Nutritionist shares essential foods to effectively manage blood pressure

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

Nutritionist Jane McClenaghan, based at Vital Nutrition, shared how a specific type of fat – found in various foods – could improve cardiovascular health.

“Omega-3 fats can help support a healthy cardiovascular system and may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke,” said McClenaghan.

“They have been shown to help manage many risk factors associated with heart attacks and strokes,” she elaborated.

This includes “balancing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, managing blood pressure and regulating heart rate”.

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What are omega-3 fats?

“Omega 3 fats are long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids,” McClenaghan explained.

“They are essential for human health, meaning that we need to get them through our diet or take as a supplement, as they cannot be made by our bodies.”

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  1. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  2. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  3. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

“DHA and EPA are found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies,” added McClenaghan.

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“ALA is found in plant-based sources. Chia seeds and walnuts are good sources, but flaxseed is one of the richest plant-based sources of omega 3 in our diets.”

McClenaghan recommended that flaxseeds should be part of our daily diets, whereas we should consume oily fish up to three times per week.

“A 20g serving of Linwoods Milled Flaxseed added to your food each day will add a little omega-3 boost to your diet,” said McClenaghan.

Not only are omega-3 fatty acids good for cardiovascular health, but the fats are also “important for supporting hormone balance”.

McClenaghan added: “Studies have shown that they may help reduce symptoms of PMS [pre-menstrual syndrome], including low mood, anxiety and poor concentration.”

According to McClenaghan, omega-3 fats also have anti-inflammatory properties and could have a beneficial impact on learning, memory and cognitive function.

In addition to dietary changes, such as eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, there is another key ingredient when it comes to managing blood pressure – exercise.

The NHS suggests people get their heart racing for as little as 150 minutes each week.

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