Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your arteries is too high. Over time, this can increase your risk of life-threatening health problems like heart attacks. Finding ways to lower a high reading is therefore crucial.
Fortunately, eating yourself to lower levels could actually work, according to a study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition Research.
The researchers looked at the effects of spinach consumption on high blood pressure.
What’s more, a bag of this leafy green can be bought for as little as 75p.
The research team hypothesised that the high dietary nitrate content in spinach could help with arterial stiffness as well as blood pressure.
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Recruiting 27 healthy participants, the researchers divided the subjects into two groups.
The first group was given a high-nitrate soup containing spinach while the other one had to consume a low-nitrate soup with asparagus.
Both of the groups had to follow this regimen for seven days.
Around 180 minutes after the dish, the research team measured the participants’ blood pressure.
The study found that high levels of nitrate in spinach actually managed to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
What’s more, the research shared that this reduction was observed at 180 minutes following the seven-day supplementation.
The study concluded: “The present preliminary study has demonstrated promising potential for dietary nitrate to improve vascular health, as seen by decreased arterial stiffness and central blood pressure.
“Overall, this study provides support to the potential use of whole food, un-concentrated dietary nitrate found in natural, commonly consumed vegetables like spinach, as an effective way to aid in maintenance of cardiovascular health.”
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Furthermore, this study isn’t the only one to echo the benefits of spinach on blood pressure.
Blood Pressure UK recommends to “eat more” of this leafy green due to its high potassium content.
The charity explains that spinach is “particularly high in potassium” and this mineral is known for its blood pressure lowering properties.
The reason why potassium is able to reduce hypertension comes down to its role in fluid retention.
While sodium makes your body hold onto water, which puts extra pressure on your arteries, potassium helps to release it.
You need “a fine balance” of sodium and potassium for things to work smoothly, according to Blood Pressure UK.
And by eating more foods that are high in this mineral, you can help your kidneys to work well and lower your blood pressure.
Plus, spinach isn’t the only food high in potassium. Other vegetables that pack this mineral include:
- Sweet potatoes
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