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Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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High blood pressure is a condition that means your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood around the body. This puts additional strain on certain organs and over time can cause serious issues. Heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease are among some of the dangerous health problems that can arise as a result of having high blood pressure – also known as hypertension.

Diet is a key factor when it comes to hypertension.

More specifically, many of us are aware that eating foods high in salt can raise blood pressure levels.

This is because sodium, found in salt, miralax side effects blood pressure makes the body hold onto water.

Having an excess of water increases both the fluid surrounding our cells and the volume of blood in our bloodstream – raising blood pressure.

While there are obvious changes you can make to lower your salt intake, such as simply not sprinkling salt on your meals, some foods contain deceptively high amounts of sodium.

According to the Heart Research Institute UK (HRI), certain meats can be high in sodium.

These are smoked and processed meats.

Processed meat includes things like sausages, bacon, ham, salami, canned meat and pâté.

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It lists cutting back on smoked and processed meats as one way to help lower your blood pressure, along with finding other ways to lower sodium intake.

“The World Health Organization recommends that healthy adults consume no more than five grams of salt (2000mg of sodium) per day,” the HRI says.

“However, due to current food supply practices, people tend to consume a lot more than this.

“Making simple changes in your diet to help reduce the amount of sodium you consume is a quick way to help lower blood pressure.”

It explains some other ways to achieve this.

“Reducing the amount of salt you add to meals by adding flavour through other herbs and spices, such as chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander,” it says.

“Draining and rinsing canned foods to remove as much of the sodium-based liquid as possible.

“Opting for ‘low-sodium’ versions of food products such as simmer sauces, stocks and pre-made curry bases if you use these.

“Reducing your intake of processed snacks like biscuits, chips and crackers.”

It is thought around a third of all adults in the UK are living with high blood pressure.

The only way to be sure is to get tested.

If you have concerns that you could have high blood pressure, speak with your GP.

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