Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can occur for a number of reasons, but one leading factor can be diet. As a result, according to the NHS: “High blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking.”
Though there are a number of foods people should try to cut down on if they are at risk, there is some evidence to suggest that adding others into the diet in moderation could also play a beneficial role.
The NHS advises people to eat “plenty of fruit and vegetables” in their diet, and according to some research, citrus fruits, in particular, could have some “heart healthy” benefits.
According to the 2016 study ‘The Role of Dietary Components in Modulating Hypertension’, drinking orange, lemon and grapefruit juice may help reduce blood pressure.
However, experts from Healthline note: “Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with common blood-pressure-lowering medications, so consult your healthcare provider before adding this fruit to your diet.”
During a five-month study in 2014 involving 101 Japanese women, scientists found that daily lemon juice intake combined with walking was significantly correlated with reductions in SBP, an effect that the researchers attributed to the citric acid and flavonoid content of lemons.
The reason citrus fruits, and their freshly squeezed juices, are thought to be beneficial is due to the vast amount of vitamins and minerals within them.
Healthline explains: “They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that may help keep your heart healthy by reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure.”
Regardless of the types of fruit and vegetables you prefer to eat, the NHS recommends eating at least five portions per day.
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What are the risks of high blood pressure?
According to the NHS, around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it.
Though hypertension can be controlled if caught early enough, if left untreated it can lead to potentially fatal conditions.
As a result, high blood pressure is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer”.
The NHS explains: “If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.”
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- heart disease
- heart attacks
- heart failure
- peripheral arterial disease
- aortic aneurysms
- kidney disease
- vascular dementia
For people with high blood pressure, even reducing it a small amount can help to drastically lower their risk of these health conditions.
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