High blood pressure: Eat this legume to lower your blood pressure reading
High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high. While this may seem harmless, consistently high blood pressure causes the arteries that transport blood to your heart to lose their stretchiness and narrow. Restricting the blood flow to your heart starves it of oxygen, a mechanism that can trigger heart attacks.
- High blood pressure: The Asian delicacy proven to lower blood pressure
It is therefore imperative that you can take steps to bring your blood pressure under control.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays a key role in reducing blood pressure, and no diet is complete without legumes.
The legume family consists of plants that produce a pod with seeds inside, and common examples include lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans, and peanuts.
Particular legumes have been championed for their ability to lower blood pressure.
According to research, peas, or specifically garden peas, have shown promise in tackling high blood pressure, along with chronic kidney disease, a complication of high blood pressure.
Over time, high blood pressure can put strain on the small blood vessels in the kidneys and stop the kidneys working properly.
According to a study presented at the American Chemical Society’s 237th National Meeting, a protein found in the yellow garden pea, a staple of Indian cookery, is responsible for the reported health benefits.
Working with University of Manitoba colleague Harold Aukema, study lead Rotimi Aluko, Ph.D., a food chemist at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, purified a mixture of small proteins — called pea protein hydrolysate — from the yellow garden pea.
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The researchers fed small daily doses of the protein mixture to laboratory rats with polycystic kidney disease, a severe form of kidney disease used as a model for research on CKD.
At the end of the eight-week-long study period, the protein-fed rats with kidney disease showed a 20 percent drop in blood pressure when compared to diseased rats on a normal diet, the researchers say.
“This is significant because a majority of CKD patients actually die from cardiovascular complications that arise from the high blood pressure associated with kidney malfunction,” Dr Aluko noted.
Lentils are another legume that has been shown to lower blood pressure.
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A study in rats revealed that those eating lentils had greater reductions in blood pressure levels compared to those given either peas, chickpeas or beans.
Furthermore, research shows that proteins in lentils may be able to block the substance angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE), which normally triggers blood vessel constriction and thereby increases your blood pressure .
Other ways to reduce your risk of high blood pressure
Eating a healthy balanced diet also helps to maintain a healthy weight, another key measure in controlling blood pressure.
As the NHS explains, being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.
Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise offers a tried-and-tested way to keep your weight at a healthy level.
“Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition,” explains the NHS.
The health body recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
“Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening,” it adds.
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