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High blood pressure is the biggest known cause of disability and premature death through stroke, heart attack and heart disease.
Healthy Eatiing and Blood Pressure:
What you eat and drink can have a real effect on the health of your heart and blood vessels. A healthy diet will help to keep them in good shape, reducing your risk of future health problems. What you eat and drink can also directly affect your blood pressure. In general, the healthier your diet is, the lower your blood pressure will be. To help keep your blood pressure down, it is important to keep to a healthy diet. If you have high blood pressure, it is even more important to look closely at your diet. If you make healthy changes to what you eat and drink, this can help to lower your blood pressure. If you take medicines for your blood pressure, a healthy diet can help these to work better, and can reduce the amount of medicines you need. For a few people, changing to a healthy lifestyle will help them to avoid medicines altogether.
To help lower your blood pressure you should try to:
Salt makes your body hold on to water. If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body will raise your blood pressure. An adult should eat no more than six grams of salt a day, but most of us eat almost twice that amount. Most of the salt we eat is not what we add to cooking or at the table. Around 80% of the salt we eat is in prepared foods like bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits and ready meals.
Check food labels to see how much salt the food contains. Labels may tell you the amount of salt in each pack, in each portion, or in every 100g. Some labels may not say how much salt the food contains, but they may say how much sodium it contains. Sodium is one of the chemicals in salt, and one gram of sodium is equal to two-and-a-half grams of salt. If the label does not say how much salt the food contains, look at the ingredients list. The closer to the top of the list salt is, the more salt the food is likely to contain.
Amount of Salt per 100gms
10 Ways to eat less salt:
10 Ways to get the best from fruit and vegetables:
If you drink too much alcohol, this will raise your blood pressure over time. Alcohol also contains a lot of calories which can cause you to gain weight. This will also increase your blood pressure. If you keep to the recommended limits for alcohol, this will help to keep your blood pressure down. The current recommended limits are 21 units of alcohol a week for men, and 14 units a week for women.
How many units are in what you drink?
Single measure of spirits (25ml) 1 unit
Pint of normal-strength beer 2 units
Medium glass of wine (175ml) 2 units
Large glass of wine (250ml) 3 units
Pint of strong beer 4 units
A low-fat diet can help you keep to a healthy weight, which in turn will help keep your blood pressure down.
A diet that is low in fat can also help you keep down the level of cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke, so if you have high blood pressure it is very important to keep your cholesterol levels low.
Types of fat
Avoid eating too much saturated fat. This is usually found in red meats, butter, palm oil or ghee.
Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, rapeseed oil or sunflower oil. Unlike saturated fat, these fats will not raise your cholesterol levels. However they will still cause you to gain weight if you eat too much.
Amount of fat per 100g
Less than 3g total fat or 1g saturated fat - These foods are a good choice
Between 3–20g total fat or 1–5g saturated fat - Eat small amounts occasionally
More than 20g total fat or 5g saturated fat - Avoid these completely
Making healthy eating part of your life
It is one thing to know that a healthy diet will help your blood pressure. It is another thing to be able to make all the changes you need, and to stick with them. Here are some tips from other people with high blood pressure which may help you.
If you want to lower your blood pressure through a healthy diet, it is really important to stick to the changes. In a few weeks you will get used to the new tastes and flavours, and you will also see the difference it makes to your blood pressure.