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MORE than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, which causes blood to be pumped too forcefully around the body.
But many will be oblivious to the condition as it rarely causes noticeable symptoms.
Left untreated, hypertension -as high blood pressure is also described – puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
And it can up your risk of developing a number of serious and potentially deadly health conditions.
Heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and heart failure are just a few of those. But you can also be at risk of developing peripheral arterial disease, aortic aneurysms, kidney disease and vascular dementia according to NHS guidance.
But it noted that reducing your blood pressure by even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions.
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An effective way to do this is through diet.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, two minerals play major roles in regulating blood pressure and a healthy heart."
These are sodium – which is salt – and potassium.
Eating fewer salty foods is hugely important to keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level.
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But eating more potassium-rich foods can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
What foods contain potassium?
Potassium can especially be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy.
Bananas have often been touted for their high potassium content.
According to Medical News Today, four fruit drinks are bursting with the mineral.
These are the fresh juice from passion fruits, pomegranates, oranges and tangerines.
A standard cup of each drink contains:
- Passion fruit juice – 687 mg of potassium
- Pomegranate juice – 533 mg
- Orange juice – 496 mg
- Tangerine juice – 440 mg.
By comparison, a banana has around 358 mg of the mineral.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, other foods high in potassium include:
- Dried fruits (raisins, apricots)
- Beans, lentils
- Winter squash (acorn, butternut)
- Spinach, broccoli
- Coconut water
- Dairy and plant milks (soy, almond)
- Cashews, almonds
The school said the best eating plan for bringing down your blood pressure and preventing heart disease is one that mirrors the Mediterranean diet.
It'll be full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils; and include little alcohol, red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates, foods and beverages with added sugar, sodium, and foods with trans fat.
What are other ways to bring down my high blood pressure?
The Harvard School of Public Health said said sleep played a huge part in heart health, as too little or too much shuteye is associated with heart disease and can negatively affect other heart-related risk factors like what you eat, how much you exercise, your weight, blood pressure, and inflammation.
Adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep a night, according to NHS guidance.
Getting regular exercise can also lower your risk of hypertension, as can avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
A study found that middle-aged people who gained 11 to 22 pounds after age 20 were up to three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones than those who gained five pounds or fewer.
Signs of hypertension
High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms so it’s important to get checked regularly.
People with the condition can experience:
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
You can get your blood pressure checked at:
- GP surgeries
- some pharmacies
- some workplaces
Source: British Heart Foundation
The only way to find out if you have hypertension is to have it checked.
It's recommended you do so at least once every five years once you reach the age of 40 of you're healthy.
But if you're at increased risk of high blood pressure, you should ideally have it checked once a year, according to the British Heart Foundation.
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