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High blood pressure: Doctors advise switching to this diet

Posted on 18/04/2018 by

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HIGH blood pressure has few observable symptoms, but can be deadly if left untreated. Public Health England says it is the third biggest risk factor for all diseases, after smoking and poor diet. Making simple changes to diet, could lower your blood pressure.

High blood pressure has no clear cause, although the NHS suggests age, being overweight and eating a high amount of salt may be factors.

Around one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure, according to a 2015 Health Survey in England, but many do not realise they have the condition. It is often detected only through routine health checks.

The NHS suggests that “simple” lifestyle changes can often help to reduce blood pressure, lowering the risk of early death. One of these is making changes to what you eat.

This recommended healthy diet, by Dr Colin Tidy, aims to ‘clean up’ your health by reducing blood pressure and helping weight loss.

Every kilogram of weight you drop could lower your blood pressure.

Eat fruit and veg

Dr Tidy, speaking to, said you should consumer “at least” five portions of the ‘good stuff’ a day, ideally seven to nine portions. Apples, oranges, lettuce, bananas and melons are all good choices.

NHS Choices also recommends consuming at least five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

“That’s five portions of fruit and veg in total, not five portions of each [type a day],” says its website.

Starch-based meals

A third of your plate should be covered by starch-based foods, such as wholegrain breads, potatoes, rice and pasta, according to Dr Tidy.

Dr McDougall’s Health and Medical Centre backs his advice.

“Changing to a low-fat, no-cholesterol, low-sodium, high-potassium diet (in other words, to a starch-based diet), allows the blood to flow more easily within a few hours.”

Blood pressure: How to lower your blood pressure naturally.

Limit salt intake

Salt, or sodium, is found in many processed and ready-meal foods. Public Health England says it is one of the most important risk factors for high blood pressure.

Government guidelines recommend that we consume about 5 - 6g a day, but the national average salt consumption is estimated to be 8g a day.

Dr Tidy has several tips for reducing your salt intake.

“Use herbs and spices rather than salt to flavour food,” he says. “Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Limit the amount of salt used in cooking. Do not add salt to food at the table.”

For those that can’t get enough of the taste, he recommends replacing salt with a “reduced sodium salt alternative.”

“It’s the sodium in salt that puts your blood pressure up, and using a version where some of the sodium has been replaced with potassium may lower blood pressure.”

Use wholegrain foods

Dr Tidy also says you should eat this version of foods. Wholegrain foods are particularly beneficial for people with high blood pressure, as they are backed with lots of helpful nutrients, according to the Mayo Clinic. These include potassium, magnesium, folate, iron and selenium.

Eat low-fat spreads

Soaking your toast in butter may be a favourite past-time, but, if you have high blood pressure, now is the time to stop.

Dr Tidy says you should ‘mop-up’ this habit, and focus on the low-fat, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated alternatives.

Fatty meats, cheeses, full-cream milk, fried foods, and butters should be avoided, he says.

Consume fish

Two to three portions of fish a week will help reduce blood pressure, according to Dr Tidy. At least one of these should be oily, such as mackerel, herring or salmon.

These are available from the fish counter or pre-packaged at most UK supermarkets.