One of the most important ways to lower high blood pressure is to improve your diet. While this means cutting down on foods high in salt and fat, increasing your intake of potassium can also lower your reading. Bananas are a fruit hailed for their high potassium content, but one leafy, green vegetable actually contains over double the amount of the mineral than a banana. This vegetable is Swiss chard, sometimes known simply as chard. Swiss chard is similar to spinach, but with a stronger flavour.
According to medical website Healthline, just one cup of cooked Swiss chard provides around a whopping 961mg of potassium.
This is more than double the 422mg of potassium found in a medium-sized banana.
Potassium can help to lower blood pressure because it works with the kidneys to balance the level of salt and water in the body.
This is important because salt is a common contributor to high blood pressure.
The kidneys work by filtering the blood and sucking out any extra fluid, which they then store in the bladder as urine.
“This process uses a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder,” said Blood Pressure UK.
Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in the bloodstream, which wrecks the balance, reducing the ability of the kidneys to remove water.
But consuming more potassium will increase the levels of the mineral in the body, which will help to restore the balance.
“This will help your kidneys to work more efficiently – and help to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level,” said Blood Pressure UK.
On top of this, Swiss chard is also a great source of vitamins K and A.
Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting, which means it helps wounds heal properly. It may also help keep bones healthy.
Vitamin A, meanwhile, helps the immune system to work properly and keeps skin and the dining of some parts of the body healthy.
“Swiss chard is a nourishing dark green vegetable that contains over twice as much potassium per cooked cup than a banana,” said Healthline.
“Swiss chard is sometimes overlooked in favour of other leafy greens, but it’s a delicious base for salads and can be easily steamed or sautéed with a little oil.”
Swiss chard can be bought in supermarkets. It can be boiled, steamed, stir-fried or roasted.
In addition to adding it to salads, Swiss chard can be added to baked gratins, pies, stews and soups.
High blood pressure: Four ways to lower blood pressure
High blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs. It increases the risk of some life-threatening heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
Hypertension can often be prevented, and blood pressure reduced, by making some diet or lifestyle changes.
Cutting back on the amount of salt in your diet is a great way to lower blood pressure.
Salt raises blood pressure, and the more you eat, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
Aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day – the equivalent to about a teaspoonful.
Blood pressure could be raised if you regularly drink too much alcohol.
Those most likely to have hypertension are people that regularly exceed the week recommended limits.
All adults are advised to drink less than 14 units of alcohol in a single week.
If you’re overweight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which raises blood pressure.
Losing just a few pounds could make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Staying active is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure.
It helps you to lose weight, while also keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
All adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
Read more here: Daily Express :: Health Feedhappy wheels
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