High blood pressure: Follow this diet to lower your reading

High blood pressure is often branded an “invisible killer” because it tends to creep up announced and pose greave health risks if left untreated. Despite the lack of visible warning signs, a consistently high blood pressure can hike your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. To stave off the threats posed by high blood pressure, it is therefore vital to follow a healthy lifestyle.

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Diet forms an essential part of regulating blood pressure, and, as opposed to focusing on specific foods, following an overall healthy dietary pattern provides the greatest protection.

In this regard, following a low-carb diet has been shown to have a significant effect on high blood pressure.

One study published in the journal JAMA compared the health benefits of a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet.

The latter also included a diet drug commonly used to aid weight loss.

Both diets produced weight loss, but the low-carb diet was much more effective in lowering blood pressure.

The low-carb diet lowered blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic.

In comparison, the diet of low-fat plus the diet drug lowered blood pressure by only 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic.

Systolic blood pressure is a number that measures the highest pressure when your heart beats and pushes the blood round your body.

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It is generally regarded as the most important number because it gives the most accurate indicator of your chances of having a heart attack.

The fact that the low-carb diet led to a 5.9 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure is made more significant by earlier research, which has found that a two mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure could lead to six percent fewer stroke-related deaths, a four percent lower rate of heart disease deaths and a three percent reduction in overall deaths.

Propping up the findings, another analysis of low-carb diets and heart disease risk found that these diets lowered blood pressure by an average of 3.10 mm Hg diastolic and 4.81 mm Hg systolic.

Cutting back on carbohydrates has also been shown to directly promote weight loss, another preventative measure against high blood pressure.

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As the NHS explains, being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.

“If you do need to lose some weight, it’s worth remembering that just losing a few pounds will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health,” adds the health site.

In addition to following a heart-healthy diet, keeping active can also encourage weight loss and lower blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.

According to the NHS, adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.

How can I determine whether I have high blood pressure?

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, says 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,” it adds.

Blood pressure testing is available:

  • At your GP surgery – by a GP, practice nurse, healthcare assistant or self-service machine
  • At some pharmacies
  • At an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults aged 40 to 74 in England
  • In some workplaces
  • At a health event

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