High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK, according to the NHS. The problem is many people don’t realise they have it because symptoms are rarely noticeable. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your reading regularly checked. High blood pressure can also be prevented through eating a healthy diet.
Salt is one of the main culprits of high blood pressure – orange juice could help balance out its negative effects
Salt is one of the main culprits of an elevated blood pressure reading, so experts recommend cutting down on the amount you eat.
Another way to counteract the negative effects of salt is to eat potassium.
Blood Pressure UK explains: “Your kidneys help to control your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. The more fluid, the higher your blood pressure.
“Your kidneys do this by filtering your blood and sucking out any extra fluid, which it then stores in your bladder as urine. This process uses a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder.
“Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water. By eating more fruit and vegetables, you will increase your potassium levels and help to restore the delicate balance.
“This will help your kidneys to work more efficiently – and help to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.”
Examples of potassium rich foods include avocado, beetroot and edamame.
But when it comes to drinks, which packs the most of the mineral?
Citrus fruits like oranges are well known for their vitamin C content, but they are also a great source of potassium, making orange juice a top potassium-rich drink.
According to experts at Healthline, one cup of orange juice provides 11 per cent of your recommended daily intake.
Another potassium-rich drink you may want to consider is coconut water.
As well as reducing your salt intake and increasing your potassium intake, Bupa recommends the following diet changes:
- Eat less sugar and saturated fat. Fruit and vegetables are a source of polyphenols – there is evidence these help reduce blood pressure. So do oily fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel.
- Add more calcium and potassium to your diet, including low-fat dairy products and beans, peas and nuts as well as green vegetables and bananas. But don’t take calcium, potassium or other supplements in an attempt to reduce blood pressure.
- Cut down on alcohol – avoid regularly drinking more than 14 units per week and try to have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
- Drink less coffee and other caffeinated drinks like cola.
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