High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure describes the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. When this pressure exceeds the normal threshold, it forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around the body. Over time, this can pave the way for a heart attack so it is critical to lower a high blood pressure reading.
Fortunately, simple dietary tweaks can lower high blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are shown to reduce blood pressure.
One study examined the blood pressure-lowering benefits of drinking prune juice.
Participants drank prune juice and ate the whole fruit (dried plums) while either three (about 11.5 gm) or six prunes were “soaked overnight” in a glass of water.
To investigate the effect, a control group was given only a glass of plain water early in the morning on an empty stomach.
Blood pressure was recorded fortnightly for eight weeks, and blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study and at eight weeks.
There was significant reduction of blood pressure observed after a single dose of prunes.
What’s more, the double dose of prunes caused systolic blood pressure to lower “significantly”, the researchers noted.
Systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. It is one of the main numbers used to record blood pressure.
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“The data predicts cardiovascular protective effects of prunes,” the researchers concluded.
General dietary tips
Cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to lower high blood pressure.
As the NHS explains, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
“Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful,” advises the health body.
It continues: “Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.
“Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
How to get tested
The only way of knowing whether you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test.
According to UK public health guidelines, all adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.
Getting this done is easy and could save your life.
You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- At your GP surgery
- At some pharmacies
- As part of your NHS Health Check
- In some workplaces.
You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.
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