Sunday, 26 Mar 2023

Two popular condiments could increase your high blood pressure risk

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, lays the groundwork for serious health problems, ranging from heart attacks to strokes. Your reading can rise in response to your dietary choices. What’s worse, a charity advises that two popular condiments should be avoided.

From being the staple ingredient in bacon sarnie to serving as a dip for pigs in blankets, ketchup and mustard are beloved condiments.

Found on every pub table, these two sauces are perfect for dipping and seasoning.

While your taste buds might rejoice when you pair these condiments with your meal, your blood pressure might not be so impressed.

In fact, mustard and ketchup could put your blood vessels at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK.

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Apart from vinegar, the two condiments have another ingredient in common.

The red and yellow sauces also contain a potentially harmful component for your hypertension levels – salt.

According to Blood Pressure UK, ketchup and mustard are “particularly high in salt”, which means you should “try to avoid” them or find a lower-salt alternative.

Considered the “single biggest” cause of high blood pressure, salt’s problematic nature comes down to water retention.

The popular ingredient makes your body hold onto water, which puts extra water in your blood, stirring up extra pressure in your arteries – a recipe for hypertension.

What’s worse, if your high blood pressure levels are already in the dangerous zone, salt can exacerbate this problem.

Eating too much salt can lead to further health problems, ranging from heart disease to stroke.

The good news is that restricting your salt intake represents one of the simplest ways of lowering your blood pressure reading, according to the charity.

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What’s more, cutting back on the common seasoning will start to make a difference “very quickly” – even within weeks.

While ketchup and mustard are packed with the popular ingredient, salt is hidden in many other foods you buy at the grocery store.

The charity therefore recommends looking at the labels and avoiding foods with high salt content, which is 1.5 grams or more per 100 grams of the food.

The NHS warns you shouldn’t have more than six grams of salt per day, which represents 2.4 grams of sodium.

Apart from salt, ketchup contains another pesky ingredient that spells no good news for your blood pressure – sugar.

Blood Pressure UK explains that foods with added sugar are often packed with calories while providing “very little or no nutritional value”. 

The extra energy hiding in a ketchup bottle could make you gain weight which can raise your blood pressure in return.

The government advises that only five percent of your daily energy intake comes from free sugars, which is the equivalent of 30 grams, or seven teaspoons.

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