High blood pressure: Nuts can lead to ‘modest improvements’ in hypertension – which ones?

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A high blood pressure is one with a reading of 140/90mmHg or over, according to the NHS. People who don’t exercise regularly and eat healthily are at higher risk of developing the condition. People who consume lots of salt are also at risk. But while some decisions increase risk, others may reduce it – such as deciding to eat nuts.

A recent review, which looked at most of the major tests about nuts and blood pressure, concluded that nuts can have “modest improvements” on blood pressure.

In the different studies researchers looked at, different types of nuts seemed to have different effects.

One study they looked at, which consisted of results from 16 controlled trials, found that almonds had some effect on blood pressure.

Almonds seem to have an effect on diastolic blood pressure – the pressure in your blood vessels while your heart is resting.

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Diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number in a blood pressure reading.

However, this study showed that almonds had no significant effect on systolic blood pressure – your blood pressure when your heart is pumping blood.

But another study found that a different type of nut – pistachios – can reduce your systolic blood pressure.

Cashew nuts were also found to have a similar effect, reducing systolic blood pressure significantly.

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The other ways to cut high blood pressure are to lose weight, eat a balanced diet, quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption.

Although it is rare to have symptoms, the British Heart Foundation have noted the following signs to look out for:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches.

The main way to determine if you have hypertension is to do a blood pressure test. These can be done at your GP, at some pharmacies and in some workspaces.

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