High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure relates to the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. When this force is too high, it can damage the delicate tissues in your arteries. This process can eventually lead to heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, eating a healthy diet can provide a buffer against high blood pressure by reversing a high reading.
Black tea has been shown to lower high blood pressure and relax arterial stiffness – a casualty of hypertension.
What’s more, this effect has been shown to kick in within one hour of consumption.
Researchers investigated the effects of black tea on blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
For the study, published in the journal Nutrients, 19 patients were assigned to consume black tea or placebo twice a day for eight days.
Blood pressure numbers were measured before and one, two, three and four hours after tea consumption.
Compared to placebo, stiffness index decreased after tea consumption, the researchers observed.
Arterial stiffness index is a convenient and noninvasive method to measure arterial stiffness.
Crucially, black tea decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure and prevented hypertension increase after a fat load, the researchers wrote.
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In their concluding remarks, the researchers concluded that “our findings suggest regular consumption of black tea may be relevant for cardiovascular protection”.
Diastolic and systolic blood pressure – what these numbers mean
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
As a general guide:
- High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80)
- Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
According to the NHS, blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
“Everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different. What’s considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else,” notes the health body.
High blood pressure does not usually have any symptoms, so the only way to find out if you have it is to get your blood pressure checked.
In the UK, healthy adults aged over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.
“If you’re at an increased risk of high blood pressure, you should have your blood pressure checked more often, ideally once a year,” advises the NHS.
“Having this done is easy and could save your life.”
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