Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart, eventually causing heart disease. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep your reading in check. Worryingly, poor dietary choices could be the very trigger for hypertension.
While there is no single food that will send your blood pressure levels through the roof, there are some dietary choices that should be either limited or avoided, according to an expert.
From salty foods to coffee, Vicky Godfrey, Nutritional Therapist and Co-Founder of DNA pal shared the culprits to be mindful of.
1.Ditch the salty foods
According to Blood Pressure UK, salt is the “single biggest cause” of hypertension out there.
Godfrey said: “Consuming too much salt can increase blood pressure by causing the body to retain water, leading to an increase in blood volume.
READ MORE: Six foods that could be fuelling heart disease – ‘Avoid or limit’ say cardiologists
“High salty foods such as processed foods, takeaways, fast foods, canned soups, pickles, and salted snacks should be limited or avoided.”
Worryingly, some unexpected food items like dried fish, soy sauce, gravy granules and pasta sauces could also be packed with salt, the charity explains.
Blood Pressure UK, therefore, recommends looking at food labels and avoiding foods with high salt content, which is 1.5 grams or more per 100 grams of food.
2.Sugar and sugary drinks
Consuming too much sugar can make you gain weight, leading to high blood pressure.
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Godfrey said: “Sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks can be especially problematic.
“It’s important to limit added sugars in the diet by avoiding sugary snacks and drinks.”
According to the NHS, adults should have no more than 30 grams of free sugar a day, which is roughly the equivalent to seven sugar cubes.
Worryingly, people often eat more than this, with just a can of popular sugary drinks often containing more than this amount, Blood Pressure UK explains.
READ MORE: How to tackle high blood pressure
3.Saturated and trans fats
Foods high in saturated and trans fats can lay the groundwork for high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol.
Worryingly, both high cholesterol and hypertension are considered the precursors of heart disease.
Godfrey said: “Foods to avoid or limit include red meat, full-fat dairy products, butter, and fried foods.”
Godfrey said: “It’s recommended that men limit their alcohol intake to two drinks per day and women limit their intake to one drink per day.
“Red wine is the best choice to support heart health due to the resveratrol in the red skin in the grapes.”
Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that might help prevent damage to blood vessels and reduce “bad” cholesterol levels.
While the effects of caffeine on blood pressure are mild, research suggests that caffeine can cause a temporary increase in your reading.
Godfrey added: “It’s recommended that individuals with high blood pressure limit their caffeine intake by avoiding energy drinks, coffee, and tea.”
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