Low Blood Pressure: What To Eat And What To Avoid
Many people live normally with low blood pressure , but some suffer dizziness, fainting, and even life-threatening effects such as heart attack or stroke. The condition can be characterized by a sudden drop in pressuresometimes triggered by standing up or eating or defined as chronically low blood pressure . There are many causes, including dehydration, injury, pregnancy, medication and disease, among others, and dietary measures that can improve or worsen low blood pressure. Here are a few of the dos and donts.
What Causes Low Blood Pressure
There are several causes of low blood pressure. Some are temporary and can be easily fixed.
Low blood pressure may also be a sign of a health issue or emergency condition. Treatment may be necessary.
Several health conditions can cause low blood pressure. These include:
- trauma or head injury
Diagnosing and treating these conditions can help balance blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend simple tests such as:
- blood tests to check hormone levels, blood sugar levels, and for infections
- an electrocardiogram or Holter monitor to check heart rhythm and function
- an echocardiogram to check your heart health
- an exercise stress test to check your heart health
- a tilt table test to check low blood pressure due to changes in body position
- the Valsalva maneuver, a breathing test to check for nervous system causes of low blood pressure
The 17 Best Foods For High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common preventable risk factor for heart disease .
Over 1 billion people around the world have high blood pressure, which is defined as systolic blood pressure values of 130 mm Hg or more, diastolic blood pressure of more than 80 mm Hg, or both .
Medications, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, are commonly used to reduce blood pressure levels. However, lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications, can help lower blood pressure levels to optimal ranges and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Following a nutritious, heart-healthy diet is suggested for all people with high blood pressure, including those on blood-pressure-lowering medications .
A healthy diet is essential for lowering blood pressure and maintaining optimal levels, and research has shown that including certain foods in your diet, especially those high in specific nutrients like potassium and magnesium, reduces your blood pressure levels (
A 5-month study involving 101 Japanese women demonstrated that daily lemon juice intake combined with walking was significantly correlated with reductions in SBP, an effect that the researchers attributed to the citric acid and flavonoid content of lemons .
Research has linked higher intakes of omega-3-rich fatty fish to lower blood pressure levels.
Pumpkin seeds may be small, but they pack a punch when it comes to nutrition.
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How Does Your Body Regulate Blood Pressure
Your body has complex feedback mechanisms to regulate blood pressure, including dedicated nerves and hormones that are part of the sympathetic nervous system, which is involved in the fight-or-flight reflex. Special nerve receptors in major blood vessels signal a drop in blood pressure and alert your sympathetic nervous system to boost its activity, increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels. If anything impairs these mechanisms, your blood pressure can drop.
What To Avoid To Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally
In order to bring down blood pressure quickly using natural remedies, it is good to avoid things that cause hypertension.
To help cure high blood pressure without medication, you should also do the following:
- Reduce Sodium. Scientists say that reducing salt intake to less than 5 g per day could have a significant effect in reducing mean blood pressure and preventing heart disease.
- Quit smoking. It is common knowledge that smoking is detrimental to your health. Research shows that smoking pushes up blood pressure and results in narrowed arteries. Smoking also aggravates already-existing hypertension conditions.
- Drink less alcohol. The over-consumption of alcohol can be a cause of chronic hypertension.
- Cut back on caffeine. If you have dangerously high blood pressure of over 140/90 mmHg, then it may be wise to reduce your intake of caffeinated drinks. Researchers say that coffee can cause a spike in blood pressure of 8/5 mmHg.
- Cut out refined sugar and simple carbohydrates. Sugar, pastries, and cakes donât just pile on the pounds but also cause hypertension. Researchers have found that cutting back on unhealthy foods can help to quickly reduce hypertension naturally.
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What Are Treatments For Low Blood Pressure
According to Dr. Laffin, If you’re underweight, working to healthfully increase your weight and muscle mass will help to increase your blood pressure.
Dr. Laffin also recommends the following:
- Hydrate often to prevent dehydration. When youre dehydrated, your blood volume drops and, as a result, so does your blood pressure. Drinking adequate fluids increases the volume of your blood. Remember to drink before youre thirsty, which is often a sign that you’re already dehydrated.
