High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK and can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. The condition can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries, which can then lead to a heart attack or stroke. It can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily. But what foods in particular should you be eating?
Eating foods rich in potassium can help lower high blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK.
The mineral helps to balance out the negative effects of salt and lower your blood pressure.
It explains: “Your kidneys help to control your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. The more fluid, the higher your blood pressure.
“Your kidneys do this by filtering your blood and sucking out any extra fluid, which it then stores in your bladder as urine.
“This process uses a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder.
“Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water.
“By eating more fruit and vegetables, you will increase your potassium levels and help to restore the delicate balance. This will help your kidneys to work more efficiently – and help to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.”
The charity goes on to list some of the best sources of potassium. Here are fiver potassium-rich foods you can include in your diet:
- Sweet potatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Orange juice
But too much potassium can be harmful, so be wary of this.
For those with kidney disease or taking certain blood pressure medications, a large increase in potassium could present a health risk.
High blood pressure can also be reduced by being active and regularly exercising.
This keeps your heart and blood vessels in good condition and can also help you lose weight, which will help lower blood pressure.
The NHS recommends: “Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week.
“Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.”