High Blood Pressure

A staggering 10 million people in the UK - that's one in five of us -has high blood pressure. However, unless you regularly suffer from headaches or dizziness, you might not even realise you've got it. This can be a real problem because high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, a stroke or kidney damage.

It'll come as no surprise to you to read that a major cause of high blood pressure is diet - I nearly wrote 'poor diet', but it is possible to have a diet that is generally quite good, but with just one or two weak areas. The key point with blood pressure is to maintain a healthy balance between two of the minerals in our diet - potassium and sodium. The trouble is, most of us tend to get too much sodium - the main constituent of salt - and we don't get enough potassium (present in avocados, seeds, nuts, fresh fruit, bananas, potatoes and pulses).

One of the best meals for maintaining a healthy potassium-sodium balance also happens to be an ideal summer lunch: Crispy Salad with Avocado Dressing, which you can make as follows...

SALAD: a head of cos lettuce, a bunch of watercress, 1/2 a cucumber, 2 tomatoes and 1 yellow pepper

DRESSING: 1 ripe avocado, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 small clove of garlic, 3 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil, 1-3 tablespoons water. Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor.

Arrange the salad, then pour the dressing over the top. Finally, top with a mixture of pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.

A staggering 10 million people in the UK - that's one in five of us -has high blood pressure. However, unless you regularly suffer from headaches or dizziness, you might not even realise you've got it. This can be a real problem because high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, a stroke or kidney damage.

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