High blood pressure happens when the force of blood pushing against your arteries is consistently too high, a process that causes your arteries to narrow.
This mechanism does not produce any adverse outcomes initially, but, over time, narrowed arteries restricts blood flow to the heart, and this can trigger a heart attack.
Fortunately, high blood pressure can be lowered by making healthy lifestyle changes.
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Following a heart-healthy diet forms an essential part of lowering high blood pressure and evidence suggests supplementing your meals with certain ingredients can have a significant effect.
It is important to start your day on the right footing by eating a heart-healthy breakfast and many studies suggest sprinkling specific items on your porridge can help to lower your reading. Here are three such ingredients.
Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, a plant chemical that has been shown to boost cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and improving endothelial dysfunction.
Endothelial dysfunction is a condition in which the endothelial layer (the inner lining) of the small arteries fails to perform all of its vital functions.
To investigate the blood-pressure lowering benefits of consuming berries, researchers conducted a large study with more than 34,000 people with high blood pressure.
They found that those with the highest intake of anthocyanins — mainly from blueberries and strawberries — had an eight percent reduction in the risk of high blood pressure, compared to those with a low anthocyanin intake.
Studies investigating the health benefits of eating flax seeds have identified its natural ability to lower blood pressure.
A Canadian study found eating 30 grams of flax seeds daily for six months lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and 7 mmHg, respectively.
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Systolic and diastolic blood pressure are the two indicators that determine whether your blood pressure is normal, too high or too low.
Systolic blood pressure reading is generally regarded as more important than your diastolic reading because it gives the best indicator of your risk of having a heart attack.
In the Canadian study, for those who were already taking blood pressure medication, flax seeds lowered blood pressure even further and decreased the number of patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure by 17 percent.
Furthermore, according to a large review that looked at data from 11 studies, taking flax seeds daily for more than three months lowered blood pressure by 2 mmHg.
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While the popular spice is a great way to spruce up porridge, it has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, at least in the short-term.
An analysis of three studies showed that cinnamon decreased short-term systolic blood pressure by 5.39 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.6 mm Hg.
Why sprinkle these ingredients on porridge?
Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which may reduce blood cholesterol levels, a marker of heart disease that is associated with high blood pressure.
Beta-glucan may also lower blood pressure, according to some research.
A review of 28 trials concluded that higher consumption of beta-glucan fibre may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In addition to eating a heart-healthy breakfast, make sure to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
According to Mayo Clinic, becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure by an average of four to nine millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) – that’s as good as some blood pressure medications.
In fact, for some people, getting some exercise is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication, it adds.
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