High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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Having high blood pressure is common in the UK, with estimates that a third of all adults in the region have it. Although many will not be aware, as it often does not show symptoms. If left untreated it can lead to potentially life-threatening complications such as heart attacks and strokes as it puts extra strain on the organs.
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers: the systolic pressure (the higher number) and diastolic pressure (lower).
Systolic pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
Like many medical conditions, diet can have an effect on your blood pressure.
With this in mind an expert spoke with Express.co.uk about the best foods to avoid if you are concerned about high blood pressure – which is also known as hypertension.
Nutrition consultant for Factory Weights, Chris Smith, said: “Believe it or not, tinned soups can also be surprisingly high in sodium.
“A single cup of soup can contain upwards of 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which is more than half of the recommended daily limit.
“If you frequently eat tins of soup, it’s important to check the nutrition label to ensure that it isn’t high in sodium or get a smoothie maker and throw in some vegetables and start making your own fresh soup.”
Salt raises blood pressure because it makes your body hold onto water and the extra water in the blood leads to extra pressure on your blood vessel walls.
Mr Smith shared five other foods and drinks to also avoid.
He said: “Coffee consumption is often a contributing factor to high blood pressure, this is because caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to increased heart rate and constriction of blood vessels.
“You don’t need to knock it on the head altogether unless your doctor recommends but if you’re knocking back several coffees a day you might want to think about cutting down.”
Mr Smith explained: “Trans fats are found in processed foods and are created when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oils in order to make them solid at room temperature.
“Trans fats have been linked to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. They’re a bad fat and increase bad cholesterol whilst lowering good cholesterol so stick to good fats, like the ones you’ll find in seeds, fish and nuts.”
“You may be surprised to learn that processed meats can raise your blood pressure,” he said.
“Processed meats are meats that have been treated to extend their shelf life, such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
“This means a lot of these meats are extra high in sodium content, so avoid these as much as you can.”
He commented: “Frozen meals are another food that can be packed with sodium and saturated fat and can send blood pressure rocketing.
“A single frozen dinner can often contain far more than your daily limit of sodium, so, for your blood pressure’s sake, you’re better off sticking with fresh food and cooking yourself.”
“Salty snacks like crisps, chip shop chips and nuts can also raise your blood pressure,” he added.
“These snacks are often high in sodium, which can cause your body to retain water and lead to an increase in blood pressure. If you’re a snacker, try keeping around some sugar-free sweets instead, you’d be amazed how much these will stave off salt cravings. “
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