This Morning: Dr Chris discusses blood pressure and dementia
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The consequence of long-term high blood pressure is that it can overwork the heart muscle and damage the blood vessels; this can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Which oily fish provides the most benefits? Firstly, the cholesterol charity Heart UK confirmed that oily fish “can help lower blood pressure”. Oily fish can also help to “keep the rhythm of your heart steady” and “prevent blood clots”.
The charity recommends that everybody should eat at least one portion of oily fish weekly.
- Herring (kippers)
Researchers from the Department of Internal Medicine at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, investigated the effects of omega 3 on blood pressure.
The clinical trial involved 90 participants who were randomly assigned to consume omega-3 or a placebo.
One group had 3g of omega-3 daily for eight weeks whilst the other group consumed a placebo.
By the end of the two-month trial, the omega-3 group had a lower systolic blood pressure by up to 22.2mmHg.
Meanwhile, the placebo group saw an increase in their systolic blood pressure by 0.5mmHg.
Furthermore, the diastolic blood pressure of the omega-3 group also decreased by around 11.95mmHg.
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The placebo group, on the other hand, only experienced a decrease in diastolic blood pressure by 1.1.mmHg.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) concur that omega-3 “has been shown to help lower blood pressure”.
Some scientists suggest that fish oils lead to the relaxation of blood vessels, hence why it lowers blood pressure.
But exactly how this happens is currently unclear, and is now under investigation.
Dr Alister McNeish and team at the University of Reading are looking to understand exactly how eating oily fish lowers blood pressure.
The research team are exploring whether tiny pores in the blood vessels walls – known as potassium channels – have a part to play in lowering blood pressure.
Dr McNeish theorises that fish oils interact with potassium channels, causing them to open.
Research into this area is a gateway to developing more effective medication to treat people who have high blood pressure.
As it stands, “more than a third of people prescribed medication still have high blood pressure”, said the BHF.
When it comes to choosing which oily fish is best for lowering your blood pressure, the answer is all of them – as they all contain omega-3.
Variety in your diet is key to gaining the most vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
So to help lower your blood pressure, choose one oily fish a week to enjoy.
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