. These findings are consistent with previous research that links hypertension to brain damage. But this is the first study to show an association beginning so early in life and inflicting the type of injury that causes cognitive decline and dementia. In other words, brain damage caused by high blood pressure in our 30s and 40s causes dementia later in life. Dr Charles DeCarli, senior author of this study and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center says: “The message here is really clear: people can influence their late-life brain health by knowing and treating their blood pressure at a young age, when you wouldn’t necessarily be thinking about it. The people in our study were cognitively normal, so a lack of symptoms doesn’t mean anything.”

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About PlantBased

I am constantly amazed and inspired by how innovative and creative we can be with food – especially when it comes to plant-based food. I am a huge believer in the idea that eating vegan is not only healthier and more ethical, it can be tastier too. But many people are used to the idea of meat and two veg on a plate, so cooking without animal ingredients can be a bit of an enigma at first. Luckily Cook Vegan is on hand to take the mystery out of plant-based cuisine with a whole host of features, recipes and articles to help you get busy in the kitchen. Have you ever wanted to create delicious batches of homemade bread? It’s not that difficult, and we show you how with this issue’s Cook Like a Pro feature. We even have a special gluten-free recipe – it is possible to make delicious gluten-free bread without eggs, and we’ve searched high and low to bring you our favourite recipe for doing just that (hint: save your tinned chickpea water). Something we often hear about is how difficult it can be meal planning. People regularly get stuck in the rut of eating the same dishes all the time because it’s easier to throw them together, and easier to grab the same old ingredients from the supermarket every time. This is why I think cookbook writer Heather Crosby’s new tome YumUniverse Pantry to Plate is genius – the innovative foodie has created a number of recipes which can be endlessly customised depending on what flavour you fancy and what food you have in your fridge. Cook Vegan sat down with Heather to talk about her ideas and influences around food. She also kindly shared some recipes with us. Foodie and blogger Jacqueline Meldrum has put together a really special feature about your veg box – and how to make the most of the delicious produce inside. Each issue she will create a guide (with recipes) giving you inspiration for all the tasty ingredients. No more wasted veg!

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