Blood pressure Nutrition

Eat your way to healthy blood pressure

Can what you eat help keep your blood pressure healthy? Yes, says Kay Dilley, editor of Blood Pressure UK’s magazine Positive Pressure

Good things come in threes, they say. And in this instance those three things are foods we should all be eating more of to keep our blood pressure healthy.

The Mediterranean diet An Italian study published last year found that people with cardiovascular disease lived longer if they ate a Mediterranean diet. Of the 1,200 studied, those who stuck most closely to the Mediterranean diet were 37 per cent more likely to live longer than those who didn't. The research backs up the existing evidence showing a Mediterranean diet is beneficial in the general population who don’t have signs of cardiovascular disease.

BPUK says: eating a Mediterranean diet is a great way to improve your diet and your health, even if you have already had a heart attack or stroke.

Choose more: fruits, vegetables, oily fish, whole grains, low fat dairy products and olive oil instead of saturated fats.

Choose less: processed foods, meat, full-fat dairy products and saturated fats like butter.

Find recipes at ction/mediterranean.

Wholegrains A recent study of almost 800,000 people found that those who ate the

16 All About health

most wholegrain foods had better long-term health and lived longer than those who ate the least – wholegrains appeared to protect against heart disease and stroke. The authors suggested wholegrains lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol, and help prevent type 2 diabetes, plus they keep you feeling full for longer, so you’re less likely to snack.

BPUK says: wholegrains have not been processed to remove the outer layer – where a lot of the nutrients are. This study adds to the evidence that wholegrain foods are an important part of a heart-healthy diet.

Choose more: foods with words like ‘whole wheat’, ‘wholegrain’ ‘wheatgerm’ or ‘whole oat’ on the label.

Choose less: refined grains or foods made with them, like white bread, rice and pasta.

Find recipes at

Omega-3s There has been conflicting evidence about whether omega-3 fats, found mainly in oily fish, play a role in preventing heart disease. This is partly because most studies have relied on people estimating how much fish they eat, which isn’t a reliable measure of how much they eat in reality. More recently, a large study has looked at the levels of omega-3 fatty

acids in blood – which is much more reliable. The research combined the results of 19 studies from around the world, including nearly 46,000 people, and found that people with the highest amounts of omega-3s in their blood had a 10 per cent lower risk of of having a fatal heart attack during the length of the studies.

BPUK says: omega-3s are a type of unsaturated fat which can be found in oily fish, as well as some plant foods, such as rapeseed oil. Aim to eat oily fish at least once a week as part of a healthy diet.

Eat more: pilchards, mackerel, salmon, sardines and fresh tuna (not tinned).

Your local Careway pharmacist can give you lots more tips on eating healthily and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy at

Find recipes at omega.

Take the test

Know Your Numbers? – the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing event – runs from September 10 - 16, 2018. Find out more about what’s

happening that week, plus loads more

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