High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if it is left untreated, it can cause more serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
The condition affects more than one in four adults in the UK, but because symptoms are subtle, many people will not realise they have it.
To avoid serious complications that come with untreated hypertension, the NHS recommends maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking.
Eating certain foods has been found to increase your risk of hypertension – a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting suggested eating well-done meat is linked to high blood pressure.
To reveal whether or not we should all stop eating well-done meat, Dr Chris Steele took to ITV’s This Morning.
The preliminary study presented at the meeting analysed more than 100,000 participants.
None of the participants started with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, but 37,123 developed high blood pressure over the next 12 to 16 years.
Scientists looked at participants who ate at least two servings of red meat, chicken or fish every week. People who preferred meat well-done as opposed to rare had a 15 per cent higher chance of developing high blood pressure.
They also found eating meat that was highly charred was associated with a 17 per cent increased risk for hypertension.
Speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, Dr Chris said well-done meat may have been found to increase the risk of hypertension, but other factors should be considered.
He said: “They might have high salt intake or they be suffering from weight problems. We just don’t know these other factors.”
It has long been known that cutting back on meat in favour of vegetables helps maintain good health and lowers your risk of developing certain cancers, including bowel cancer.
The publishing arm of Harvard Medical School also advises not to overcook or burn your meat – this time to lower your risk of cancer and increase your chance of living a longer life.
A chargrilled steak or well-done burger from the barbecue may be tempting, but any blackened, crispy bits signal a buildup of carcinogens, which can lead to cell changes which eventually turn to cancer.
The Harvard experts add that chargrilled parts of poultry or fish are also carcinogenic, so it is not enough to just steer clear of overcooked red meat.
One tip is to cut off visible fat from any meat. “Cutting off fat, which causes flames to flare on the grill, can help avoid charring,” they note.
You should instead try sautéing, steaming or braising these foods in liquid.
Certain other foods have been found to increase your risk of cancer developing, including this cooking oil.