Keeping your blood pressure in check is one of the most important things you can do for your health, as high blood pressure can cause life-threatening problems including heart disease, a heart attack or stroke.
Around one in four adults in the UK are living with high blood pressure – but many aren’t even aware that they have the serious condition as it rarely has noticeable symptoms. As the NHS is urging people to get checked, there are also several changes you can make to your lifestyle to help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, consuming foods and drinks that are high in potassium may help to “significantly lower” the risk of developing heart disease, as the mineral works to remove sodium – which raises blood pressure – from the body. The essential mineral also helps to relax blood vessel walls, further reducing blood pressure, The Mirror reports.
Several foods are high in potassium including fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy, but some have more than others. Medical News Today advises that there are four fruit drinks in particular that contain the mineral: the fresh juice from oranges, tangerines, passion fruits and pomegranates.
A standard cup of each of these juices contains the following amounts:
- Passion fruit juice – 687 mg of potassium
- Pomegranate juice – 533 mg
- Orange juice – 496 mg
- Tangerine juice – 440 mg
By comparison, a banana – often touted as a great source of potassium – has around 358 mg of the mineral. However, be careful when selecting which fruit juices to drink and make sure you read the back of the carton- some brands add large amounts of sugar to their drinks, which will have the opposite of the desired effect on your blood pressure.
As well as this, the NHS advises that high blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking. When it comes to your diet, the health service advises cutting down on the amount of salt in your food, and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure, according to the NHS. Being active also lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition – physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.
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