High blood pressure or hypertension is an extremely common problem as people get older. It is called the silent killer because most of the time it causes no side-effects.
High blood pressure is diagnosed when the figures are above 140/90.
It is common for patients to be advised to try life-style changes initially to lower their blood pressure, before moving on to medication.
Things you can do to lower blood pressure: lose weight, exercise and eat a healthy diet low in salt.
Some foods have been shown to lower blood pressure. Nuts have been extensively researched.
Pistachio nuts when compared with other nuts have the most powerful effect in lowering blood pressure. This is according to a recent review published in 2015. The researchers performed a scientific analysis of 21 clinical trials, all carried out between 1958 and 2013. The review appears online in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Nutrition.
This thorough analysis looked at patients with and without type 2 diabetes, because it is though that eating nuts can affect blood pressure in people with or without type 2 diabetes in different ways. When subgroups were analysed based on the type of nut consumed it was found that that pistachios significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, whereas mixed nuts reduce only diastolic blood pressure. When those with type 2 diabetes were removed from the analysis, only pistachios decreased systolic blood pressure as well.
Other Nuts Also Lower High Blood pressure
Almond nuts can help to reduce blood pressure levels, when eaten in addition to a healthy diet. In fact, almonds are included in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – the DASH Diet. In this diet, almonds are included in the “nuts, seeds and legumes” group.
The Dash diet recommends eating four to five servings of this food group per week. With regard to almonds, one serving of almonds is just one-third cup. The healthy monounsaturated fat in almonds contributes to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduced arterial inflammation, which ultimately helps lower the pressure inside the arteries.
Very recent research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has found that walnuts, long known to be healthy, may lower blood pressure. Walnuts contain a plant-based omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which scientists believe has beneficial effects on blood pressure.
The researchers also found that the participants who ate the whole walnut diet had lower central blood pressure than those who ate the other diets.
Central blood pressure is the pressure moving toward the heart, and scientists consider it to be a reliable indicator of a person’s cardiovascular risk.
“When participants ate whole walnuts, they saw greater benefits than when they consumed a diet with a similar fatty acid profile as walnuts without eating the nut itself,” explains lead study author Prof. Penny Kris-Etherton, at Pennsylvania State University.
Research shows that eating cashews, can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. This may occur by reducing blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels. Nuts are naturally cholesterol-free and contain good amounts of heart-healthy fats, fibre, and protein. They also contain arginine, which protects the inner lining of artery walls.
Now just a little word of caution. Nuts are amazing to snack on and are very healthy. The usual recommended amount is what fits in the palm of your hand unless specifically indicated. Some nuts have a higher fat content then other so make sure you educate yourself. Being overweight also contributes to high blood pressure. Everything in moderation. If you can get them raw, by this I mean not coated with to much salt, this is best.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure you should avoid salted nuts and eat just plain unsalted nuts.