Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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Having high blood pressure means your heart is having to work harder than usual to pump blood around your body. If left untreated for a long time it can lead to serious health conditions, as it puts extra strain on certain organs. This includes a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, for example.
Like many conditions, diet is one contributing factor to high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension.
A common culprit of hypertension is salt.
This is because sodium causes your body to hold onto water, which adds pressure to blood vessel walls.
Therefore, changing your diet can also help lower blood pressure.
This includes drinking tomato juice regularly.
Doctor Joseph Ambani, medical doctor at GlowBar, explained: “There is ongoing evidence suggesting that a cup of tomato juice every day can elevate heart wellness.
“A study demonstrated that individuals with heart disease risk factors who drank tomato juice every day had improved diastolic and systolic pressure readings.”
However, he warned: “I always advise my clients to mainly use unsalted tomato juice to reduce the opposite influence caused by sodium.”
What the research says
The study referenced by Dr Ambani was published in the Food Science and Nutrition journal in 2019.
As part of the research, 481 people from Kuriyama in Japan were enrolled.
For one year they were provided with as much unsalted tomato juice as they wanted – the average amount being 215 millilitres per day per person, which is slightly less than one cup.
Of the study participants, 260 took part in a detailed study of their lifestyle factors, with the average age being 56 for men and 58 for women.
It found that blood pressure among 94 participants with untreated prehypertension or hypertension was “significantly lowered” as a result of drinking tomato juice.
It said: “Further, the serum low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) level in 125 participants with untreated dyslipidemia (an imbalance of fats) significantly decreased.
“These beneficial effects were not different between sexes and among the different age groups. “
The study concluded: “Unsalted tomato juice intake improved systolic and diastolic blood pressure and serum low-density lipoprotein level in local Japanese residents at risk of cardiovascular conditions.”
What counts as high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is recorded with two figures: the systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
And the diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
High blood pressure is accepted to be from 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or 150/90mmHg if you’re over the age of 80.
Healthy blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg – or below 150/90mmHg for over 80s.
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