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Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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The Mayo Clinic explains uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. The NHS notes high blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. It suggests that writing down what you eat, even for just a week, “can shed surprising light on your true eating habits”.

The Mayo Clinic says too little potassium in your diet can contribute to high blood pressure.

It says: “Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. A proper balance of potassium is critical for good heart health.

“If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet, or you lose too much potassium due to dehydration or other health conditions, sodium can build up in your blood.”

Heart UK explains that foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium.

The organisation explains: “The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine.

“Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, can nardil stop working which helps further lower blood pressure.”

It adds that increasing potassium through diet is recommended in adults with blood pressure above 120/80 who are otherwise healthy.

Nonetheless, it warns: “Potassium can be harmful in patients with kidney disease, any condition that affects how the body handles potassium, or those who take certain medications. The decision of whether to take excess potassium should be discussed with your doctor.”

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The organisation says even though potassium can lessen the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium, eating more potassium should be combined with your efforts to break up with that excess salt and develop other healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

The NHS says salt raises your blood pressure, so the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.

It says that people should aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.

The NHS adds: “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.”

The NHS says: “Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

“This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.”

It says: “Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.”

The Mayo Clinic adds that regular physical activity, such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week, “can lower your blood pressure”.

The NHS says 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.
As a general guide:

  • High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80)
  • Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg

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