High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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It is thought one in three adults in the UK is currently living with high blood pressure, although they might not realise it. In its early stages it often shows no symptoms, however, if left untreated it can become dangerous. This is because high blood pressure – or hypertension – can increase your risk of serious health problems like strokes and heart attacks.
Like many medical conditions, hypertension can be caused or made worse by an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.
More specifically, a high salt diet is known to raise blood pressure due to the fact salt makes the body hold onto water.
This extra water then puts pressure on the blood vessels.
But in the same way diet can be to blame for high blood pressure, it can help lower it.
One expert explained that foods high in l-arginine could do just this.
L-arginine is an amino acid that helps the body build protein.
Nataly Komova, registered dietician and fitness expert at JustCBD, said: “The body acquires nitric oxide mainly from l-arginine.
“Nitric oxide is responsible for relaxing muscle cells and researchers say it can lower blood pressure.
“You can get it from poultry, beans and dairy.”
Six types of food with high l-arginine levels are:
- Meat (red meat, chicken, turkey)
- Fish (salmon, haddock)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds)
- Legumes (soybeans, chickpeas)
- Whole grains (brown rice, oats)
- Dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese).
What does the research say?
Her claim was backed by a study published in the American Heart Journal in 2011.
As part of the research, a team from the Soochow University in China, conducted a meta-analysis of 11 existing trials.
The study says: “We included 11 randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving 387 participants with oral L-arginine intervention ranging from four to 24 grams a day.
“Compared with placebo, L-arginine intervention significantly lowered systolic blood pressure by 5.39 millimetres of mercury (mm/Hg) and diastolic BP by 2.66 mm/Hg.”
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers; systolic and diastolic pressure.
The higher number that appears on a blood pressure test – systolic pressure – refers to the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
And the lower number – diastolic pressure – is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).
Healthy blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
The study concludes: “This meta-analysis provides further evidence that oral L-arginine supplementation significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”
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