High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce dangers
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the precursor of serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes. Your levels can rise in response to poor lifestyle decisions. While fish can be a very healthy food, a specific type could raise your hypertension reading instead.
Celebrated for its various health benefits, fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for your heart health.
While your cardiovascular system might rejoice when you eat salmon or mackerel, the way fish is prepared matters.
In fact, dried fish could put your blood vessels at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK.
Dried fish is a popular snack that comes in several flavours and sizes.
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The drying preservation method removes water from the fish, extending its shelf life.
Most dried fish products are believed to pack protein while keeping their fat content low.
However, the dried meat also contains a potentially harmful ingredient for those with high blood pressure – salt.
According to Blood Pressure UK, dried fish is “particularly high in salt”, which means you should “try to avoid” it or find a lower-salt alternative.
Considered the “single biggest” cause of hypertension, salt’s trickiness stems from water retention.
The common seasoning makes your body hold onto water, which puts extra water in your blood and applies extra pressure on your arteries – a recipe for hypertension.
Plus, if your high blood pressure levels are already in the red zone, salt can exacerbate this problem.
Eating too much salt can lead to further health problems, ranging from heart disease to stroke.
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Fortunately, cutting back on the common seasoning is one of the simplest ways to lower your hypertension reading, Blood Pressure UK advises.
“And [it] will start to make a difference very quickly, even within weeks,” it states.
To take control of your salt intake back, the charity recommends looking at the labels and avoiding foods with high salt content, which is 1.5 grams or more per 100 grams of the food.
The NHS adds you shouldn’t have more than six grams of salt per day, which represents 2.4 grams of sodium.
Although dried fish might not be too kind to your blood vessels, fish is not all bad.
On the contrary, oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines, could help protect your heart and brain from disease, according to research.
The omega-3 content in fresh fish meat could even keep your blood pressure levels in check, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains.
The BHF shares: “Combining oily fish, as part of a traditional Mediterranean style diet, will give your body the best chance of staving off disease.”
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