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How to improve your diet for lower blood pressure

Paula Mee

Consultant Dietitian

A few manageable tips on how to tweak your diet in order to improve your health and manage your blood pressure, from Consultant Dietitian Paula Mee.

1. Lower your salt intake to lower blood pressure

“A simple routine changes, can explicitly lower your salt or sodium intake. This can include replacing your salt shaker with alternatives like chilli flakes, pepper, or spices. To emphasize, after six weeks you will begin to realise how sensitive you are to the taste of salt again,” says Mee.

Notably most are aware of the dangers of high-salt foods, such as crisps or nuts, some hidden sources go unnoticed. “Over 70% of the salt we consume is in processed food. Check your trolley and see how much of your food items are processed compared to fresh.

Processed meats like sausage rolls, bacon, salami and pepporoni are particularly important to reduce for various health reasons,” said Mee.

2. Be potassium aware

“Include a good number of stir fried or steamed vegetables into your diet to increase your potassium intake,” says Mee. Again, “start the day with a solid foundation food like porridge oats and add something high in potassium like a banana or nuts. A good, heart-friendly start in the day, which hopefully encourages you to keep going.”

Notably, awareness of your sodium and potassium balance is key. “Ask your doctor about how best to manage your blood pressure”. Losing 10% of your weight can be hugely beneficial, if you are overweight.  “A 10% reduction in weight has been shown to have significant benefits for your blood cholesterol management too,” said Mee.

3. Alcohol’s blood pressure effect

Furthermore, Mee says: “Another significant factor that impacts our blood pressure is  alcohol, yet it’s often overlooked. Drinking a lot of alcohol can not only increase your blood pressure but also impacts food choice negatively, which can have an adverse affect on your weight and aggravate health problems,” says Mee.

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