Blood pressure: Expert reveals health benefits of tomato juice
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If you know you suffer from high blood pressure, the easiest thing you can do today to lower your reading is to remove salt from your cooking. Preventative cardiologist Dr Luke Laffin explained why. “Studies have shown that a low-sodium [i.e. salt] diet has the same effect as one-and-a-half to two blood pressure medications. Cutting your salt intake is probably the most important way to lower your blood pressure,” Dr Laffin said.
This means not adding any salt to your water when boiling pasta, or sprinkling it over your food at the dinner table.
Around 75 percent go the salt eaten is already found in everyday store items, such as bread, cereal and ready meals.
The NHS advises to opt for low-salt options when it comes to buying pizza, ketchup or cereals.
“Try choosing one food a week to check and swap when you’re food shopping,” suggested the national health body.
This can be a progressive way to reduce your salt consumption over a lifetime.
Be cautious of eating cured fish, which can have a high salt content; this is true of cured meats too.
Checking nutrition labels for the salt content can be really helpful in choosing low-salt options.
“Go easy on soy sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and other table sauces, as these can all be high in salt,” the NHS pointed out.
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Instead of adding salt to your cooking to bring out more flavour, herbs and spices can do the same thing.
Examples include black pepper, garlic, ginger, chilli and lime to make food more flavoursome.
Now that restaurants are opening their doors for inside dining from May 17, many people will be taking up the opportunity to dine out.
Smart choices around the foods you order off the menu can influence your salt intake.
For example, if you’re choosing to eat a pizza, the NHS advises to pick vegetable or chicken options instead of pepperoni, bacon or extra cheese.
If you’re opting for a pasta dish, tomato-based sources are generally less salty, and make sure the ingredients include vegetables.
For those craving a meaty burger, refrain from high-salt toppings such as bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce.
People tucking into an Indian or Chinese – either in a restaurant or at home – are advise to pick plain rice over pilau or egg fried rice.
Is salt really that bad?
Blood Pressure UK answered this directly: “Eating too much salt is the single biggest cause of high blood pressure.”
Salt causes the body to retain water, which leads to more water in the blood.
More water in the blood puts extra strain on the blood vessel walls, raising blood pressure.
If you already have high blood pressure, too much salt will raise it further – and it’ll stop blood pressure medications from working.
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