Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the precursor to serious health problems like heart disease and strokes. Worryingly, your dietary choices could be the very trigger for a high reading. What’s worse, a doctor has shared that certain sandwich classics could spell bad news for your blood pressure.
A staple of quick work lunch, sandwiches are the ultimate food on the go.
However, Dr Justine Butler, head of research at Viva!, has warned that popular sarnie fillings could be raising your blood pressure reading.
Dr Butler said: “Sandwiches are filled with ingredients that contain high levels of salt, such as cheese and bacon, which could increase your blood pressure.”
Action on Salt has previously found that go-to meal deals available in high street chains can contain huge amounts of salt.
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Their findings suggested that the salt content of certain sandwiches paired with snacks and drinks could exceed four grams.
However, the NHS stresses that you shouldn’t have more than six grams of salt a day.
This amount set by the health service is the equivalent of 2.4 grams of sodium.
Some sandwich options, for example, the popular tomato and cheddar combo can score up to 2.2 grams of salt per box, which is more than a third of your daily allowance.
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While one sandwich won’t set your blood pressure reading through the roof, it’s still important to ensure that salt content in your daily menu doesn’t exceed the overall limit.
Blood Pressure UK even recommends to “cut down” on certain sandwich ingredients because of their high-salt content.
Salt is considered the “single biggest” cause of high blood pressure because of its ability to make your body hold onto water.
Dr Butler said: “The extra water in your blood causes extra pressure on your blood vessel walls, raising your blood pressure.”
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That’s why Blood Pressure UK recommends avoiding or cutting down on foods that are “particularly high in salt”, including some sandwich ingredients.
The charity recommends eating less cheese, bacon, ketchup, mustard, and pickles, to name a few salty foods.
Apart from bacon, other smoked and processed meats could also be packed with the common ingredient.
The other alternative that could help keep your salt levels in check is opting for lower-salt sandwich ingredients.
Dr Butler said: “A healthier option would a be wholemeal sandwich filled with hummus and grated carrot or sliced beetroot.
“You may have heard that beetroot can help with high blood pressure because it contains nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide in your body, which helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels – improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
“For an alternative to bacon, try fried tempeh (fermented soya beans) or smoked tofu with sliced tomatoes or go for a tofu ‘egg’ mayo sandwich with rocket.”
Blood Pressure UK adds that cutting down on salt is one of the “simplest” ways to lower your blood pressure, and will start to make a difference “very quickly”.
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