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Dr Xand: Research suggests Aspirin could help with stroke

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It is widely known that having high blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes. This is because it puts extra strain on your organs including the brain, kidneys, blood vessels and heart. However, it is possible to lower and maintain your blood pressure with a number of lifestyle changes.

Eating a healthier diet full of fruit and vegetables – and low in salt – is one way to help.

And one fruit in particular could be even more beneficial.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), apricots could be key to lowering blood pressure – also known as hypertension.

The popular fruit is very high in potassium.

In fact just 100 grams of dried apricots includes 1,162 milligrams of potassium – or 33 percent of your daily requirement.

In comparison a typical banana contains 358 milligrams of potassium – equivalent to 10 percent of your daily needs.

The AHA explains: “Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium.

“The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine.

“Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.”

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers.

The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

The NHS says:

High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).

And ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

The AHA adds: “Increasing potassium through diet is recommended in adults with blood pressure above 120/80mmHg who are otherwise healthy.

“Potassium can be harmful in patients with kidney disease, side effects long term use nasal steroids any condition that affects how the body handles potassium, or those who take certain medications.

“The decision of whether to take excess potassium should be discussed with your doctor.”

Other potassium rich foods that could help lower blood pressure include:

  • Avocados
  • Honeydew melon
  • Fat-free yoghurt
  • Molasses
  • Mushrooms
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Prunes and prune juice
  • Raisins and dates
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes, tomato juice and tomato sauce
  • Tuna.

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