Could "Home Grown" Increase Blood Pressure Levels?

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

I love summertime dining, farm stand meals, and harvesting my own crops from my container garden. (This week, I even cut and zip locked our own fresh basil, oregano, mint, and chives to take on vacation with us!)

But, I was recently perusing a friends gardening eLetter when I came across an important tip. If you reside in an older home that was ever painted with lead paint—even if those painted wood, shingles, trim, stucco, brick, or what-have-you was covered over with some kind of siding—never plant any edibles in beds next to the house. That means never plant fruit, veggies, herbs, or fruit-bearing trees in the soil near the house known—or suspected—to have been painted with lead-based paint.

Lead can leach out of weathered paint and remain in the soil for a long time. The lead is then absorbed by the plants, which is very dangerous.  We should be especially aware of this exposure for pregnant women and children.  Of course, all of us must avoid lead contamination!

When I shared this info with Dr. Sinatra, he was reminded of a famous French vineyard that was planted close to a highway. Leaded gas fumes penetrated the soils, and the wine was contaminated with lead when it was tested.

In the cardiology world, higher levels of lead in the body are associated with high blood pressure levels and an increased risk for heart attack in men. Excess lead in the body can cause also renal failure, and for our children, behavioral problems and more.

So, if you have an older home that may have been painted with a lead-based product, just don’t take any chances. Plant colorful flowers and shrubs for display close to the house, but nothing that could end up on your plate and/or in your body.

For more great information on cardiovascular nutrition or ways to lower blood pressure levels, visit Dr. Sinatra's Web site.

 

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