This Morning: Dr Chris discusses blood pressure and dementia
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is famously branded the “silent killer” because it is usually symptomless. If the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels increases severely, you may experience marked changes, and this could increase your risk of having either a heart attack or a stroke. Fortunately, health experts advise sipping on tomato juice which has been shown to help lower readings.
When it comes to the best fruit and vegetables to consume for blood pressure, new research has shown the positive effects of tomato juice.
Tomato juice was found to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol in people at risk of heart disease.
The 481 Japanese participants in the study were provided with as much unsalted tomato juice as they wanted for a whole year.
They kept “tomato juice diaries” in which they recorded exactly how much they consumed each day, in addition to any health changes they noticed.
Blood pressure dropped by three percent on average in 94 participants with untreated pre-hypertension or hypertension, according to the findings published in the journal Food Science and Nutrition.
The beneficial effects were similar among men, women and different age groups, the research team from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University found.
Other recent studies have reported similar results among people suffering with stage one hypertension and for pregnant woman.
To avoid unnecessary sodium, which can have the opposite effect on blood pressure, experts advise to make sure to buy unsalted tomato juice.
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The main driver of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, which occurs when plaque builds up within blood vessels. As time goes on, placque becomes harder, narrowing the arteries.
Atherosclerosis begins when the endothelium, or the inside surface of blood vessels, sustains damage, said Medical News Today.
The health site continued: “This damage can occur for a number of reasons, some of which are high blood pressure, diabetes, and levels of cholesterol in the blood.
“If a person can control these three factors, they could significantly reduce their risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular conditions.”
Researchers explain how the tomato contains a variety of bioactive compounds, such as carotenoid, vitamin A, calcium, and gamma‐aminobutyric acid, which may play a role in maintaining physical and psychological health, including the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Modifying your lifestyle may mean you can keep high blood pressure at bay.
One of the most important protective measures is to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
According to the NHS, you should cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Salt raises your blood pressure – the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
“Aim to eat less than six grams (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful,” advises the NHS.
It adds: “Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.”
Know your numbers
According to the NHS, blood pressure testing is available:
• At your GP surgery – by a GP, practice nurse, healthcare assistant or self-service machine
• At some pharmacies
• At an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults aged 40 to 74 in England
• In some workplaces
• At a health event
As the health body explains, blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is given as two figures:
• Systolic pressure – the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
• Diastolic pressure – the pressure when your heart rests between beats.
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