High blood pressure: The diet to stick to this Christmas Day to keep your reading in check
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Indeed, there are certain lifestyle factors, such as diet, which can have a massive impact on your blood pressure levels. As many as five million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so will not know that they are at risk, according to the British Heart Foundation.
The NHS says: “Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.”
Blood pressure is defined as the force put on your blood vessels and organs as blood is pumped around your body by your heart.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure, higher number, is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure, lower number, is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
“Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control,” says the NHS.
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Dr Sarah Brewer, Healthspan Medical Director, has outlined a diet that you can follow this Christmas to keep your blood pressure levels in check.
She suggests that you avoid salty foods, and “don’t add salt during cooking or at the table.”
It is also a good idea to choose foods from the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which the doctor said “is essentially a slightly westernised
version of the Mediterranean diet”.
“It is high in 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,” stated Dr Sarah.
The doctor added: “Following the DASH diet significantly lowers blood pressure in those who already have high readings, and in those without hypertension – suggesting it may even help to prevent the age-related rise in blood pressure that commonly occurs”
The health expert explains that the DASH diet works by increasing your intake of potassium, calcium, magnesium and antioxidant vitamins, and its high fibre content “slows the absorption of fats and sugars so they are more easily handled in the body”.
She noted: “The DASH diet is now advised as the first-line approach to treating hypertension, before medication is started.
“It’s so powerful that, together with other lifestyle changes, it can help you avoid the need for drug treatment.”
The NHS has also outlined some other lifestyle changes which can help prevent and lower high blood pressure.
It says you should reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet, cut back on alcohol, lose weight if you’re overweight, cut down on caffeine, and if you are a smoker you should stop smoking.
Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take medicines.
If you are over the age of 40, the NHS says you should be getting it checked every five years.
The prevalence of high blood pressure for adults in England in 2015 was 31 percent among men and 26 percent among women, with little change over the last few years, according to Public Health England (PHE).
This is considered to place a considerable strain on the NHS, and can cause several negative complications.
The UK government says that it is projected to affect more than 1.5 billion people around the world by 2025.
PHE suggests that half the adult population in England do not know what their blood pressure reading is.
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