High blood pressure: The small sweet treat that can help lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure: NHS doctor explains causes

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High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, cases worldwide have almost doubled in the last three decades and continue to rise. According to the office for national statistics (ONS), high blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in England and around 12.5 million people each year.

High blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms. However, if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Various risk factors can be responsible for hypertension:

  • Diet
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity.

Even with a lack of symptoms, high blood pressure can cause serious damage to blood vessels and organs such as the brain.

High blood pressure means the elevated pressure is too much for your arteries and organs to handle.

It is therefore important to regulate and monitor your blood pressure to prevent heart and kidney diseases.

One way of doing this naturally is to modify your diet and include foods that have a positive effect on your blood pressure, as well as knowing what foods to stay away from.

The sweetness of berries – especially blueberries – are rich in natural compounds known as flavonoids.

A study found that consuming the compounds found in berries can lower your blood pressure and prevent hypertension.

Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet and can be consumed with other foods too.

One way to easily mix them into your diet could be in cereal or as a desert.

A separate study, published by The Journals of Gerontology, revealed that eating a cup of blueberries every day may help your blood pressure.

The results found that consuming 200 grams of blueberries daily can improve blood vessel function and decrease your blood pressure score.

Researchers recruited 40 healthy men and randomly gave them a drink containing 200 grams of whole wild blueberries.

The team also monitored the men’s blood pressure as well as the flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery in their upper arms.

This measures how the artery widens when blood flow increases and is a marker of reduced cardiovascular disease risk.

The researchers found that flow-mediated dilation improved by around two percent within two hours of consuming the blueberry drink and the impact was sustained after one month of daily consumption.

Knowing what foods to cut out of your diet can be even tougher than incorporating new foods into your lifestyle. Dietitian, Garima Goyal, explained that it is not as simple as reducing salt in your diet: “I don’t recommend you to stop having salt or the tongue savouring foods as there are other alternatives too.

“Like, using alternate seasonings which are not only low in sodium but also improve the palatability of your food. For example, use a variety of condiments, flavouring agents such as lemon, vinegar, herbs, tamarind extract, spices, onion, garlic etc.”

The dietitian also advised that cutting out ready meals that are high in sodium is also a perfect way to reduce your blood pressure. Most importantly, she said, was to quit smoking and alcohol to avoid hypertension.

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