High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the pressure of the blood in the body is too high, putting extra strain on the heart and blood vessels.
If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks or strokes.
High blood pressure can be caused by many things, including lack of exercise, being overweight, or drinking too much alcohol, but it can also be caused by your diet, especially if you eat too much salt and not enough fruit and vegetables.
Here are six items you need in your fridge if you want to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
Fresh vegetables, and fruit, are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
Dairy products can be high in saturated fat and some cheeses can be high in salt, however they are also a good source of calcium, so you shouldn’t ditch them completely.
Instead, opt for skimmed and semi-skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt, goats’ milk and goats’ cheese, or low-fat cheese like soft or cottage cheese.
Fruit juice and smoothies
A 150ml glass of fresh fruit juice counts as one of your five-a-day, and smoothies can count for even more as they contain the whole of the fruit.
You should avoid juice from concentrate and juices labelled as ‘juice drinks’, as they only contain a small amount of fruit and may be high in added sugar.
Fresh or cooked meats
Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, are low in saturated fat, as are chicken and lean meats.
The healthy oils in fish will also ensure a good balance of cholesterol in the blood.
Avoid fatty cuts of meat or prepared food like scotch eggs or sausages, as they can be high in both salt and saturated fat.
Eggs are a useful source of protein and minerals, but should be eaten in moderation.
Always check the label when buying salad dressings as they can be high in salt, sugar and fat.
Salad is good for lowering blood pressure, but an unhealthy salad dressing can counteract this.
Instead of buying salad dressing, you could make your own with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice.
“If you want to eat a blood pressure lowering diet, you need to have blood pressure friendly foods to hand,” said Blood Pressure UK.
“The best way to give yourself a headstart is to make sure that your kitchen is stocked with the right ingredients.”