High blood pressure is dubbed the “silent killer”. Scientific research reveals how eating one “superfood” can lower your reading – and it only costs £1.
Hypertension is the medical term used to describe high blood pressure – a reading of 140/90mmHg or higher.
Home blood pressure monitor kits can be used to measure your blood pressure, or it can be done at the GP’s clinic or participating pharmacies.
The ideal blood pressure reading is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg (measured in millimetres of mercury).
Understanding blood pressure readings
The NHS states that the first number represents “the force at which the heart pumps blood around the body”. This is known as the systolic pressure.
Following on from the first number is the second number, which represents “the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels”. This is known as the diastolic pressure.
A Swedish study revealed how one “superfood” brought down blood pressure readings due to its abundance of heart-healthy nutrients.
The “superfood” contained the nutrients potassium, folate and magnesium.
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For the kidney to work effectively, it undergoes a process called osmosis to draw extra, unwanted fluid from the blood.
This delicate process requires a balance of sodium and potassium to pull the fluid across a wall of cells from the bloodstream to later be released via the bladder.
Excess sodium (salt) wrecks the delicate balance needed for osmosis, thereby reducing the ability of the kidneys to remove the fluid.
The extra fluid puts a strain on blood vessels and consequently raises blood pressure.
Over time, excess sodium could lead to kidney disease, whereby its ability to filter out toxic waste products is compromised, and toxins begin to build up in the body.
Not only that, the artery walls thicken in response to the extra strain placed upon them.
This then narrows the arteries further, and raises blood pressure even higher.
At some point, the arteries may burst under the strain or become so narrow that they become blocked.
When this happens, whichever organs of the body were receiving the blood from the arteries become starved of oxygen, leading to organ failure – and it can be fatal.
Potassium, on the other hand, is a key mineral (found in spinach) that “helps lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium”, says the charity.
Eating spinach will help to re-balance the fragile potassium and sodium balance needed for osmosis.
With osmosis under control, the kidneys can work effectively to remove excess fluid, arteries are under less strain and blood pressure readings reduce.