High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure is a common condition whereby the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily reversed by making simple dietary tweaks. Research suggests drinking sour tea can significantly reverse a high reading but it matters when you drink it.
Sour tea, also called hibiscus tea, is a fragrant tea made from the dried calyxes of the tropical Hibiscus sabdariffa flowers.
The aim of a study published in the Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research sought to evaluate the antihypertensive effect of sour tea on stage one hypertension.
Stage one hypertension, also called prehypertension, is a blood pressure reading that indicates you may get high blood pressure in the future.
Patients with stage one hypertension who were diagnosed by a cardiologist have been included in the present clinical trial after giving informed consent.
The patients were divided into two groups. The control and case group received the same lifestyle and dietary advice for controlling blood pressure. The case group received two standard cups of sour tea every morning for one month.
The blood pressure of both groups was documented at baseline and at the end of the study and the results were analysed.
A total of 46 patients participated in this study and there was no significant difference in terms of age and body mass index (BMI) between groups.
BMI is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.
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There was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure in both groups, but the mean reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was “significantly higher” in the sour tea group, the researchers observed.
The researchers concluded: “Using H. sabdariffa as sour tea two times a day can be effective in managing blood pressure in stage one hypertension along with lifestyle and dietary modification.”
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure – what these numbers mean
Blood pressure is recorded with 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.
They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
- As a general guide:
- 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.
General tips to treat hypertension
Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce high blood pressure, although some people may need to take medicine as well.
According to the NHS, you should cut your salt intake to less than 6g (0.2oz) a day, which is about a teaspoonful.
Eating a low-fat, balanced diet – including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – can help, says the health body.
Other tips include:
- Be active – read some tips about getting more exercise
- Cut down on alcohol
- Lose weight
- Drink less caffeine – found in coffee, tea and cola
- Stop smoking.
“You can take these steps today, regardless of whether or not you’re taking blood pressure medicines,” adds the NHS.
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