High blood pressure is a common chronic health condition.
It is a silent killer because there are no obvious symptoms. However, it is a big risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
If you have high blood pressure, you can take medicines to control the condition.
You also need to have healthy lifestyle habits, which include healthy diets, regular exercise, and good night’s sleep.
To have healthy blood pressure, you need to avoid some foods, these include salt, liquorice, caffeine, and alcohol.
Our blood pressure is sensitive to sodium levels in the blood. High salt intake is linked to higher blood pressure.
On average, adults need between 1.2 to 2.4g of salt each day (one-quarter to a half teaspoon). This is equivalent to 460 to 920mg of sodium.
But in the U.S. many people eat way more than that.
A recent study reviewed previously published research involving 3,230 people.
Researchers found that reducing salt intakes by 4.4 grams a day could reduce systolic blood pressure by about 4.2 mmHg and diastolic by 2.1 mmHg.
Recent research has shown that drinking one or more alcoholic drink a day is linked to higher systolic blood pressure (2.7 mmHg higher than non-drinkers) and diastolic blood pressure (1.4 mmHg higher than non-drinkers).
Research also shows that a rise in blood pressure after drinking alcohol is more likely to happen when you’re awake, rather during sleep.
Most liquorice candy sold currently contains very little true liquorice root and therefore, little glycyrrhizic acid (GZA), the active ingredient.
But researchers have shown that patients have high blood pressure due to eating black liquorice.
GZA causes sodium retention and potassium loss, which contributes to high blood pressure.
So, it is important to reduce foods that contain liquorice root.
Caffeine is most commonly consumed in coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks.
High intakes of caffeine from coffee increase blood pressure in the short term.
Some studies show that after drinking 1-2 cups of strong coffee, people’s blood pressure increases three hours after drinking it.
But other studies that lasted a long time found drinking coffee did not increase blood pressure compared with decaffeinated coffee or avoiding caffeine.
To keep your blood pressure, you also need to add three foods into your diet.
Previous research has shown oats could affect systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
When people ate around 60 grams of rolled oats or 25 grams of oat bran per day, the researchers found that systolic blood pressure was 2.7 mmHg lower and diastolic blood pressure was 1.5 mmHg lower.
This is because oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan.
The consumption of the fiber is linked to a reduction in diastolic blood pressure.
Beetroot offers lots of benefits to people with heart failure. It can help improve heart failure patients’ exercise performance.
Beetroot is extremely rich in a compound called inorganic nitrate. During digestion, this gets converted into nitric oxide, which causes arteries to dilate. This directly lowers the pressure in them.
You can try wrap whole fresh beetroot in foil and bake it in the oven until soft, or grate beetroot and stir-fry with red onion and curry paste and eat as a relish.
It is known that vitamin C can be found in fresh vegetables and fruit.
A recent study finds that when people were given 500 mg of vitamin C per day for about eight weeks, their blood pressure significantly improved.
But for people at risk of kidney stones, it is important to be cautious about taking vitamin C supplements.
Excess vitamin C is excreted via the kidneys and can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
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