High blood pressure can cause arteries to harden and thicken, which can lead to health complications like heart attack and stroke. While the exact cause of the condition is not always obvious, certain factors such as diet have been shown to increase the risk of it developing – particularly eating a high amount of salt in your food. High blood pressure can be prevented or reduced by eating healthily. The NHS recommends cutting down on the amount of salt in your food and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
But specific foods alone have been proven to have blood pressure lowering qualities – one being lentils.
Lentils are a staple in many diets around the world and are an excellent source of protein and fibre for vegetarians and vegans.
In 2014, researchers who studied the effects of a diet rich in pulses on rats, found decreased levels of blood pressure, as well as cholesterol.
A total of 30 per cent of their diet was made up of pulses, including beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas.
This makes other pulses, like lentils, just as effective.
It’s not just certain foods that can help lower blood pressure.
Alongside diet changes to help prevent and reduce high blood pressure, experts recommend make other lifestyle changes.
Bupa lists the following:
- Lose excess weight, especially fat stored round your waist.
- Do more activity, particularly aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping. But get medical advice first – things like weightlifting and weight training can make high blood pressure worse.
- Cut down on alcohol – stick to recommended guidelines (not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol each week) and try to have at least two alcohol-free days a week. If your hypertension is mainly linked to drinking too much alcohol, it may disappear after a couple of weeks of complete abstinence.