High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects more than one in four adults in the UK, but many won’t realise they have it.
Heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease are just a few of the potentially life-threatening conditions caused by high blood pressure.
But there are a number of things you can do to control it and naturally lower your reading.
A healthy diet is one of the key natural remedies – while the amount of saturated fats you eat should be reduced, healthy fats, like avocados, can help deal with high blood pressure.
While your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to work properly, too much can result in a build up of cholesterol in your arteries, narrowing them and increasing your risk of a heart attack and stroke.
The type of fat you eat is important as some types of fats are more likely to raise your cholesterol levels and other will help lower it.
According to Blood Pressure UK, your body uses saturated fat to make cholesterol, therefore eating too much saturated fat will raise your cholesterol.
It says: “Too much cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke, so if you have high blood pressure it is very important to keep your cholesterol levels low.”
Healthy fats include nuts, seeds, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and avocados.
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that replacing saturated fats – found in many animal products like dairy and red meat – with monounsaturated fats may help lower your blood pressure.
But you should watch the high calorie content in avocados – particularly since being overweight is a high blood pressure risk factor.
One half of an avocado could contain up to 200 calories, but eating half a day can “help stave off heart disease and diabetes”.
Your blood pressure is recorded with two numbers; systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Systolic pressure describes how hard blood is being pumped around the body by the heart.
Diastolic pressure is the resistance to the flow of blood in blood vessels.
An ideal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
But if you don’t have a blood pressure monitor at home, how can you get a reading?