High blood pressure: Study reveals the best type of breakfast cereal to lower your reading
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, describes the amount of pressure that is exerted on the artery walls as blood moves through them. The threshold that is generally considered to be high blood pressure is a reading of 140/90mmHg or above. Optimal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
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Crossing the 140/90mmHg threshold poses genuine health concerns.
The NHS explains: “If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.”
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as heart disease, it warns.
Fortunately, a modest reduction in your reading can significantly lower your risk of complications.
Diet offers one of the surest solutions for high blood pressure and it is important to eat a heart-healthy breakfast cereal to kickstart your day.
When perusing the breakfast isles, evidence suggests buying whole grain cereals such as oatmeal and bran flakes if you are looking to lower your reading.
This is the advice put forward by a study conducted by Harvard University researchers.
The study also found that the frequency of eating these types of cereal had an impact on blood pressure.
The researchers collected information from more than 13,000 doctors between the ages of 40 and 86 who did not have high blood pressure when they entered the study.
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More than 7,000 of them developed the condition during the 16-year study period.
The men were divided into four groups according to the amount of breakfast cereal they ate: no cereal, one serving a week or less, two to six servings a week, and seven or more servings a week.
Compared with the group that ate no cereal, the researchers found that the more servings of cereal the men ate, the lower the chance of developing high blood pressure.
“We know that blood pressure rises with age and this interesting research provides us with another way to help control it,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, a Penn State University professor of nutrition who was not involved in the study.
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She added: “It’s not a restrictive message that tells us to, ‘Eat less of ….’ What it says is, ‘Enjoy cereal for breakfast’.”
The odds of developing high blood pressure dropped by seven percent among those who ate one serving a week or less, and by 12 and 19 percent respectively among the groups having two to six servings and seven or more servings, even after adjusting for other factors such as age, smoking, weight, physical activity and type 2 diabetes.
The men who ate whole grains, such as oatmeal and bran flakes, rather than refined-grain cereal such as corn flakes, fared even better.
It is widely understood that “whole grains modify the risk of developing hypertension, which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attacks, stroke and kidney disease,” said lead author Kochar.
Eating whole-grain breakfast cereal, along with other healthy lifestyle measures such as limiting your salt intake and getting enough physical activity, may reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure, he added.
The finding echoes a previous study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The previous study showed that eating whole grains seems to lower the risk of death from heart, respiratory and infectious diseases.
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