- Eat multiple small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones. This prevents too much blood flowing to your gut to aid in digestion.
- Get up from a seated or lying position gradually rather than bolting upright.
- Take blood pressure lowering medications at night. Most BP medications last 24-hours, but the peak effect occurs two to three hours after we take them. If taken at night, this will be while youre sleeping and help you to avoid your blood pressure getting too low while you’re awake.
- Avoid very hot showers or visiting saunas, hot tubs, or steam rooms. They dilate blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop.
Dr Rupali Datta Clinical Dietitian At Fortis
1. Eat small portions frequently: Sneak healthy snacking sessions in-between the major meals of the day to avoid long gaps. Eating small portions several times of the day helps in preventing the sudden drop in blood pressure that one may experience after meals. So, if you are eating three full meals a day, it would be better to rather have them distributed in to five small meals a day. This one’s a great home remedy for also people who have diabetes.
Home remedies for low blood pressure: eat small portions frequently
2. Have adequate salt: Excess salt is bad, but on the other hand it is required by your body in moderate quantities. According to the World Health Organisation, your daily diet must contain at one teaspoon of added salt besides what you derive from natural from fruits and vegetables. In summers or if you exercise daily, keep some lime water with a pinch of salt handy. Salt works like an instant pick-me-up. Make sure you do not have too much salt too that may lead to problems like water retention along with high blood pressure.
Home remedies for low blood pressure: Excess salt is bad, but it is required by your body in moderate quantitiesHome remedies for low blood pressure: Drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water every dayHome remedies for low blood pressure: Caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee may help boost your blood pressureHome remedies for low blood pressure: Chew five to six tulsi leaves every morning
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What Is Blood Pressure
As blood pumps through the circulatory system, it pushes against the walls of the arteries and veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood as it presses against the blood vessel walls. It is measured in systolic pressure and diastolic pressure .
Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. Normal blood pressure is considered to be below 120/80 mm Hg. In a blood pressure reading, the top number refers to systolic pressure, and the bottom number refers to the diastolic pressure.
What To Do When Your Blood Pressure Drops Too Low & How To Raise It
Maintaining ideal blood pressure can be a difficult task for some. As very high as well as low blood pressure levels can be dangerous, it is necessary to maintain the normal range. So, while a healthy routine and medications are important for high blood pressure, it is also essential to know about the symptoms of very low blood pressure. Let us understand what to do when your blood pressure drops too low and how to raise it.
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Treatments To Raise Your Low Blood Pressure
Sometimes, there is no clearly identifiable cause of low blood pressure. Or there may not be an effective treatment for the underlying cause. In these cases, the goal is to help prevent symptoms of low blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend the following strategies:
- Drink more water:Water keeps your blood volume high and prevents dehydration. Sports drinks and rehydration drinks also add electrolytes.
- Eat some salt:Salt can help raise your blood pressure. Many people need to limit salt because it makes their blood pressure too high. For people with low blood pressure, salt can actually be helpful. However, too much salt can be bad for your heart and kidneys. Check with your doctor to find the right amount of salt intake for you.
- Wear compression stockings: These stockings stop blood from pooling in your lower legs and promote better circulation.
If you have orthostatic hypotension, your doctor may prescribe a medication, such as midodrine .
Orthostatic Hypotension And Spinal Cord Injury
Orthostatichypotension is a condition characterized by low blood pressure aftersitting or standing up too quickly.
Specifically, it occurs when systolic blood pressure drops at least 20mmHg or diastolicblood pressure drops 10mmHg within 3minutes of getting up.
Additionally, its more common inthe first couple of weeks following a spinal cord injury than later.
Upon getting up, individuals with orthostatichypotension often experience:
These symptoms are allcharacteristic of reduced blood flow to the brain.
Increasing Your Blood Pressure
Warning: There are relatively few risks associated with compression stockings, but you may have some negative side effects if the stockings are too tight. Take the stockings off if you experience pain, numbness, tingling, spasms, or excessive itchiness.XResearch source
What Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
Factors that can cause low blood pressure include:
- Medical conditions like heart problems, hormonal problems, septic shock, neurological disorders, anemia etc.
