Top Eating Habits To Lower Blood Pressure
No matter what your dietary restrictions or preferences are, Minchen says there are lots of easy ways to keep your blood pressure down. Here are some of the habits she suggests:
- Reducing sodium intake by not adding table salt to food
- Reduce sodium intake by avoiding or limiting processed foods
- Tracking your sodium intake and keeping your total to about 2,300 milligrams per day or less.
- Eating more potassium-rich foods
- Replacing refined bread, pasta, and crackers with whole-grain versions
A great way to keep an eye on your sodium and potassium intake, according to Minchen, is by using an app like Freshbit, which provides insight into how much you’re consuming of certain nutrients based on the foods you eat. When you eat too much salt, your body holds on to extra water, which can put stress on your blood vessels and heart and cause your blood pressure to rise.
But potassium has the opposite effect, says Minchen, relaxing blood vessel walls and thereby reducing blood pressure. And given that a 2007 study found higher whole-grain intake was associated with a reduced risk of hypertension, it’s well worth making the switch from refined grains. Not only can whole grains help to make you feel full for longer, but they also reduce damage to your blood vessels, decrease your risk of insulin resistance, and increase your intake of potassium.
Is Fasting Good For Hypertension
Fasting can be beneficial to lower high blood pressure, because it may decrease your total sodium or calorie intake. Recently, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine showed that fasting also changes the gut microbiome in a way that promotes lower blood pressure, says William Li, MD, President and Founder of The Angiogenesis Foundation and author of Eat to Beat Disease. The mechanism is through higher levels of bile acids in the blood caused by fasting. Bile acids can help lower blood pressure.
Intermittent fasting is a very popular trend. Many people try limiting their intake of food to about an 8 hour window while fasting for 16 hours, Dr. Landsman says. This strategy may help with weight loss which could then help with lowering blood pressure.
Although fasting may reduce blood pressure, the magnitude of reduction is less than it is with weight loss. Your blood pressure may increase dramatically if you eat poorly after breaking your fast. Repetitions of fasting and feeding have been shown to increase blood pressure dramatically, even if only transiently, says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and professor at The College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. transient elevations in blood pressure may do harm to blood vessels.
Risks And Complications Of High Blood Pressure
If youve been to see the doctor and they determine you have high blood pressure, they might decide to give you medications designed to lower it.
Medications may have different side effects. Consult your healthcare provider about possible complications of any medications you might take for your high blood pressure.
Doctors might also prescribe dietary changes after talking to you about your lifestyle and blood pressure. They will likely recommend that you exercise for 30 minutes a day, or get at least that much physical activity if you cant exercise.
With diet, medicine, and exercise, you can reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure and the other health problems that it can cause. Dietary changes and healthier lifestyles tend to reduce blood pressure and often lead to a longer, more enjoyable life.
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Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference In Your Blood Pressure Numbers
If you suddenly find yourself with high blood pressure under the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, you might be wondering what to do. The guidelines lowered the definition for high blood pressure to 130/80 from 140/90 millimeters of mercury , meaning more people now meet the criteria for stage 1 hypertension.
While you shouldn’t shrug off the change, there’s also no need to panic. “Obviously, nothing happened overnight inside a woman’s body or to her health with the release of the guidelines,” says Dr. Naomi Fisher, director of hypertension service and hypertension innovation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The change, however, should spur you to take your blood pressure seriously. “These guidelines have been long anticipated and are very welcome by most hypertension experts. They may seem drastic, but in putting the knowledge we’ve gained from large trials into clinical practice, they will help thousands of people,” says Dr. Fisher.
Prevent High Blood Pressure
Practice healthy living habits, like being physically active, to help prevent high blood pressure.
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Preventing high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Practice the following healthy living habits:
Top 13 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Regardless of location or income level, the leading cause of death worldwide is heart disease. One of the most common conditions leading to heart disease and stroke is the all-too familiar issue of high blood pressure. A shocking one in three individuals in the United States has high blood pressure.
The good news is that high blood pressure can usually be reversed naturally, specifically through lifestyle changes and consuming foods that lower blood pressure.
Even though its closely related to dietary and lifestyle habits, many people try to rely on medication alone to solve their blood pressure problems.
One of the most popular prescription drugs for hypertension, Lisinopril, names side effects including blurred vision, confusion, dizziness and unusual tiredness or weakness.
To me, that sounds pretty undesirable for something you can easily correct with a high blood pressure diet and lifestyle changes. In fact, Im going to tell you about 13 foods, including everything from snacks to juice to herbs, that have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure.
