Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a precursor of serious health problems, ranging from heart attacks to strokes. What you eat plays a key role in your levels because your diet can either set off this condition or tame it. A small salty vegetable belongs to the first category as research links it to high blood pressure levels.
Although pickles offer some great benefits for your gut, their drawback relies in their very high salt content.
As salt is considered “the single biggest cause” of high blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK, it’s no surprise that foods packed with the seasoning are also risky.
What’s more, a study, published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition Research, has linked the vegetable with an increase in hypertension.
The study looked at 289 female students between the ages of 17 and 18. The participants had to fill out food questionnaires based on their diets.
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The research team found that those who ate the most pickles had significantly higher both systolic and diastolic pressure.
In case you aren’t aware, blood pressure is recorded with two numbers, with systolic pressure being the higher one and diastolic pressure representing the lower digit.
The study said: “In the current study, systolic and diastolic pressure might be significantly associated with pickle intake that can be attributed to salt contents of a pickle.
“Pickle is an appetising and salty food and previous studies showed that high salt intake increases the risk for hypertension and obesity.
“There was a significant association between pickle consumption and obesity and blood pressure among Iranian female youths.”
Although the small sour snacks are linked to high blood pressure readings, the scientists shared that more research is currently needed to further confirm this association.
The reason why pickles can be taxing on your blood pressure levels is their high salt content.
Blood Pressure UK explains that the small green veggies are “particularly high in salt” and advises to “avoid” them.
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The reason why salt can boost your blood pressure reading comes down to water retention.
The common ingredient makes your body hold onto water which puts extra water in your blood, boosting the pressure in your blood vessel walls.
Blood Pressure UK adds: “If you already have high blood pressure, too much salt will raise it further, and may mean that any blood pressure medicines you’re taking don’t work as well as they should.”
While having a single pickle occasionally won’t send your reading through the roof, having too much too often could stir up problems.
It’s also important to consider other foods that are boosting your salt intake.
It might come as a surprise but your salt shaker isn’t the main culprit, as Blood Pressure UK warns that most of the salt you eat is hidden in foods you buy from the grocery store.
From bread to biscuits and sauces to condiments, various groceries can hide high amounts of sodium.
The NHS reminds that adults should eat less than six grams of salt on a daily basis.
In order to cut back on salt, Blood Pressure UK recommends to “avoid” or lower your pickle intake.
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