High blood pressure can be lowered by making certain lifestyle changes and cutting down on some foods. But what is the best type of diet to follow? Experts recommend this diet in order to lower high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a common condition affecting more than a quarter adults.
Having high blood pressure can be serious, as if left untreated it can lead to dangerous health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
The condition can be improved by taking medication, but can also be lowered by making certain lifestyle changes.
Eating the right foods and cutting out others is one way to achieve this, but what is the best kind of diet to follow?
Experts at Superdrug Online Doctor recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet.
The DASH diet was designed in the US and aims to lower high blood pressure.
The diet involves eating fewer foods which are high in fat and cholesterol, cutting down on red meat, sweets and sugary drinks.
Instead, the DASH diet emphasises foods which are rich in nutrients known to have a positive effect on blood pressure.
These include potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein and fibre.
Foods which contain these properties include fruit and vegetables, low fat and fat-free dairy products, fish, poultry, whole grains and nuts.
The DASH diet recommends opting for fresh, frozen or canned vegetables with no added salt, and fresh fish, poultry and meat.
Processed meats shied should be avoided wherever possible, as should cured meats like bacon, pickled foods and foods tinned in brine.
Tinned tuna and beans should be rinsed before eating to remove excess salt.
Ready meals and frozen convenience foods should also be avoided, while salt shouldn’t be added to food.
The diet also advises reducing meat intake to a smaller part of a meal, instead of the main focus.
Alcohol consumption should also be kept to a minimum.
“What you eat affects your blood pressure in several ways,” said Dr Louisa Draper at Superdrug Online Doctor.
“Eating a lot of foods which are high in saturated fats can cause a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis causes your blood vessels to narrow, resulting in high blood pressure.”
“Some foods, such as salt, can raise your blood pressure. Other foods, for example those that are high in minerals such as potassium, may help to lower it.”
“Eating a balanced diet not only helps to keep you at a healthy weight but can also help you improve your blood pressure.”