Sunday, 10 Dec 2023

Pharmacist advises just a teaspoon of certain food daily to lower blood pressure

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

It is thought that one in four Britons are currently living with high blood pressure, although they might not be aware.

Also known as hypertension, it means the heart has to work harder than usual to pump blood around the body.

Over time this puts extra strain on the blood vessels and other organs and can lead to medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.

While there are many factors that can raise your blood pressure, diet is one of the main culprits.

Specifically, eating too much salt is known to cause high blood pressure.

READ MORE Dr Amir warns popular hot drink could raise your blood pressure

This is because sodium – found in salt – makes the body hold onto water, which places pressure on blood vessel walls.

For this reason many of us are wary of our salt content, actively trying not to add too much to our meals.

However, one expert told that a certain amount of salt daily is fine to consume – and can actually benefit the body.

Pharmacist Abbas Kanani, from the Chemist Click Online Pharmacy, explained how salt affects blood pressure: “It causes fluid retention which increases the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls, causing high blood pressure.”

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He advised eating just one teaspoon of salt per day.

“The recommended daily salt intake for adults is no more than six grams of salt a day which is around one level teaspoon,” he said.

“Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly.

“It helps to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain the proper balance of water and minerals.”

Although sticking to just one teaspoon of salt a day may seem easy, health bodies also warn that many foods we eat can contain hidden amounts of salt and sodium.

The American Heart Association says: “Sodium can be sneaky! Taking control of your sodium means checking labels and reducing preservatives.”

It recommends checking the salt content on the following foods:

  • Processed foods such as breads, pizza, cold cuts [sliced meats], soups and savoury snacks
  • Natural foods with a higher-than-average sodium content, including cheese and poultry
  • Some over-the-counter drugs
  • Some prescription medications.

Other ways to lower blood pressure

High blood pressure can also be affected by how active you are and lifestyle habits such as drinking and smoking.

Abbas shared ways to lower blood pressure, including: “Keeping active with a regular exercise routine and eating a balanced healthy diet.

“Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels so you should limit alcohol consumption or cut it out completely.

“Quit smoking – it is a proven risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

“Each cigarette you smoke causes a temporary rise in blood pressure, damaging the walls of your blood vessels.”

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