High blood pressure: The purple vegetable shown to lower your risk of hypertension
High blood pressure belongs to a club of conditions that are deceptively lethal. Alongside type 2 diabetes and cholesterol, high blood pressure does not produce any symptoms but it is a precursor to heart disease, which can prove fatal. To ward off the threat of cardiovascular complications further down the line, it is therefore important to reverse high blood pressure if you develop it.
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Short of symptoms, the only reliable way to determine whether you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked.
This test, which is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), uses two numbers to measure your blood pressure:
- Systolic pressure – the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- Diastolic pressure – the pressure when your heart rests between beats
According to the NHS, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or an average of 135/85mmHg at home) – or 150/90mmHg or higher (or an average of 145/85mmHg at home) if you’re over the age of 80.
If blood pressure falls into a higher range, lifestyle changes are usually recommended to bring it within a healthy range.
Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily reversed by making healthy dietary decisions.
As the NHS explains, general dietary advice dictates that you cut down on your salt intake and increase the amount of fruit and veg in your diet to lower your reading.
Eating plenty of fruit and veg may seem like an obvious counter response but certain items have proven to be particularly adept at the task.
Aubergines, for example, have been shown to lower blood pressure.
The deep purple superfood was noted by Japanese researchers in the journal Food Chemistry to contain acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which has a moderating effect on blood pressure.
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When they conducted an experiment with hypertensive rats, they found that feeding them aubergine lowered their blood pressure.
What’s more, other Japanese scientists have experimented with aubergine powder to lower blood pressure in human beings.
The experiment, published in the journal Nutrition, demonstrated that people can lower their blood pressure with the purple vegetable.
Additional heart-healthy benefits
Aubergines have also been shown to counter other harmful mechanisms that lead to heart disease, such as high cholesterol.
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In one study, rabbits with high cholesterol were given 0.3 ounces (10 ml) of aubergine juice daily for two weeks.
At the end of the study, they had lower levels of both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, two blood markers that can lead to an increased risk of heart disease when elevated.
The importance of exercise
Eating heart-healthy foods should also be combined with a physically active lifestyle to reverse high blood pressure.
The NHS explains: “Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.”
As the health body points out, regular exercise can also help you to lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure.
To reap the rewards, 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, says the health site.
Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.
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