High blood pressure is a trigger for serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. It’s alarming that what you put in your body can lead to this silent state. While meat can be part of a healthy diet, a certain type of meat that Brits love can raise your blood pressure reading instead.
From beef to pork, red meat is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, allowing it to form part of a balanced diet, according to the NHS.
While your supply of iron and protein may cheer up when you eat this type of meat, how it is prepared is important.
Unfortunately, British classics like sausage, bacon and ham can also pose a risk for your high blood pressure.
According to Blood Pressure UK, these three food items are “particularly high in salt”, which means they should be “try to avoid”.
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Don’t just take the charity’s word for it, as research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that processed red meat can increase blood pressure by 17 percent.
The study looked at 44,616 disease-free French women, who were instructed to fill out a dietary questionnaire.
The results revealed that those who ate five or more servings of processed red meat per week had a 17% higher rate of blood pressure. One serving is rated as 50 grams.
Even worse, research in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that just 50 grams of processed meat eaten per day could be enough to increase the risk.
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The reason British staples like sausage and bacon can spike your reading is due to their salt content.
Considered the ‘biggest’ cause of high blood pressure, the trick for salt is water retention, explains Blood Pressure UK.
The common spice causes your body to retain water, which causes more water to be pumped into the blood and compresses the arteries—a perfect storm for high blood pressure.
Additionally, if your high blood pressure levels are already in the red, salt can exacerbate this problem.
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Fortunately, cutting back on the popular ingredient is one of the simplest ways to lower blood pressure, advises the charity.
“And [it] It will start to make a difference very quickly, even within weeks,” Blood Pressure UK states.
The NHS states that you should eat no more than six grams of salt per day, which is 2.4 grams of sodium.
To monitor salt intake, the charity recommends looking at food labels in a grocery store and avoiding foods with a high salt content, which is 1.5g or more per 100g of food.
Dietitian Victoria Taylor, from the British Heart Foundation, added: “This doesn’t mean you have to give up red and processed meat entirely, a healthy diet is not based on single foods or nutrients.
Consider your diet as a whole to strike the right balance.
“The Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and includes only small amounts of red and processed meat, with a greater emphasis on plant-based protein such as lentils, nuts, seeds, and fish as well as eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”
The current government recommends keeping red and processed meat intake to 70g or less per day.
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