High blood pressure is caused by a person’s lifestyle, family history or stress. The Global Burden of Disease 2015 highlights high blood pressure as the second biggest known global risk factor for disease after poor diet. It also noted that high blood pressure was responsible for 10.7 million deaths worldwide. In the UK, high blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for disease after tobacco smoking and poor diet. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure, coronary artery disease and stroke. How can a person reduce their blood pressure readings and reduce their risk of life-threatening incidences?
Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium
The American Heart Association
Avocados have rich levels of potassium and recent studies have shown that increasing potassium intake may help lower blood pressure. Avocados contain about 152mg and 345 mg of potassium per 30g.
Avocados are low in sodium salts and provide potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E, all of which have benefits in aiding to reduce blood pressure symptoms.
The American Heart Association said: “Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine.
Potassium also helps to ease tension in the blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.”
A study at the US National Library of Medicine investigated the effects of avocado consumption on blood pressure and cholesterol and noted the effects of avocado which have been demonstrated in several studies.
Many population studies of the Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approaches to to Stop Hypertension (DASH) show that higher intakes of monounsaturated fats, those found in avocados, are associated with lower raters of hypertension, heart attack and strokes.
Avocado leaf extracts also have blood pressure lowering actions. Avocado leaves are a traditional treatment for hypertension in African countries such as Nigeria and Togo.
The avocado leaves are boiled in water to make an infusion tea.
Other foods high in potassium:
- Fat-free yogurt
- Lima beens
- Oranges and orange juice
The NHS said: “More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it.
“The only way to find out if you blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked. All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.”
Symptoms of high blood pressure:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Nose bleeds
- Stomach pain
Avocados have also been proven to help aid weight loss, protect vision, reduce heart attack risk, lower cholesterol and potentially ward off cancer.
If you suspect you might have high blood pressure you should speak with your GP and have a blood test and begin preventive measures.
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