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One of the best ways to lower blood pressure is through changing one’s diet to one balanced with fruit and vegetables.
Although vegetables are effective at helping lower blood pressure, some are more effective than others.
According to Osaka Metropolitan University, one of the most effective is sunomono; a popular Japanese side dish high in vinegar.
They say men over the age of 40 who consume the vegetable are more likely to have lower blood pressure.
Speaking about their research, Professor Kanouchi said: “The benefits of vinegar in a healthy diet are well known.
“Our research is the first observational study of these benefits; we didn’t ask participants to change anything.”
Can vinegar help lower blood pressure?
Previous studies have suggested 30mL of vinegar a day could help lower blood pressure and weight; however, vinegar can be hard to find in day to day diets; sunomono was an opportunity to test this theory.
Speaking about the dish, Professor Kanouchi said: “Vinegar is hard to observe because it isn’t a big ingredient in meals; you might get a little in vinaigrette or pickles, but people rarely drink the pickle’s vinegar brine.
“In sunomono, vinegar is part of the dish, people usually finish it.”
With regard to the benefits for men Kanouchi added: “Men who did not habitually eat sunomono had significantly higher blood pressure, even though their weight and BMI were the same.
“We believe it could be promoting growth of good gut microbiota, but we would need more studies to confirm that.”
Professor Kanouchi highlights here the main caveat of his study; that it is merely observational and so cannot make a definitive conclusion.
Nevertheless, it demonstrates the potential benefits of a popular dish and vinegar.
Other ways to lower blood pressure.
Sunomono is not commonly found in the UK, but there are other effective ways of lowering blood pressure including:
• Cutting salt intake
• Keeping active
• Cutting alcohol consumption
• Losing weight
• Drinking less caffeine
• Stop smoking.
What if lifestyle changes don’t work?
If changes to lifestyle are ineffective, medications can be prescribed to help lower blood pressure such as ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-2 receptor blockers.
These medications are normally prescribed for life, but this may not be the case if blood pressure readings remain under control.
If side effects, a possibility with any medicine, are experienced, NHS guidance states consumption of the medication to be stopped immediately.
If you suspect you have high blood pressure, speak to your GP.
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