High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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A high blood pressure is one with a reading of 140/90mmHg or over, according to the NHS. People who don’t exercise regularly and eat healthily are at higher risk of developing the condition. People who consume lots of salt are also at risk. But while some decisions increase risk, others may reduce it – such as deciding to eat nuts.
A recent review, which looked at most of the major tests about nuts and blood pressure, concluded that nuts can have “modest improvements” on blood pressure.
In the different studies researchers looked at, different types of nuts seemed to have different effects.
One study they looked at, which consisted of results from 16 controlled trials, found that almonds had some effect on blood pressure.
Almonds seem to have an effect on diastolic blood pressure – the pressure in your blood vessels while your heart is resting.
Diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number in a blood pressure reading.
However, this study showed that almonds had no significant effect on systolic blood pressure – your blood pressure when your heart is pumping blood.
But another study found that a different type of nut – pistachios – can reduce your systolic blood pressure.
Cashew nuts were also found to have a similar effect, reducing systolic blood pressure significantly.
Nuts are a source of several special ingredients, which give it its effects.
For one, they contain lots of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to increase the creation of nitric oxide – a molecule that relaxes blood vessels.
They may also help reduce factors that are linked with things like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
For example, in a 12 week trial, people who ate less than 25 grams of pistachios twice a day had a nine percent decrease in fasting blood sugar.
Other ways to slash hypertension
Cutting salt consumption is one of a number of ways to slash high blood pressure.
The world health organisation explains that salt intake of less than five grams a day can reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Professor of medicine Fernando Elijovich from Vanderbilt University, told the American Heart Association that within just 30 minutes of eating excess salt, the dilation of your blood vessels is impaired.
The other ways to cut high blood pressure are to lose weight, eat a balanced diet, quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
Although it is rare to have symptoms, the British Heart Foundation have noted the following signs to look out for:
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
The main way to determine if you have hypertension is to do a blood pressure test. These can be done at your GP, at some pharmacies and in some workspaces.
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