Phillip Schofield gets blood pressure checked in Istanbul in 1991
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Millions of Brits have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and in all likelihood millions more are walking around with no idea they are at increased risk of heart attack or stroke. However, by changing your diet and lifestyle you can slash your risk of high blood pressure. What is the 2p snack you should eat every day to lower your blood pressure?
A third of British adults have high blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK.
Your blood pressure climbing beyond the ‘healthy’ range is a grave warning sign of severe health conditions including a heart attack or stroke.
However, this warning sign doesn’t have any symptoms, meaning many Brits are walking around every day with no idea the danger they’re in, as their blood pressure continues to sky-rocket.
This is how hypertension earned the nickname the ‘silent killer’, as unfortunately some people only learn they have high blood pressure as a result of a cardiac arrest or stroke.
If you’re feeling worried, and can’t remember the last time you had a blood pressure reading, it’s time to see your GP.
You can also have a blood pressure reading at many local pharmacies, in case that’s easier than arranging a doctor’s appointment.
If you are overweight, a smoker, or have a family history of heart disease, you are considered ‘at risk’ for high blood pressure and should have it checked once a year.
The NHS says people over the age of 40 should have their blood pressure checked every five years, even if they feel healthy and have no risk factors.
However, leading a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your blood pressure under control.
So, could this 2p snack help to slash your risk of high blood pressure?
They aren’t just a tasty plant-based snack, a portion of these nuts could add years to your life.
Pistachios have been studied for their beneficial effects on weight loss, lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and maintaining healthy blood vessels.
A portion of pistachios is a high-protein and low-calorie snack, even more so than other nuts.
And at £5.30 for a bag of 250 grams of pistachios, that works out at approximately 2 pence per nut.
Lower blood pressure
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force put on your blood vessels and organs as blood is pumped around your body.
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A review of 21 studies found eating pistachios reduced people’s systolic number (the top number in your blood pressure reading) by 1.82mm/Hg and the dystolic number (the bottom number) by 0.8 mm/Hg.
Just make sure you opt for unsalted pistachios: salt is to be avoided when you’re following a diet to lower blood pressure.
Healthier blood vessels
Pistachios are also rich in L-arginine, an amino acid which turns into nitric oxide when you eat it.
Nitric oxide is crucial for a process called vasodilation, where your blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow.
For this reason, pistachios are even recommended to treat erectile dysfunction.
Lower cholesterol levels
There are even more ways these tasty green nuts can reduce your risk of heart disease: pistachios are also credited with lowering cholesterol.
One study of 32 men who consumed 20 percent of their daily calories in pistachios found their cholesterol levels dropped by a whopping 21 percent.
You don’t need to replace a fifth of your food with pistachios though, just grab a pack and help yourself to a serving every now and then.
So, next time you’re reaching for a snack, consider grabbing a healthy handful of pistachios: your body will thank you.
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