High blood pressure: The exercise when performed regularly ‘can lower BP within 9 days’
This Morning: Dr Chris discusses blood pressure and dementia
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Dr Brewer not only had exercises to recommend, but a specific diet too.
Based on a low-salt intake, she calls it DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet.
She says this diet “is based on the Mediterranean way of eating and is high in olive oil, garlic, fruit, vegetables, nuts and low-fat dairy products, supplies protein in the form of fish and chicken rather than red meat, and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and refined carbohydrates”.
Dr Brewer elaborated: “The DASH diet works by increasing your intake of potassium, calcium, magnesium, antioxidant vitamins and fibre – all of which help to bring down a high blood pressure.”
The effect of the DASH diet can be profound.
If you lower the amount of salt in your system you “reduce fluid retention, improve the elasticity of your arteries and help bring your blood pressure down”, says Dr Brewer.
However, not all products in the local shop list their salt contents.
Instead check to see how much sodium they contain as salt is made of sodium.
If you’re looking for an alternative dietary addition then consider beetroot.
Dr Brewer says “beetroot is a rich source of nitrates, which are used to make nitric oxide that has a powerful dilating effect on blood vessels to lower your blood pressure”.
As well as eating more fruit and vegetables, there are food supplements you can take too. This includes magnesium.
Normally associated with reducing fatigue, taking a magnesium tablet can “relax artery and reduce arterial spasm”.
Furthermore, it can “lower blood pressure, protecting against calcification of the coronary arteries”. Research involving over half a million people shows that people with the highest dietary intakes of magnesium are 33 percent less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those with the lowest intakes.
It is recommended that you drink 250ml of beetroot juice to lower your blood pressure or eat 100g if you feel like cooking it.
This amount of beetroot can reportedly work better than some antihypertensive medicine.
While these lifestyle changes are useful, it is recommended that if you have any concerns, that you consult with your GP.
As well as changing your diet and recommending exercise, they may recommend medicines including ACE inhibitors.
Examples of these include enalapril, lisinopril, perindopril and ramipril.
If you suffer from any side effects, the NHS says you should stop taking the medication and talk to your doctor about alternative treatments such as those already mentioned above.
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