- Certain medications for instance, some antidepressants or beta blockers prescribed for heart conditions
- Blood pressure tends to drop during the first twenty-four weeks of pregnancy.34
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How Would I Know If I Have Low Blood Pressure
The only way to tell would be to get your blood pressure checked, he confirms. Any reading under 90/60 millimeters of mercury is considered low.
However, there may be signs including:
These symptoms tend to occur more when someone goes from lying down or sitting to then standing, he adds.
Vitamin C Is A Good Natural Remedy For High Blood Pressure
One of the best vitamins for treating hypertension is vitamin C because of its benefits to the health of your arteries.
A systematic review of 29 trials found that taking 500 mg of vitamin C a day helped to quickly treat high blood pressure problems. Over an 8-week period, vitamin C supplementation was effective in lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Find out more about the benefits of taking vitamin C to strengthen your immunity and prevent oxidative damage in your body.
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How Long Will It Take To Lower Blood Pressure
With a strict diet and lifestyle changes, high BP can be lowered in 2-3 weeks.
However, there are categories in high blood pressure. So, first watch out for these categories:
Elevated Blood Pressure
The reading shows around 120-129/80. It is called pre-hypertension.
Stage I Hypertension
The reading varies from 130-139/90.
Stage II Hypertension
The readings vary from 140/90 or higher.
Foods To Raise Blood Pressure
It is important to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables to improve the state of your blood pressure. These foods contain beneficial nutrients and vitamins, but also help to keep you hydrated. If your blood pressure has dropped due to an iron deficiency such as anemia you should increase your intake of lean red meats and legumes like lentils, chickpeas and beans.
Ginger is a great ally in improving hypotension as it favors blood circulation. Take a piece of fresh ginger, grate it and place it in a little water. Let simmer for a few minutes and the drink it. If you suffer from low blood pressure you can take this remedy twice daily. You can also have it included in different dishes to make raising your blood pressure tasty as well as effective.
While too much sodium will have a detrimental effect on your blood pressure, it can help raise it when low. Eating salty snacks such as peanuts or chips can help give you a quick spike in blood pressure levels. One home remedy for raising low blood pressure is to drink an isotonic drink which will help raise your sodium levels with healthy salts. However, be careful not to drink too much of them or it can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels.
Go to the doctor to find the underlying cause especially if you also have the following symptoms:
- You have hadseveral low blood pressure readings during medical analysis
- You often feel nausea and lightheadedness
- You feel dizzy or have had frequent vertigo
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Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including problems associated with low blood pressure. Learn about current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
Foods As A Treatment For Low Blood Pressure
Lack of nutrition plays a large role in cases of low blood pressure.
Dehydration is one of the main causes of low blood pressure. Insufficient water levels actually reduce your blood volume. This reduction then lowers your blood pressure levels.
Doctors recommend people with low blood pressure should drink around 8 cups, about a half-gallon, of water per day. They should also limit their consumption of alcohol.
The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant. This means that it can raise your heart rate and blood pressure levels. Drinking coffee can be helpful in the short-term fix, but it isnt a permanent solution. Most people develop a tolerance to caffeine over time.
Beef liver is one of the best sources of vitamin B12. A 100 gram serving of liver contains an incredibly high amount of B12.
Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause anemia and low blood pressure.
A single egg contains high amounts of folic acid and B12.
Like vitamin B12, folic acid is an important aid for raising low blood pressure levels.
Red meat is one of the most widely available sources of iron, which is needed for raising blood pressure levels.
Beef has one of the highest iron contents that you will find in food.
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If I Have Low Blood Pressure What Should I Do
Dr. Patel recommends establishing a close, trustworthy relationship with your health care team. Everyone has a support circlewhether that includes family, friends and/or colleagues, he says. Your doctor should also be a part of that inner circle for regular support and expertise.
Dr. Patel is located in Hoboken and is a physician at Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group, a network of more than 1,000 physicians and advanced providers at over 300 practices throughout New Jersey. Our care network can help you better manage your health. Visit HMHMedicalGroup.org to find a practice near you.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.