High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects more than a quarter of UK adults, according to the NHS. The condition doesn’t usually have symptoms, but if left untreated it can lead to serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes. It’s therefore essential to take measures to lower your blood pressure if it is too high. One food which may help to lower blood pressure, and which has become a particularly popular and ‘fashionable’ food with health-conscious people, is the edamame bean.
Edamame beans are immature soybeans served in the pod, traditionally used in Japanese and east Asian cuisine.
According to medical website Healthline, one cup of edamame beans typically contains around 676mg of potassium – a mineral which can help to lower blood pressure.
Most people associate bananas with having a high potassium content, but edamame beans actually contain more. One medium-sized banana contains around 422mg of potassium on average.
Potassium can help to lower blood pressure because it works with the kidneys to balance the level of salt and water in the body.
The kidneys work by filtering the blood and sucking out any extra fluid, which they then store in the bladder as urine.
“This process uses a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder,” said Blood Pressure UK.
Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in the bloodstream, which wrecks the balance, reducing the ability of the kidneys to remove water.
But consuming more potassium will increase the levels of the mineral in the body, which will help to restore the balance.
“This will help your kidneys to work more efficiently – and help to lower your blood pressure to a healthy level,” said Blood Pressure UK.
Edamame beans are also a good source of vitamin K, magnesium and manganese.
Magnesium is also beneficial to healthy blood pressure, as it relaxes muscle cells in the artery linings, in turn reducing blood pressure.
High blood pressure: Four ways to lower blood pressure
High blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs. It increases the risk of some life-threatening heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
Hypertension can often be prevented, and blood pressure reduced, by making some diet or lifestyle changes.
Cutting back on the amount of salt in your diet is a great way to lower blood pressure.
Salt raises blood pressure, and the more you eat, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
Aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day – the equivalent to about a teaspoonful.
Blood pressure could be raised if you regularly drink too much alcohol.
Those most likely to have hypertension are people that regularly exceed the week recommended limits.
All adults are advised to drink less than 14 units of alcohol in a single week.
If you’re overweight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which raises blood pressure.
Losing just a few pounds could make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Staying active is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure.
It helps you to lose weight, while also keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
All adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
Manganese helps make and active some of the enzymes in the body, which carry out chemical reactions such as breaking down food.
Vitamin K, meanwhile, is needed for blood clotting and helps wounds to heal properly.
Improving your diet is essential if you want to lower your blood pressure, especially by cutting down on foods high in salt and saturated fat.
Eating too much salt is one of the most common causes of high blood pressure. In some cases, cutting down on salt can be enough on its own to reduce blood pressure.
Saturated fat, meanwhile, contributes to weight gain, and people who are overweight are more likely to develop high blood pressure and the related complications.
As well as cutting down on unhealthy foods, it could also be worth adding other foods to your diet that contain qualities that are able to lower blood pressure, such as edamame beans.