High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure means the force of your blood is pressing against your artery walls is consistently too high. If left untreated, this causes your arteries to constrict and narrow, reducing the flow of blood to vital organs, such as the heart. Stymying the flow of blood to heart can hike your risk of having a heart attack.
Fortunately, you can reverse this process by making healthy dietary decisions.
Research has identified specific components that can help to ward off the threat of high blood pressure.
Oolong tea – a traditional Chinese tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant – falls into this category.
A study published in the journal JAMA Network, examined the long-term effects of oolong tea drinking on the risk of hypertension.
The study was carefully designed and used a large number of people (1,507 subjects of 711 men and 796 women).
Researchers gathered detailed information on tea consumption and other lifestyle and dietary factors associated with hypertension risk.
The result showed that those who drank at least 120 mL/day (half a cup) of oolong tea for a year, had a 46 percent lower risk of developing hypertension than the non-tea drinkers.
What’s more, amongst those who drank 120 to 599 mL/day (two and a half cups), the risk of high blood pressure was reduced by 65 percent.
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The researchers concluded that habitual oolong tea consumption of at least 120 mL/day for one year “significantly reduces the risk of developing hypertension in the Chinese population”.
High blood pressure – drinks to cut back on
Cutting back on caffeine may help to your blood pressure reading but its impact is debated.
The Mayo Clinic explains: “Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it.
“But people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure.”
According to the health body, “to see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage”.
“If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.”
Millimetres of mercury (mmHg) – what does this measurement mean?
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
The measurement is used to record two numbers:
- The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
- The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
According to the NHS, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).
“Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg,” explains the health body.
It is important to note that everyone’s blood pressure reading will be slightly different.
“What’s considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else,” notes the NHS.
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