High blood pressure is notoriously nicknamed “the silent killer”, meaning individuals can go about their day not knowing they have the condition and the serious health consequences it entails. But a high BP reading can be managed with lifestyle adjustments.
In fact, one study has confirmed how a simple addition to a meal could lower blood pressure readings.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, folic acid, protein and fibre and are a great addition to your diet.
The three-week study saw women who ate 30 grams of sunflower seeds daily, as part of a balanced diet, experience a five per cent drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number of a reading).
Any reduction in high blood pressure can only be good on your overall well being.
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High blood pressure forces your heart to work extra hard to supply blood to the rest of the body.
This is because persistent high blood pressure (medically termed hypertension) damages the arteries which restricts blood flow to and from the heart.
Unnaturally high pressure on the arteries causes the usually elasticated vessels to become stiff and narrow.
When any organ struggles to get the blood flow it needs – which carries oxygen and nutrients – it begins to die.
For instance, if blood flow is interrupted to the brain, this could result in a stroke.
Should the heart receive abnormally low blood flow (or none at all) a heart attack is imminent.
And high blood pressure can lead to kidney failure.
The consequences of high blood pressure can be deadly, so managing the condition is vital to prolonging life.
As the earlier study revealed, sunflower seeds have successfully lowered blood pressure readings.
They are inundated with healthy vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium and protein.
Technically the fruits of the sunflower plant (Helianthus annuus), Healthline report the seeds can block an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict.
Helping to widen the area where blood flows through, it’s clear how sunflower seeds can reduce blood pressure.
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Heathline adds that magnesium found in sunflower seeds can help reduce blood pressure levels too.
Rich in unsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleum acid – a hormone-like compound that relaxes blood vessels – there are a few ways in which this seed can be beneficial for those with high blood pressure.
Described to have a mild, nutty flavour, it’s easy to sprinkle these little gems on an array of meals.
For some delicious meal ideas, try adding sunflower seeds to casseroles, sautéed vegetables or salads.
It’s not unheard of to roast sunflower seeds to enhance their flavour.
And they’re just as good on hearty meals as they are on baked goods, such as breads and muffins.
Other dietary considerations when trying to combat high blood pressure is to cut down on salt and to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
The British Heart Foundation adds: “Don’t cook with salt or add any to your food at the table.”
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