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Blood pressure

Blood pressure

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With Valentine’s Day just gone, we are taking a look at heart health.

At the shop last year we ran a blood pressure challenge to see if we could help people bring their blood pressure down naturally over a two week period. This was an extremely popular challenge, with many people coming in to get checked and returning two weeks later to see whether our suggestions had made the difference.

Jenny Logan.

Jenny Logan.

One of our favourite stories was a lady who came in knowing her blood pressure was high and desperate to reduce it naturally as she had previously had a bad reaction to the doctor’s blood pressure tablets. Now for those confused by blood pressure readings, the top figure is how fast your blood is being pumped around your body after your heart has just beaten and an ideal reading would be around 135-140.

The bottom reading is how fast blood is still moving whilst the heart is resting and the ideal level for this is around 85. So a perfect blood pressure reading would be 135/85. The higher the figures are above this ideal, the more pressure there is on blood vessels and the greater the risk of a problem like a stroke.

As I said, this lady had known her blood pressure was high, but because of her previous bad reaction to medication, the doctor had suggested she try to bring it down with diet and lifestyle changes, but had told her she would have to try medication again if there was no improvement. So she was very keen to take everything we said on board.

Obviously we talked to her about diet and the importance of avoiding salt and salty foods. We also suggested she cut down her tea and coffee intake to four a day (she had been on eight-10, which is a lot of caffeine).

We also recommended beetroot tablets. Beetroot has been found to contain compounds that may help to relax blood vessels, this in turn reduces blood pressure. Some reports have suggested there could be a difference in as little as 48 hours, but we asked this lady to try everything we had suggested for the next two weeks.

When she returned, she was a different woman. She had lost weight, she was feeling really well and her blood pressure had decreased. Needless to say she remained on the suggested regime and her blood pressure remained at a healthy level.