Chris Evans reveals his wife gave him a blood pressure monitor
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Hypertension or high blood pressure as it is otherwise known is when the blood vessels in your body have consistently raised pressure. This condition can lead to issues like heart attack, heart disease or stroke. While this may seem scary, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure.
High blood pressure can be very dangerous as it is a silent condition – meaning there are often no symptoms.
Some people will experience symptoms such as headaches, nosebleeds or shortage of breath, however, you will need a test to diagnose hypertension.
If you are worried about your blood pressure, it’s worth asking your GP to take a blood pressure reading.
Your blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.
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When you have high blood pressure, the force of blood against your artery walls is high and this can lead to health problems.
If you have hypertension, there are key lifestyle changes you can make to reverse it.
These include eating a balanced diet, exercising more, cutting down on alcohol and quitting smoking.
But there is one food specifically you should avoid when it comes to hypertension.
Too much salt in your diet can cause raised blood pressure and increase risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eating too much salt can cause your body to retain fluid.
The NHS says adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium) – which is around one teaspoon.
The following foods are almost always high in salt. To cut down on salt, eat them less often and have smaller amounts:
- gravy granules
- salted and dry-roasted nuts
- smoked meat and fish
- soy sauce
- stock cubes
- yeast extract
Foods that can be high in salt
In the following foods, the salt content can vary widely between different brands or varieties.
That means you can cut down on salt by comparing brands and choosing the one that is lower in salt. Nutrition labels can help you do this.
These foods include:
- bread products such as crumpets, bagels and ciabatta
- pasta sauces
- ready meals
- tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and other sauces
- breakfast cereals
Try and read labels to ascertain salt levels and buy products low in sodium.
Packaged foods have colour-coded nutrition information to show whether the salt content is:
- green (low)
- amber (medium)
- red (high)
Try and stick to low sodium food products as much as possible.
Other lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure also include
- generally eating a healthy diet
- cutting back on alcohol
- losing weight if you’re overweight
- exercising regularly
- cutting down on caffeine
- stopping smoking
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