High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can result in serious health problems if left untreated.
The best way to treat high blood pressure is to make some simple lifestyle changes, according to the NHS.
Alongside losing excess weight and doing more exercise, eating certain foods can help with reducing your blood pressure.
Bupa recommends what foods you should incorporate into your diet, but also those you should eat less of and avoid completely – including supplements.
While the healthcare group recommends adding more more calcium and potassium to your diet, including low-fat dairy products and beans, peas and nuts as well as green vegetables and bananas, it advises not to take calcium, potassium or other supplements in an attempt to reduce low blood pressure.
Other diet recommendations include:
- Fruit and vegetables that are a source of polyphenols – there is evidence these help reduce blood pressure.
- Oily fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, as they also contain polyphenols.
- Less sugar and saturated fat.
- Less salt. Try alternatives in cooking, like herbs and spices, and check processed food labels to find lower-salt varieties. Salt substitutes don’t help you get used to a less salty taste and can be harmful if you have certain medical conditions.
- Cutting down on alcohol – stick to recommended guidelines 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.
- Less coffee and other caffeinated drinks like cola.
Bupa adds: “It is unlikely that any of these lifestyle changes will make a big difference to your blood pressure. But if you make an effort to improve all of them, you’re more likely to see results.”
Symptoms of high blood pressure are rarely noticeable, so how can you tell if you’ve got it?
Boots Web MD advises: “The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure measured. All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.
“Regular checks are especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.”
If your blood pressure is extremely high there may be certain symptoms to look out for.
The pharmacy chain says these include:
- Severe headache
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical advice immediately.