High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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Blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day but when your blood pressure is consistently too high, it forces the heart to work harder. This mechanism seems innocuous at first but it can raise your risk of heart disease over time. You should therefore take steps to lower a high blood pressure reading.
Luckily, you can reduce a high blood pressure reading by making simple dietary modifications.
One of the most beneficial items for lowering high blood pressure is black tea. That’s the conclusion of a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“The regular consumption of black tea can lower blood pressure, but its effects on blood pressure variation have yet to be investigated,” wrote the study researchers.
They aimed to assess the effects of black tea consumption on the rate of ambulatory blood pressure variation.
Ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) has long been recognised by researchers as the gold standard of blood pressure measurement because it takes the mean measure of blood pressure.
Men and women with high systolic blood pressure at screening were recruited in a trial designed primarily to assess effects on blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure (the top number) measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries each time it beats.
Participants consumed three cups a day of either powdered black tea solids (tea) or a flavonoid-free caffeine-matched beverage (control).
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Blood pressure variations were assessed at baseline, day one, and three and six months.
Across the three time points, tea, compared with the control, resulted in lower rates of systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number used to record blood pressure) variation by 10 percent during nighttime.
These effects, which were “immediate” at day one and sustained over six months, were independent of the level of blood pressure and heart rate, the researchers observed.
“The rate of blood pressure variation was not significantly altered during daytime,” they said.
“These findings indicate that a component of black tea solids, other than caffeine, can influence the rate of blood pressure variation during nighttime.”
General tips to lower high blood pressure
You should cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to lower hypertension.
“Salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure,” warns the NHS.
According to the health body, you should aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.
High blood pressure does not usually have any symptoms, so the only way to find out if you have it is to get your blood pressure checked.
Healthy adults aged over 40 should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.
According to the NHS, if you’re at an increased risk of high blood pressure, you should have your blood pressure checked more often, ideally once a year.
Having this done is easy and could save your life.
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