High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure can seem like a harmless mechanism at first because the force pushing against your artery walls takes time to cause damage. Eventually, this pressure can cause a tear in the lining of the artery walls, allowing a fatty substance called cholesterol to gather inside your arteries. This in turn restricts the blood flow to vital organs in the body, thereby raising your risk of having a heart attack.
Fortunately, this process can be reversed by making simple dietary tweaks.
Specific dietary items have been shown to promote blood pressure-lowering effects.
Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea that’s made by steeping parts of the hibiscus plant in boiling water.
A study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research evaluated the antihypertensive effect one of hibiscus tea on stage one hypertension.
Stage one hypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 80 to 89 mm Hg.
What do these numbers mean?
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers:
- The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body
- The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
- They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
Patients with stage one hypertension who were diagnosed by a cardiologist has been included in the present clinical trial after giving informed consent.
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The patients were divided into two groups. The control and case group received the same lifestyle and dietary advice for controlling blood pressure.
The case group received two standard cups of hibiscus tea every morning for one month.
The blood pressure of both groups was documented at the start of the study and at the end of the study.
A total of 46 patients participated in this study and there was no significant difference in terms of age and body mass index between groups.
There was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure in both groups, but the mean reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was significantly higher in the hibiscus tea group.
“Using H. sabdariffa [hibiscus tea] as sour tea two times a day can be effective in managing blood pressure in stage one hypertension along with lifestyle and dietary modification,” concludes the researchers.
General dietary tips
Cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
As the NHS explains, salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
“Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful,” advises the NHS.
According to the health body, 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.
“Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure over time, it warns.
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