High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK, according to government figures, but many people don’t know they have it because symptoms rarely show. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your reading regularly checked. Your GP or pharmacist can check your blood pressure for you, or you can buy a blood pressure monitor to use at home. If high blood pressure is left untreated, the arteries can thicken and harden, increasing the risk of life-threatening conditions, such as heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure can, of course, be prevented or reduced by some simple lifestyle changes, including healthy eating.
As a general rule, experts recommend people cut down on the amount of salt in food and to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
But specific food and drink have also been found to have blood pressure-lowering properties, including oolong tea.
Several studies involving regular tea drinkers reported reduced blood pressure, as well as reduced cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.
In one study, regularly consuming 4oz (120ml) of oolong tea a day has been shown to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by up to 46 per cent.
High blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases like heart disease.
But regular consumption of oolong tea has also been shown to improve heart health.
One study of more than 76,000 Japanese adults observed those who drank 8oz (240ml) or more of oolong tea per day had a 61 per cent lower risk of developing heart disease.
One thing to remember however is oolong tea contains caffeine, and this can raise blood pressure.
But the caffeine content in oolong tea is only about a quarter of that found in coffee, so the effect on blood pressure is likely to be small.
The NHS advises: “Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure.
“If you’re a big fan of coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks, consider cutting down.
“It’s fine to drink tea and coffee as part of a balanced diet, but it’s important that these drinks are not your main or only source of fluid.”
Alongside eating a healthy diet, experts recommend being active to prevent or reduce high blood pressure.
Regular exercise can lower blood pressure by keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
Adults should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
Cycling, fast walking, and gardening can all count as physical activity.
When it comes to the first meal of the day, eating a certain food has been proven to lower high blood pressure.