High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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There are a host of environmental factors that predispose individuals to high blood pressure, but diet is an equally important precursor. Foods high in sodium may be detrimental to blood pressure because they cause the body to hold on to water, which exerts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. Certain types of vegetables may contribute to the issue due to their high salt content.
Pickled vegetables are generally considered healthy because they contain specific types of fibre that feed the gut with good bacteria.
Research has shown the food could help with digestion and relieve symptoms of constipation and diarrhoea.
But while pickled vegetables offer some probiotic benefits, their high concentrations of salt may be harmful.
In one 2018 paper published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition Research, researchers associated pickle intake with an increase in high blood pressure.
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The investigators of the study wrote: “In the current study, systolic and diastolic pressure might be significantly associated with pickle intake that can be attributed to salt contents of a pickle.
“Pickle is an appetising and salty food and previous studies showed that high salt intake increases the risk for hypertension and obesity.”
These observations stem from a cross-sections study conducted on 289 female students aged between 18 and 17 years old, who filled out questionnaires detailing food intake.
The findings revealed that individuals in the highest tertile of pickle consumption had a significantly higher BMI, systolic and diastolic pressure.
No significant association was made between pickle consumption and weight circumference, however.
The researchers concluded: “There was a significant association between pickle consumption and obesity and blood pressure among Iranian female youths.”
But the team did note that further prospective studies were needed to confirm this association.
Pickles are very high in sodium because it’s an important part of the brining process, according to WebMD.
The health body continues: “Consuming too much salt in your daily diet can contribute to high blood pressure.
“Anyone who is on blood pressure medication or looking to reduce their sodium intake should eat pickles in moderation or look for low sodium options.”
The World Health Organisation recommends cutting sodium intake to no more than two grams a day, which equate to five grams of salt, due to its association with hypertension.
While pickled vegetables may be high in sodium, they also contain potassium which is a key nutrient for blood pressure control.
Vegetables high in potassium, such as beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and bananas are all highly recommended.
Other important countermeasures against blood pressure include undertaking exercise on a regular basis and limiting alcohol intake.
Abstaining from smoking cigarettes is also crucial, as this can cause an acute increase in blood pressure.
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