High blood pressure: Frozen fish may be a lesser-known ‘culprit’, according to health body
Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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High blood pressure is difficult to catch because it rarely produces symptoms. Because it often exists in conjunction with other conditions in the body, such as high cholesterol and high blood sugar levels, it can cause exponential damage to the heart. High salt intake is one of the biggest contributors to the condition
One of the main offenders for high blood pressure is salt, which prompts the body to retain fluids.
The Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health explains: “The human body requires a small amount of sodium to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain the proper balance of water and minerals.
“It is estimated that we need about 500 mg of sodium daily for these vital functions.
“But too much sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It can also cause calcium losses, some of which may be pulled from the bone.”
READ MORE: Gum disease may cause hypertension warns study – ‘Triggers inflammatory response’
Oily fish, on the other hand, is widely touted for its protective effects on the brain and heart because it is an important source of polyunsaturated fat omega-3.
When fish is frozen, however, it may pose health complications due to its high salt content.
Frozen fish tend to contain higher levels of sodium because they are brined in a salt solution.
For this reason, the medical group Durham Nephrology Associates, explains that frozen foods are generally best avoided for individuals with high blood pressure.
The group’s website explains: “These foods can be convenient, however many of them contain large amounts of added salt to preserve flavour through the canning, packaging, or freezing process.
“A common culprit for high sodium among frozen foods is frozen pizza. Frozen pizzas with thick crust and lots of toppings are especially high in sodium.
“[But] frozen seafood and meats may also have added salt.”
How to reduce blood pressure
Checking blood pressure regularly is one of the most effective ways to stay on top of your health.
A reading is broken down into two numbers, which represent systolic pressure (the top number) and diastolic pressure (the bottom number).
Systolic blood pressure is generally deemed the most important of the two numbers because it offers a clearer indication of one’s stroke and heart attack risk.
Exercise has been shown to reduce blood pressure readings by 10 points – a drop significant enough to prevent the onset of hypertension.
Foods that have positive effects on blood pressure include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, beans, nuts, wholegrain, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats.
Generally speaking, diets that help control blood pressure are rich in potassium, magnesium and fibre.
These nutrients help the body expel more sodium through urination, as well as ease tension in the vessel’s walls.
Research shows the nutrients may have these effects by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes arteries.
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