This Morning: Dr Chris discusses blood pressure and dementia
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is famously branded the “silent killer” because it is usually symptomless. If the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels increases severely, you may experience marked changes which increases a person’s risk of heart attacks or strokes. Fortunately, numerous studies have found one particular diet will help lower your readings and reduce hypertension risk.
According to a study published in the BMJ, eating a type of diet called the DASH diet can help.
Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it offers health benefits besides just lowering blood pressure.
The DASH diet is also in line with dietary recommendations to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
On this diet you eat:
- Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- More wholegrain products (such as brown rice and wholemeal bread) instead of white rice and white bread
- More fish, poultry, and nuts, instead of red meat
- Less salt. Most of us eat more salt than we need. A low-salt diet means eating less than two grams of salt a day. Many processed foods such as bread and breakfast cereal contain a lot of salt.
- Less saturated fat (butter, meat, cheese, and cream)
- Fewer sugary foods, such as cakes and sweets, and fewer sugary drinks.
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In another study published in the National Library of Health, the health benefits of the DASH diet on blood pressure were analysed.
Scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) conducted two key studies.
Their findings showed that blood pressures were reduced with an eating plan that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat and that emphasises fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
This eating plan also includes whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts. It is reduced in lean red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages compared to the typical Western diet.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, said the Mayo Clinic.
The health site added: “The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).
“The DASH diet plan was developed to lower blood pressure without medication in research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
“The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.”
Modifying your lifestyle is one of the best ways to help reduce hypertension risk.
Another added benefit of the DASH diet is its low salt content.
According to the NHS, a person should cut down on the amount of salt in their diet.
“Aim to eat less than six grams (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful,” advises the national health body.
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