GP recommends five foods that could lower blood pressure
Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
Having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk for a number of serious health conditions.
It means your heart has to work harder than usual to pump blood around the body.
Over time this puts extra strain on the blood vessels and other organs and can lead to medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.
Diet is a major contributing factor when it comes to your blood pressure, with certain foods lowering it and others raising it.
With this in mind a GP spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the effect diet has on blood pressure.
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Doctor Johannes Uys, from Broadgate General Practice in London, recommended five foods that could help lower your reading.
“Vegetables like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium,” he said.
Sodium, which is found in salt, acts to raise blood pressure as it makes the body hold on to water.
This water then puts extra pressure on blood vessel walls.
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Dr Uys said: “Berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, are high in flavonoids, which have been associated with a reduced risk of hypertension.”
“The soluble fibre found in oats can contribute to lower blood pressure by reducing cholesterol levels,” he explained.
Nuts and seeds
He said: “These are good sources of magnesium and healthy fats, which have been linked to blood pressure reduction.”
Dr Uys added: “Consuming moderate amounts of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (70 percent or more) can have a positive impact on blood pressure due to its flavonoid content.”
He also recommended drinking hibiscus tea to bring down blood pressure.
“Studies suggest that drinking hibiscus tea may have an effect in lowering blood pressure due to its natural compounds,” he said.
Dr Uys also advised against eating too much of certain foods for the opposite reason.
Processed and high-sodium foods
He said: “Foods like fast food, canned soups, processed meats, and salty snacks can increase sodium intake, leading to water retention and higher blood pressure.”
“While the impact varies with each person, too much from sources like coffee, energy drinks, or certain teas may temporarily raise blood pressure,” he warned.
High blood pressure is considered to be from 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or 150/90mmHg if you’re over the age of 80.
Healthy blood pressure ranges from 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg – while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg.
The only way to be sure of your blood pressure levels is to get tested either by your GP or with an at home kit.
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