High blood pressure is a worldwide issue with around 25% of the population being diagnosed with hypertension, often caused by poor lifestyle choices. This puts a huge strain on our under-pressure healthcare system.
High blood pressure leads to an increased risk of stroke and other cardiovascular disease and is a marker of metabolic syndrome. There are several dietary and lifestyle factors that play a part in the progression of this disease. These factors include a lack of physical exercise, obesity and stress.
The type of foods that you eat can also have a profound impact on blood pressure. Certain minerals that we get from foods including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium help regulate the pressure inside of the blood vessels. Imbalances in these minerals can negatively affect the regulation of blood vessel contraction or relaxation, or cause the blood to retain too much water, increasing blood volume.
The constriction of blood vessels and the increased blood volume causes blood pressure to rise, as its harder for the blood to circulate. This puts a strain on the heart and arteries. Alcohol and caffeine are two examples that affect hormones causing blood vessels to constrict.
Inflammation in the blood vessel walls can result in plaque deposits in the arterial walls that cause obstruction and narrowing, resulting in higher blood pressure. Diets high in sugar and trans fats are a common cause of this inflammation.
Foods to avoid for healthy blood pressure
Making small changes to the types of food you eat can have significant benefits on blood pressure and reduce the risk of further health complications. Besides omitting some foods, there are other foods that can have a positive effect on blood pressure.
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