High blood pressure is a common condition in which the pressure inside a person’s arteries is higher than it should be. But many people with the condition don’t know they have it because symptoms are rarely noticeable.
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The complications of having high blood pressure include heart attack, heart failure and heart stroke, so it’s important to have your reading regularly checked, either by your GP, local pharmacist or using a blood pressure monitor at home.
Alongside regularly checking your blood pressure it’s important to make changes in your lifestyle to both prevent and reduce high blood pressure.
One way experts say you can lower blood pressure is by eating healthily.
The NHS recommends cutting down on the amount of salt in your food and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
It explains: “Salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
“Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.
“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.”
An essential in many meals and cooking is oil, but with so many to choose from, from canola oil to sunflower oil, which is considered best for keeping blood pressure in check?
Olive oil has been shown to have lots of heart health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.
Olive oil’s high monounsaturated fat content is what’s believed to give it its benefits.
A key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to significantly reduce heart disease risk, olive oil has been shown to reduce the need for blood pressure medication by 48 per cent.
Also, a review of studies carried out in Barcelona, Spain looked at the biological and clinical effects of olive oil.
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Results suggested people who regularly consume olive il are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure.
And frying foods in olive oil has shown no negative impact on heart health.
Researchers from Madrid, Spain reported in the British Medical Journal people who regularly eat foods fried in olive oil do not have a higher risk of heart disease or premature death.
The scientists surveyed 40,757 adults aged from 26 to 69 years over an 11-year period, ad focused on cooking methods and dietary habits. None of the participants had heart disease when the study started.
The researchers concluded: “In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death.”
Other ways to prevent or reduce high blood pressure
Alongside eating a healthy diet it’s important to regularly exercise.
The NHS advises: “Being active and regularly exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.
“Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure.
“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.”
Limiting your alcohol intake, cutting down on caffeine, stopping smoking and getting a good night’s sleep can also help lower blood pressure.
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