HIGH blood pressure is prevalent in the UK, with more than one in four people living with the condition, yet many people will not realise they have it as the condition rarely shows symptoms. Luckily, making healthy lifestyle decisions such as eating certain foods can help to lower your reading, reducing the risk of serious complications, and a certain cheese has been shown to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure happens when the force of blood pushing against a person’s artery walls is consistently too high, which means a person’s heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body.
This pressure causes vessels to become thicker and narrower, and this process can hike the risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
Fortunately, making healthy lifestyle tweaks can lower your reading and ward off the threats posed by high blood pressure.
Studies have singled out certain food items for their blood pressure-lowering benefits, and according to research presented at the presented this weekend at the 31st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH), eating Grana Padano cheese helps to lower blood pressure.
The findings suggest that just one serving of Grana Padano cheese – an Italian cheese comparable to parmesan, can lower blood pressure.
Research attributes the blood-pressure-lowering properties to peptides found in the cheese.
These short chains of amino acids strongly prevent the build-up of an enzyme which indirectly increases blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict.
Commenting on the findings, lead author Dr Giuseppe Crippa said: “The effects are similar to what you would expect with antihypertensive medications.
“Adding a little Grana Padano to a healthy diet may provide clinically significant blood pressure-lowering benefits.”
Dietary dos and don’ts
High salt intake remains the biggest cause of high blood pressure so it is imperative to cut back on the culprit to lower your reading.
How does salt send your blood pressure soaring?
As Blood Pressure UK explains, eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance between sodium and potassium in your body, which impairs the kidneys ability to remove water.
The result is a higher blood pressure due to the extra fluid and extra strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys.
According to the NHS, you should aim to eat less than six grams of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful, although many people exceed the recommended amount because salt is often hidden in the foods they eat.
The best approach is to try to always eat foods with the lowest salt level and cook with less salt.
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.
Being active and taking regular exercise also lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.
As Mayo Clinic explained: Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure.”
According to the health site, becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure by an average of four to nine millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), that’s as effective as some blood pressure medications.
It added: “For some people, getting some exercise is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication.”
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers – systolic pressure and diastolic pressure, and diastolic pressure.
Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats and diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats, according to the American Heart Association.
As Blood Pressure UK explains, systolic blood pressure is more important than diastolic blood pressure because it gives the best idea of your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week, advises the NHS.
Author: Adam Chapman