Imagine, you’ve got the scrambled eggs cooked to your taste – either a tad soggy or fluffy – while a slice of bread and tomatoes are on the plate. All you need is a healthy green to add into the mix. Which one is the best choice?
This green superfood is ideal for protecting your heart and lowering your blood pressure reading.
The charity Hello Heart cites a Swedish study that highlights the abundance of heart healthy nutrients this vegetable contains: potassium, folate, and magnesium.
These nutrients have been shown to bring down blood pressure readings – what is it? The answer is spinach.
Spinach’s high potassium content can negate the effect of sodium (i.e. salt), which is a no-no for people with hypertension.
Hypertension is the medical term used to describe the condition of high blood pressure.
Researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, supported this finding.
They enrolled 27 participants, who were randomly assigned to eat spinach or a placebo.
The spinach group received 845mg of nitrate per day contained in the superfood.
On the other hand, the placebo used was asparagus, which has a low nitrate content.
In comparison, the asparagus group received only 0.6mg of nitrate per day.
The experiment continued for seven days, with a one week washout period, where day one and seven, blood pressures were measured.
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The researchers observed a greater reduction in blood pressure readings for the group who ate spinach compared to those who had eaten asparagus.
It was noted that both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure recordings were lower on day seven of the study.
The average reduction in blood pressure for the spinach group was -6.93, whereas the asparagus group was -2.28.
What is systolic and diastolic blood pressure?
The NHS clarified that “blood pressure is a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around the body”.
Measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), the systolic pressure measures when the pressure the the heart muscle pushes blood out.
The diastolic pressure, on the other hand, measures the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.
Together, an ideal blood pressure reading would be 120/80mmHg, whereas high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg.
It’s important for your health to reduce your blood pressure reading if it’s higher than the ideal range.
This is because high blood pressure, as pointed out by the national health body, increases a person’s risk of heart attacks or strokes.
High blood pressure puts an extra strain on your blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.
The condition also increases the risk of vascular dementia, as well as aortic aneurysms, heart disease and heart failure.
Other techniques to lower blood pressure, aside from a healthy diet, is to regularly exercise and cut down on caffeine.