The festive period is often a time for indulgence in meat and fat and other foods high in salt and sugar. However, not everyone in the world in 2022 eats meat. Some prefer to be vegetarian or vegan. And it is this latter dietary choice that may unlock the way to a healthier Christmas.
Express.co.uk has been talking to head of research at Viva, Doctor Justine Butler, to find out the best way to manage your blood pressure this Christmas.
According to Doctor Butler, the best way to manage blood pressure this Christmas is to have a “vegan Christmas dinner”.
She explained further: “A vegan Christmas dinner is the best for helping maintain a healthy blood pressure.
“A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, wholegrain foods, nuts and seeds has been shown to help reverse blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.”
On the other hand, Doctor Butler says a poorer diet “containing lots of fatty meat and dairy along with unhealthy processed foods packed with fat and salt, can drive up your pressure.”
She added: “Of course not drinking too much, not smoking and getting plenty of exercise also helps, as does reducing stress in your life.
“What better way to do that than to celebrate with family and friends with a cruelty-free Christmas?”
Furthermore, Doctor Buter had some added suggestions on how to add some excitement to one’s vegan Christmas dinner.
She said; If you are looking for an extra boost, you could add some roasted beetroot to your festive plate.
You may have heard that beetroot can help with high blood pressure and it’s true! It’s because it contains nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide in your body, which helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels – improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Coat a whole beetroot in olive oil, grind some black pepper on it, wrap it in foil with a star anise, and bake in a hot oven for an hour.
“When it’s cooked, the skin will slide off and you can cut it into cubes to serve alongside your nut roast or seitan wellington with all the usual trimmings!”
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As Doctor Butler mentioned, there are other ways to control your blood pressure other than going vegan this Christmas.
The two pillars of doing so are regular exercise and a balanced diet.
While the temptation will be to be relatively sedentary a possible, a long walk can help boost metabolism and increase the rate at which festive food is consumed.
Furthermore, said exercise will also improve mental health, releasing endorphins which can help boost mood.
Alongside this, Doctor Butler highlights the second pillar, eating a balanced diet.
Eating a diet of fruits and vegetables as much as one can help provide the body with the vitamins it needs in order to remain healthy.
Often during the winter, vitamin supplements are recommended as ways to boost the levels of those who did not absorb during the summer.
However, while these can help, they are no substitute for trying to get the vitamins one needs from food.