High blood pressure: Doctor explains benefits of hibiscus tea
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is often referred to as a “silent killer” due to its lack of immediate symptoms. However, if left untreated, high blood pressure can be a leading risk factor for stroke and heart attacks. Though the condition can develop for a number of reasons, dietary choices can be a key contributor.
However, people don’t need to just look at the types of food they are eating, but also what they are drinking.
Research has shown that people should cut back on sugary fizzy drinks and alcohol if they hope to reduce their risk of developing hypertension.
Limiting your intake of these beverages can also help to lower your blood pressure reading if you are already suffering from high blood pressure.
According to Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Louisiana State University Health Science School of Public Health in New Orleans: “Cutting back soda consumption will benefit your blood pressure.”
Ms Chen was involved in a 2010 study that concluded by halving their soda intake, participants saw a 1.8 point reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 1.1 point drop in diastolic pressure.
Although the weight loss experienced by participants in the trial helped in reducing blood pressure, cutting back on sweetened drinks also had “an independent effect on blood pressure levels”.
George Bakris, MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, states that uric acid also plays a role.
He said: “High fructose corn syrup increases uric acid levels, which has been shown to increase high blood pressure.
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“If you even reduce what you are taking in by 50 percent over time, you will see a benefit.”
Alcohol is also known to raise blood pressure and can contribute to a number of additional health problems.
Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily raises your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases.
According to MayoClinic: “Heavy drinkers who cut back to moderate drinking can lower their top number in a blood pressure reading (systolic pressure) by about 5.5 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and their bottom number (diastolic pressure) by about 4 mm Hg.”
If you have high blood pressure, avoid alcohol or drink alcohol only in moderation.
According to the NHS: “To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks, men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week.”
People are advised to have several alcohol-free days each week.
The NHS adds: “14 units is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of lower-strength wine.”
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