High blood pressure is very common in the UK, with more than one in four adults found to have the condition. Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause the arteries to thicken and harden, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke happening. High blood pressure can usually be prevented or reduced by some simple lifestyle changes, such as eating healthily. Cutting down on the amount of salt in your food and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables are general rules.
But individual food and drink have also been found to hold blood pressure-lowering qualities – one of these being sesame seeds.
Sesame seeds are tiny seeds, rich in oil, that grow from the Sesamum indicum plant.
They’ve been found to have many potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol.
A number of studies have suggested sesame seeds can help lower blood pressure.
One study found sesame seeds high magnesium content helped lower blood pressure.
Other studies have found lignans, vitamin E and other antioxidants in sesame seeds may help prevent plaque buildup in arteries, so could therefore help maintain healthy blood pressure.
Another study involved people consuming 2.5g of powdered, black sesame seeds in capsule form every day.
At the end of one month, the participants experienced a 6 per cent decrease in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) compared to the placebo group.
Sesame seeds can be added to a variety of meals, including salads, stir-frys and rice dishes.
Before trying any foods or supplements to lower blood pressure, it’s best to get the advice of your GP.
Alongside eating a healthy diet, it’s also important to be active to prevent and reduce high blood pressure.
The NHS states: “Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.
“Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure.
“Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
“Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.”
Losing weight if your overweight, cutting down on caffeine and not smoking are other ways recommended to keep blood pressure in check.