High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. A consistently high blood pressure reading puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this extra strain increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke so it is imperative to take steps to lower high blood pressure.
Research investigating the health benefits of eating sunflower seeds has found that a compound in sunflower seeds blocks an enzyme that causes blood vessels to narrow and tighten.
Enzymes are biological molecules that speed up chemical reactions in the body.
In addition, the magnesium contained in sunflower seeds has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels.
Furthermore, sunflower seeds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. Research shows that your body uses linoleic acid to make a hormone-like compound that relaxes blood vessels, promoting lower blood pressure.
According to the researchers, central pressure is the pressure that is exerted on organs like the heart and is an important indicator of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
Why should I cut down on saturated fats?
It is vital to cut down on saturated fats because, in addition to raising blood pressure, saturated fats raise cholesterol in the blood, explains Heart UK.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in blood that can act as a deadly precursor to a range of cardiovascular complications such as heart disease.
Saturated fats are found in animal foods, such as meat, butter and other dairy products, and foods that are made with them, such as cakes and biscuits.
Cutting down on foods high in saturated fat and replacing them with foods with more unsaturated fat can help improve cholesterol levels.
“Go for healthy spreads, oily fish, nuts, seeds and cooking and salad oils,” advised Heart UK.