High blood pressure: Three ‘healthier alternatives’ to meat that can raise your reading

High blood pressure: Three ‘healthier alternatives’ to meat that can raise your reading

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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High blood pressure is often the result of poor lifestyle decisions taken over time. Salt is the main culprit because it sneaks its way into many food products. Cutting down on meat may seem like a safe bet but even healthy meat alternatives can also raise your blood pressure.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Sakib Mohammed, prescribing pharmacist at Click2Pharmacy explained: “In many cases, foods we consider to be healthier alternatives to red meat can be a particular issue for people at risk of high blood pressure.”

As the pharmacist pointed out, these foods aren’t usually an issue on their own, “but we often eat them in larger quantities than we should and with other high-sodium foods, which can be cause for concern”.

Halloumi is a great example, he said.

“It’s great as a meat substitute for vegetarians as it’s high in protein and minerals, but it’s actually loaded with salt.”

According to Mr Mohammed, the average 30 grams serving of halloumi alone will usually account for around 15 percent of your daily recommended salt intake.

“People are likely to use significantly more than 30 grams if they’re using it to replace meat too.”

Salmon also presents hidden health risks.

Mr Mohammed explained: “We consider salmon to be very healthy as it’s a great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. However, smoked salmon can be one to watch out for if you are at risk of high blood pressure because it contains large amounts of sodium.”

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In fact, “a usual serving of 60 grams of smoked salmon contains around two grams of salt, which accounts for approximately 30-35 percent of your recommended daily salt intake”, he warned.

“By comparison, fresh salmon contains just 0.09 grams of salt per 130 gram filet, which is far healthier.”

The same goes for breaded fish, warned the pharmacist.

“Many people try substituting fatty meats for fish because it’s perceived to be healthier. But those who don’t usually eat fish will often go for breaded fish, which also contains fairly large amounts of salt.”

For example, a 175 gram breaded cod fillet contains roughly 1.4 grams of salt or around 25 percent of your daily recommended salt intake, he said.

Adding to the confusion is the “strong correlation between being overweight and an increased risk of high blood pressure, so even the healthiest foods in excess can cause problems”, noted Mr Mohammed.

Getting tested

Before you take action against high blood pressure, it is vital to get formally tested for high blood pressure.

“The only way of knowing whether you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test,” explains the NHS.

As the health body points out, getting this done is easy and could save your life.

You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:

  • At your GP surgery
  • At some pharmacies
  • As part of your NHS Health Check
  • In some workplaces.

You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor,” explains the NHS.

“Like 24-hour or ambulatory monitoring, this can give a better reflection of your blood pressure.

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