High blood pressure: The warm red drink shown to lower hypertension as much as medication

High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading

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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition whereby the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is too high. Over time, this can increase your risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease. Finding ways to lower a high reading is therefore paramount.

You can effectively lower hypertension by modifying your diet and specific items proven particularly adept at this task.

One of the most convincing is hibiscus tea, also known as roselle or sour tea, which comes from the annual bushy plant in the Malvaceae family.

It is widely grown in many African and southeast Asian countries, where it is typically consumed as a tea beverage or used in traditional medicine.

Many studies have pointed to the benefits of drinking hibiscus tea and recent research published in the journal Nutrition Reviews reviewed the current literature.

Researchers conducted a systematic search of the Web of Science, Cochrane, Ovid (MEDLINE, Embase, AMED), and Scopus databases.

They identified reports published up to June 2021 on randomised controlled trials using hibiscus as an intervention for blood pressure.

What did the researchers learn?

Hibiscus exerted stronger effects on systolic blood pressure than placebo, with the “magnitude” of reduction greatest in those with elevated blood pressure at baseline, wrote the researchers.

What’s more, hibiscus induced reductions to blood pressure similar to that resulting from medication, they noted.

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Hibiscus also significantly lowered levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) compared with other teas and placebo, the researchers found.

LDL cholesterol is a waxy substance that can stick to the inside of your blood vessels. Like high blood pressure, it’s a precursor to heart disease.

“Regular consumption of hibiscus could confer reduced cardiovascular disease risk,” the researchers concluded.

“More studies are warranted to establish an effective dose response and treatment duration.”

Other important dietary tips

It’s vital that you watch your salt intake because salt raises your blood pressure.

The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.

According to the NHS, you should aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.

The health body adds: “Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.”

Getting tested

Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it.

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.

All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.

You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:

  • At your GP surgery
  • At some pharmacies
  • As part of your NHS Health Check
  • In some workplaces.

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