High blood pressure: A traditional Indonesian food could help lower your reading

High blood pressure significantly increases your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Do yourself a favour by getting those numbers down by eating a specific Indonesian food.

In the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers investigated the link between diet and blood pressure.

The randomised double-blind crossover study observed 352 adults with prehypertension or stage one hypertension.

What's prehypertension?

Prehypertension is blood pressure that is higher than normal (120/80mmHg), but not high enough to be considered high blood pressure (140/90mmHg).

What's stage one hypertension?

Stage one hypertension is a blood pressure reading between 130/80mmHg to 139/89mmHg.

The participants randomly received 40 grams of either soy protein, milk protein or carbohydrate supplements for eight weeks.

The data revealed that the consumption of soy protein reduced systolic blood pressure by 2mmHg.

The researchers noted: "Soy protein might be an important component of nutrition intervention strategies for the prevention and treatment of hypertension."

What's systolic and diastolic blood pressure?

Blood pressure readings, such as 120/80mmHg, represent the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The first number (120) is the systolic measurement while the second number (80) is the diastolic measurement.

Systolic blood pressure measures the force exerted on the arterial walls when the heart pumps blood.

The diastolic blood pressure measures the force exerted on the arterial walls when the heart relaxes (in between beats).

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Tempeh – a traditional Indonesian food – is a brilliant source of soy protein.

Pronounced as "tem-pay", it's made from cooked soya beans that are then fermented.

Popular in vegetarians and vegan diets, it's a great substitute for meat.

Akin to tofu, it readily absorbs the flavours it is cooked in.

Tempeh can be bought cooked or uncooked, although BBC Good Food recommends it must be cooked before using.

To cook tempeh, either steam, boil or fry the ingredient for at least 20 minutes.

What else can I do to lower blood pressure readings?

The NHS advises people to limit their daily salt intake to six grams per day.

This is equivalent to a teaspoonful of salt. This can be achieved by not sprinkling table salt on meals.

Moreover, it would be beneficial to cut down on how often you eat salty foods (and the portion size).

These can include bacon, anchovies, cheese, gravy granules, ham, olives, pickles, prawns, salami, soy sauce and stock cubes.

Pre-packaged foods will have a nutrition label that displays information on the salt content.

The label may be colour-coded (aim for green), or show the salt content as a percentage of your reference intake (RI).

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