High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure relates to the intensity of blood pushing against your artery walls. This extra effort means your heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This may sound benign but it can raise your risk of having a heart attack. Finding ways to reverse this process is therefore critical.
Diet and exercise are the two essential pillars of blood pressure control and one study pitted both against each other.
Researchers compared two interventions on high blood pressure: cucumber juice and brisk walking exercise.
Researchers were working off prior evidence that shows giving cucumber to patients with hypertension can lower blood pressure significantly, while brisk walking exercise has also been shown to have a significant decrease in blood pressure.
Forty participants were divided into two groups: group one with the intervention of cucumber juice and group two with intervention of brisk walking exercise.
In the intervention group, cucumber juice was given for seven days consecutively at a dose of 150 ml while the exercise intervention performed brisk walking for 20-30 minutes for eight times over the course of two weeks.
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure was measured twice before and after the intervention of cucumber juice and brisk walking exercise.
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure are the two numbers used to record high blood pressure.
The reductions in blood pressure indicated “that there is a difference in blood pressure between the groups cucumber and group therapy exercise brisk walking”, the researchers observed.
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The intervention of cucumber juice for seven days resulted in a lower systolic blood pressure of 10.2 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure of 8.9 mmHg (blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
In contrast, the intervention of brisk walking exercise led to a lower blood pressure of 4 mmHg systolic blood pressure and 3.5 mmHg diastolic blood pressure.
“Intervention cucumber juice is more effective than intervention of brisk walking exercise in lowering blood pressure of elderly patients with hypertension,” the researchers concluded.
General dietary tips for reducing high blood pressure
Cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
As the NHS points out, salt raises your blood pressure.
“The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful,” advises the health body.
According to the health body, eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.
“Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”
How to get tested
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.
UK health guidelines advise healthy adults aged over 40 get 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.
Having this done is easy and could save your life.
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