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How to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol

Reports taken in 2015 showed that high blood pressure affected more than 1 in 4 adults in England – around 13.5 million people. In the UK alone, high blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for disease; after tobacco smoking and poor diet.

The team at Love Yourself; who specialise in healthy meal plans; have some top tips to help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s never too late and making small changes can have huge long-term benefits.

As we age, changes to our bodies are inevitable. However, if you’re over the age of 50 you face an increased risk of high blood pressure, or even hypertension. This could be possibly due to the changes that occur in your vascular system. Your elastic tissue reduces in your arteries which in turn causes them to become stiffer and as a result blood pressure increases. This does not mean that as soon as you turn 50 you will experience high blood pressure, however your prevalence is much greater.

What is cholesterol and why should I care?

Cholesterol is a sterol. It is a type of fatty substance that is made in the liver and can be found in some foods, too. Our bodies need small amounts, but having too much can clog up the arteries thus leading to even bigger problems. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart disease. Even if your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are only slightly higher than they should be, they can work together to quickly damage your blood vessels.

Diet plays a huge role in health, especially as we age; adopting healthier eating habits is an easy way to boost your health.  Cholesterol is found in foods such as meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk (mainly animal protein foods). Reducing your intake of these foods, may decrease your prevalence for high cholesterol.

Reduce Salt Intake 

Excessive sodium (salt) consumption forces your body to hold onto extra water to remove the salt from your body which puts extra pressure on your heart and arteries. Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts daily will in turn decrease your sodium intake.

The daily sodium recommendations for adults, as stated by the NHS, is no more than 2,300 mg – that’s around 1 teaspoon of salt.

Get up and active

We know exercise isn’t for everyone, but it is so important to stay fit and active. This doesn’t have to be a marathon run or weightlifting, a brisk afternoon walk will do.  You will not regret investing 30 minutes of your day to your body and health. Call a friend while you take a walk outside, try out yoga, or simply find an exercise partner. Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger which means it requires less effort to pump blood around the body, decreasing the force on your arteries hence lowering your blood pressure.

Reduce Stressful Situations

Figure out what causes you to be the most stressed and think about how you can reduce or eliminate the thing that triggers your stress. Some stress triggers cannot always be avoided so consider making time for yourself to relax and do activities that you enjoy. Learn the best way to cope with stressful situations in a healthy way.

Cutting back on Caffeine 

Researchers believe that caffeine could block the hormone that helps keep your arteries widened. Studies have also shown that people who consume caffeine regularly have a higher average blood pressure than those who do not consume caffeine. It might be worth considering cutting out your morning coffee, some days, to keep your heart healthy!

Change your diet, Change your life.

Bold statement, we know; but choosing the right diet for you or making small adjustments can have drastic benefits, short and long term.

Making changes to your diet is the best way to control your blood pressure and consuming nutritious and heart healthy foods can make a world of difference. Choose foods, such as:

  • Fatty fish – such as salmon
  • Citrus fruits – like oranges and grapefruit
  • Berries
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lentils
  • Raw nuts
  • Extra virgin olive oil

High blood pressure is preventable. Seeing as it generally has no symptoms, early diagnosis and effective management can prevent progression of other issues. Following these simple steps may reduce your risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, thus keeping your heart and body healthy.

Taking the stress out of nutrition is our aim, helping you be the healthiest and happiest. Spend more time doing what you love, with who you love. Try our Vegetarian, Pescatarian or Balanced diets with 30% off your first order to help control and lower the chance of high blood pressure and cholesterol.

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