Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
It is thought around one in four people in the UK have high blood pressure, with many of them unaware that they have it.
Often symptomless, the condition significantly increases your chance of potentially fatal medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.
This is because of the extra strain it places on many of your vital organs, such as the heart, brain and kidneys.
It is well known that one of the driving factors for high blood pressure – also known as hypertension – is poor diet, with foods high in salt among the main culprits.
However, diet can also be used to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and even lower your reading.
Mark Gilbert, nutritionist at The 1:1 Diet by Cambridge Weight, recommended drinking orange juice daily if you are concerned about your blood pressure.
“The best way to reduce blood pressure is regular exercise and weight loss but many things in the diet can help,” he told Express.co.uk.
“One food that has been specifically studied for weight loss is orange juice and specifically a flavone found in orange juice, called hesperidin.
“Studies on this topic have shown different results over the years.
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“For instance, a review of 19 high-quality studies showed a significant effect on diastolic blood pressure (diastolic is the smaller number on the bottom of your blood pressure result, that reflects blood pressure between heartbeats).
“However, a more-recent but smaller review concluded that there is no effect.”
He continued: “Interestingly, as with many interventions, there may be a substantial genetic influence to this effect, meaning that some people benefit from orange juice and others don’t.
“In a recent study, when subjects drank orange juice for 60 days and had their blood tested for breakdown products of hesperidin and other flavonoids, the ones who could metabolise and break the flavonoids down in their liver more effectively showed a significant reduction in blood pressure, whilst the other subjects did not.
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“An added bonus here was that those subjects also lost body fat.
“So whether a natural chemical in orange juice lowers blood pressure in some people or whether those who get a fat-loss effect from orange juice get the blood pressure benefits of weight loss is not known but regardless, the outcome seems to be positive.
“Certainly, substantial weight loss causes rapid reductions in blood pressure, which we see in our diet clients across multiple studies.”
One study, not referenced above by Mr Gilbert, showed that drinking orange juice over a 12-week period reduced blood pressure among participants.
The paper, published in European Journal of Nutrition in 2021, concluded: “Hesperidin in orange juice reduces systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure after sustained consumption, and after a single dose, the chronic consumption of hesperidin-enriched orange juice enhances its postprandial effect.
“Hesperidin-enriched orange juice could be a useful co-adjuvant tool for blood pressure and pulse pressure management in pre- and stage-1 hypertensive individuals.”
The only way to be sure whether you have high blood pressure is to get tested.
If you have concerns that you could have high blood pressure you should speak with your GP.
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