High blood pressure is a condition which causes the pressure inside the arteries to be higher than it should be, but it can be hard to spot because symptoms are rarely noticeable. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your reading regularly checked, either by your GP, your local pharmacist or using a blood pressure monitor at home.
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Having high blood pressure increases the risk of getting complications such as kidney disease, problems with vision, heart attack and stroke.
So what can you do to keep blood pressure in check? Eating a healthy diet can help, and certain foods have also been shown to hold blood pressure lowering qualities.
One surprising food which has been shown to lower blood pressure is salmon.
Salmon is high in potassium – a key mineral the body relies on heavily to function properly as it helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt.
Blood Pressure UK explains: “Your kidneys help to control your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. The more fluid, the higher your blood pressure.
“Your kidneys do this by filtering your blood and sucking out any extra fluid, which it then stores in your bladder as urine.
“This process uses a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder.
“Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water.
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“By eating more fruit and vegetables, you will increase your potassium levels and help to restore the delicate balance. This will help your kidneys to work more efficiently – and help to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level.”
Studies have also shown the effectiveness of potassium on high blood pressure.
A large analysis of 31 studies found supplementing with potassium significantly reduced blood pressure, especially when added to a high-sodium diet.
One study also found restricting potassium led to an increase in water retention and blood pressure in healthy people with normal blood pressure.
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Bananas are famously a rich source of potassium, but research has shown salmon contains more potassium than an equivalent amount of banana. (https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2)
Other aspects of diet people should look to change to keep blood pressure in check is to cut down on the amount of salt (sodium) in food.
Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain, rice, bread and pasta, as well as plenty of potassium-rich fruit and vegetables, also helps lower blood pressure.
Other ways to prevent or reduce blood pressure
Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition, according to the NHS.
The health body states: “Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure.
“Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
“Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.”
Limiting alcohol intake, losing weight if you’re overweight, cutting down on caffeine and stopping smoking can also help keep blood pressure in check.
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