High blood pressure means the rate at which blood travels through your arteries is too high. This force causes the coronary arteries serving the heart to slowly become narrowed from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. As arteries harden with plaque, blood clots become more likely to form.
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This is the primary cause of heart disease, a major killer both in the UK and worldwide.
Fortunately, this destructive process happens over a long period of time and high blood pressure can be reversed quickly and simply.
The surest way to lower your reading is to eat certain foods.
Nuts are a heart-healthy food but one type, in particular, has been singled out for its blood pressure-lowering benefits.
An analysis of 21 studies reported that eating nuts may lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure in people without type 2 diabetes.
Pistachios had the strongest effect of all the nuts tested on reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic and diastolic blood pressure are the two numbers used to measure your blood pressure reading.
Both are important but systolic (highest blood pressure when the heart is squeezing and pushing the blood around the body) is viewed as more important because it provides an overall picture of your heart attack risk.
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Bolstering the finding, another study reported that including pistachio nuts in a moderate-fat diet may reduce blood pressure during times of stress.
This may be attributed to a compound in the nuts that reduces the tightness of blood vessels.
It is important to note that the California Pistachio Commission of Fresno and the American Pistachio Growers funded this small-scale study.
For optimal heart-healthy benefits, you should enjoy pistachio nuts as part of a Mediterranean diet.
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A Mediterranean diet mainly consists of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.
Numerous studies show that it protects against heart disease by impeding the mechanisms that may lead to it such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Furthermore, researchers have also found that people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet are more likely to live a longer life and are less likely to become obese, notes the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Other key tips to lower your blood pressure
“Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition,” explains the NHS.
Regular exercise also aids weight loss, which will also help lower your blood pressure, says the health body.
How much do I need to do to see results?
“Adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week,” advises the health site.
It adds: “Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.”
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