The two fruity drinks that can help lower blood pressure
Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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Also known as hypertension, having high blood pressure is common in the UK with around a third of adults thought to be living with the condition. It means your heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This puts extra strain on various organs, leaving you vulnerable to a range of health problems.
There are multiple factors that can cause or increase your chances of having hypertension.
This includes being overweight, not exercising enough, smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
But like many health conditions, diet is also a key factor.
Specifically, a diet high in salt is known to raise blood pressure.
This is because salt causes the body to hold onto water and this water puts pressure on blood vessel walls.
While cutting back on salt intake is a good place to start there are also certain foods that help the body get rid of salt.
Potassium works to help the body excrete sodium. It also relaxes blood vessels, meaning it can lower blood pressure.
The Harvard School of Public Health encourages eating a potassium-rich diet for this reason.
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“Potassium and sodium are closely interconnected but have opposite effects in the body,” it says.
“Both are essential nutrients that play key roles in maintaining physiological balance, and both have been linked to the risk of chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular disease.
“High salt intake increases blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, while high potassium intake can help relax blood vessels and excrete sodium while decreasing blood pressure.”
The health body recommends two types of drinks that can help reduce blood pressure due to their potassium content.
It lists orange juice and coconut water as healthy sources of potassium.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, orange juice contains 200mg of potassium for every 100g of juice.
Whereas, coconut water could be even more beneficial, containing 250mg of potassium for every 100g.
Other potassium-rich foods include:
- Dried fruits (raisins, apricots)
- Beans, lentils
- Butternut squash
- Spinach, broccoli
- Beet greens
- Dairy and plant milks
- Cashews, almonds
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers.
Systolic pressure is the higher number and refers to the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
Diastolic pressure (the lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).
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