Managing high blood pressure: Eat richly coloured green, orange, and red vegetables

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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The Cleveland Clinic says there are several foods people should eat if they have high blood pressure, and as part of a healthy diet generally. These include vegetables, which if they are “richly coloured green, orange, and red items” are high in potassium and minerals that help lower blood pressure.

It says the goal is five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

The organisation says a diet high in fast foods, processed foods, carbohydrates and potatoes and meat is likely to be low in potassium, contributing to high blood pressure.

Nonetheless, if you have significant kidney disease, you should be careful not to consume too much potassium, because your kidneys may not be able to eliminate it.

The decision of whether to take excess potassium should be discussed with your doctor.

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Blood Pressure UK says potassium plays a role in how much fluid is stored in your body, and how much is released in your urine.

It explains: “If your body is holding onto water, there will be more fluid in your blood.

“This puts extra pressure against your blood vessels walls, raising your blood pressure.

“Normally, excess fluid is removed from your blood by your kidneys and filtered into the bladder. This process involves a fine balance of sodium and potassium.”

It adds: “Sodium is the part of salt that puts up our blood pressures. If you eat too much salt, there will be more sodium in your blood, and the sodium holds onto water.

“This upsets the fine balance of sodium and potassium that is needed for water to be pulled out of the blood and into the kidneys.

“By eating more foods that are high in potassium, you can help to restore the balance, allowing the kidneys to work well and lower your blood pressure.”

The NHS says: “A diet high in salt (or sodium) can cause raised blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Some foods are almost always high in salt because of the way they are made.”

It says that as well as reducing the amount of salt you eat and having a generally healthy diet, you should cut back on alcohol, lose weight if you’re overweight, cut down on caffeine and if you are a smoker you should stop smoking.

High blood pressure often has no symptoms, and many people who have high blood pressure do not know it, according to the NHS.

If you are over the age of 40, the health body says you should be getting it checked every five years.

As many as five million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so will not know that they are at risk, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Blood pressure is defined as the force put on your blood vessels and organs as blood is pumped around your body by your heart.

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure, higher number, is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure, lower number, is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

The NHS says: “Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.”

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