HIGH blood pressure is a common condition whereby the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high. This pressure gradually causes your arteries to harden and narrow, which means the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This mechanism can raise your risk of having a heart attack. Loading up on potatoes could make the condition far worse. How?
Researchers, from Harvard Medical School, looked at more than 187,000 men and women in three large study.
It compared people who had fewer than one serving a month of baked, mashed or boiled potatoes, chips, or crisps, and people who had four or more servings a week.
They found that there was an 11 percent higher risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) if participants had four or more servings a week of baked, boiled or mashed potatoes.
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“Eating four or more servings of potatoes a week is associated with a significantly increased risk of hypertension,” said Dr Sarah Brewer.
“Beetroot are one of the best foods for lowering blood pressure due to their high content of nitrates.
“Boil beetroot whole, in their skins, to avoid losing their medicinal benefits into the cooking water.
“Concentrated beetroot juice is available for dilution for you daily glass of goodness. Beetroot crisps are also available as a healthy snack.”
High blood pressure is often known as ‘the silent killer’, because symptoms only tend to reveal themselves if you have extremely high blood pressure.
The most common high blood pressure symptoms include a pounding in your chest, finding blood in your urine, and severe headaches.
It’s crucial that all adults over 40 years old check their blood pressure at least once every five years.
You can check your blood pressure by visiting your local doctors’ surgery or pharmacy.
Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce high blood pressure, although some people may need to take medicine as well.
One of the most important lifestyles changes you can implement straight away is to reduce your salt intake.
As the British Heart Foundation (BHF) warns, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
Adults should eat less than six grams of salt each day – that’s about one teaspoon, says the BHF.