Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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Eating a healthy, balanced diet is key in lowering blood pressure readings and controlling diabetes, but what foods does that consist of? Experts at the Stroke Association say people can “eat more healthily” by focusing on a variety of “fruit, vegetables, starchy food and protein”. “You should aim to have five portions of fruit and vegetables every day,” the charity adds.
An easy way to incorporate more fruit into your diet, for example, is by adding fruity toppings (such as berries) to your breakfast cereal.
Another tip is to snack on a piece of fruit, like an orange, when feeling a bit peckish.
An alternative is to eat carrot sticks, for example, dipped in humous to increase your vegetable intake.
To help minimise the risk of a stroke – risks factors being high blood sugar and high blood pressure – people would benefit from eating more fibre.
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“Foods that are high in fibre help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood,” the Stroke Association notes.
“So when choosing starchy foods, go for wholegrain cereals, brown rice or grains such as whole wheat couscous.”
Healthy proteins should also be a diet staple, which includes beans and lentils.
If you are going to eat meat, choose a lean cut, and “take the skin off poultry”.
Two portions of oily fish are recommended, which includes:
“These contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure,” the Stroke Association adds.
Vegetarian or vegan sources of protein include:
People are also encouraged to cut down on their salt consumption, which would otherwise raise blood pressure readings.
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Everybody should aim to eat less than a teaspoon of salt per day, which could be hidden in takeaways, for instance.
Salt can also be hidden in ready meals, crisps, nuts, cakes, biscuits, and processed meat.
Instead of using salt to flavour home-made dishes, better alternatives include: fresh ginger, lemon juice, chillis, or dried herbs and spices.
In addition to eating more healthily, it’s also critical to control portion sizes.
Being overweight is a health risk, as it can increase the likelihood of high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
If you need to shed the pounds in order to be a healthier weight, you will need to burn off more calories than you consume daily.
This will involve exercising every day, with the minimum requirement by the NHS being 150 minutes of movement each week.
Exercising has the added benefit of improving your overall health, which could lead to a longer life.
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