I recently went to the doctor and was informed that I’m pre-hyperensive. This means that I have borderline high blood pressure. This is frustrating since I’m average weight (6’2 180 lbs), eat fairly well, and exercise 3 – 5 days per week. In response to the news I purchased a bottle of wine and drowned my frustrations in a bottle of the world’s nastiest, most arsenic ridden fermented grapes sold in the Western hemisphere. The grocery store known as Aldi may be many things, but a purveyor of fine wines they are not.
It turns out that I was on the right track, but with the wrong class of alcohol. I should have drowned my woes in beer. Some article on MSN now claims that having a reasonable amount of beer lowers your blood pressure. There’s probably some truth to that, but I’m skeptical of these kinds of articles. You can look at almost any variable and find ways of showing that it lowers or increases your blood pressure. Don’t believe me?
Here’s an article stating that both beer and wine raise blood pressure.
Here’s an article stating bacon lowers blood pressure.
Here’s an article confirming that Snickers bars are good for you.
You can Google just about anything and find evidence supporting or denying whether its good or bad for you (with the exception of Doritos; everyone agrees those are terrible for you).
Ironically, these constantly conflicting sources provide me with a sense of calmness. Rather than stress over whether I should eat avocados versus quinoa, these studies confirm that a moderate diet of carbs, fats, and proteins will generally produce healthy results. None of these studies mentions whether the participants were regulated in other areas of their lives. For example, can you really say that beer lowers your blood pressure if the participants suddenly monitor every single calories they’re eating and naturally end up eating a generally healthier diet in response to the study?
No, of course not. There are more variables at play than we can measure with a simple study. As such, it’s good to note that there is no singularly bad food out there destined to give you cancer. Also, there’s no silver bullet for eating well. Rather, all good things in moderation.
Moderation isn’t sexy. This blog post isn’t going to sell ads. Nobody wants to hear that a diet with mostly vegetables and lean meats with lots of exercise is what you need to be healthy. And for those of us who do all that and still have problems, then we likely have our genetics to blame.
It’s not fair that some people can eat asbestos, snort cigarettes, and breathe nothing but car exhaust without a single negative health effect. But it’s also unfair that kids are born into poor African and Asian countries destined for lives of war, poverty, and a generally shitty time. Things could be worse. If it turns out that I’m generally predisposed to have high blood pressure, then I just have to remember that I’ll never have the luxury of taking lots of time off of cardio. I’ll be running, rowing, and swimming until the day I die. This isn’t fatalism or some sad recognition of my fate. It’s a happy acceptance that things are the way they’re going to be for me.
I didn’t expect a click bait article to lead to a realization that everything’s going to be okay. I’m confident MSN didn’t expect that either.