Comparison Of Sodium In Foods
Meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh meat, 3 oz. cooked: Less than 90 mg
Shellfish, 3 oz: 100 to 325 mg
Tuna, canned, 3 oz: 300 mg
Lean ham, 3 oz.: 1,025 mg
*Whole milk, 1 cup: 120 mg
Skim or 1% milk, 1 cup: 125 mg
*Buttermilk , 1 cup: 260 mg
*Swiss cheese, 1 oz: 75 mg
*Cheddar cheese, 1 oz : 175 mg
Low-fat cheese, 1 oz.: 150 mg
*Cottage cheese , 1/2 cup: 455 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh or frozen vegetables, and no-salt-added canned , 1/2 cup: Less than 70 mg
Vegetables canned or frozen , 1/2 cup: 55-470 mg
Tomato juice, canned, 3/4 cup: 660 mg
Breads, cereals, rice and pasta
Food: Milligrams sodium
Bread, 1 slice: 110-175 mg
English muffin : 130 mg
Ready-to-eat, shredded wheat, 3/4 cup: Less than 5 mg
Cooked cereal , 1/2 cup: Less than 5 mg
Instant cooked cereal, 1 packet: 180 mg
Canned soups, 1 cup: 600-1,300 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Canned and frozen main dishes, 8 oz: 500-1,570 mg
*These can also be high in saturated fat, unless low-fat or reduced fat options are purchased.
*High in saturated fat.
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Other Ingredients To Avoid
You already know how salt can sneak into a lot of packaged foods. But itâs not the only thing to watch when youâre watching your blood pressure.
Sugar, in general, will add calories with little to no nutritional value. But the white stuff is also known by several other names, like agave, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses, brown sugar, turbinado, raw sugar, maple syrup, date sugar, malt syrup, pancake syrup, fruit juice concentrates, and dextrose.
Remember that 4 to 5 grams of sugar is equal to a teaspoon. The American Heart Association recommends most adult women donât go over 6 teaspoons a day and adult men 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams. For comparison, a can of soda can have up to 40 grams, or about 10 teaspoons of sugar.
Sodium nitrate is most commonly used as a preservative for salty, processed meats like bacon and deli selections. Studies have shown that too much of these ingredients can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Choose lean, fresh meats and seafood over processed as much as possible.
Partially hydrogenated oil
Other Ways To Lower Blood Pressure
There are a variety of natural ways to lower blood pressure in addition to diet and exercise. For instance, there are several essential oils associated with a reduction in blood pressure, including:
- Bougriba oil
- Valerian oil
If youre interested in supplements that can help you reduce blood pressure, I would try cod liver oil. This anti-inflammatory powerhouse has incredible health benefits and can help to effectively lower blood pressure.
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What Is The Dash Diet
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is an eating plan rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy. These foods are high in key nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and protein.
To start the DASH diet, follow these recommendations :
- Grains: 7-8 daily servings
- Vegetables: 4-5 daily servings
- Fruits: 4-5 daily servings
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2-3 daily servings
- Lean meat, poultry, and fish: 2 or fewer servings a day
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4-5 servings per week
- Fats and oils: 2-3 daily servings
- Sweets: less than 5 servings per week.
Ask your doctor or a dietitian to help you start the DASH diet. They can tell you how many calories you need each day to maintain or get to a healthy weight. And then they can help you plan meals with foods you enjoy that meet the DASH guidelines.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood to the inner walls of the arteries. It shows minor fluctuations throughout the daydeclining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
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Why Is It Dangerous To Lower My Blood Pressure Too Quickly
Before we talk about specific examples, lets learn why its dangerous to lower your blood pressure too quickly. Your heart and blood vessels carry blood to all your body parts, including large, important organs that keep you alive, like your lungs and especially your brain. Large drops in blood pressure can suddenly stop your brain from getting the continuous blood flow and oxygen it needs. This can lead to a stroke and permanent brain damage.
Keep Yourself At A Healthy Weight
Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index . If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDCs Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat.
Talk with your health care team about ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity.
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Lentils And Other Pulses
Lentils are a staple of many diets around the world, as they are an excellent source of vegetarian protein and fiber.
In 2014, researchers who studied the effects of a diet rich in pulses on rats reported of blood pressure and cholesterol. A total of 30 percent of the rats diet comprised pulses, including beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
Lentils are very versatile. Many people use them as a vegetarian alternative to minced beef or to add bulk to salads, stews, and soups. A range of lentils is available for purchase online.
Decrease Your Salt Intake
Salt is the enemy of high blood pressure, says Dr. Desai. When you eat too much salt, it increases the amount of fluid that enters the bloodstream and arteries from the surrounding tissue, which raises the pressure in the arteries.
While you may not have to remove salt from your diet completely, avoid foods very high in salt like chips, french fries, salted nuts, soups, store-bought salad dressings, processed foods and cheese.
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Whole Grain Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Bread, cereal, pasta, and other foods with carbs and starches can come in whole grain or refined grain versions. Whole grains are full of dietary fiber. Thats why theyre a lot better for your body than foods made with refined white flour. Switch to whole grain versions of foods you already eat. For example, go for whole wheat bread rather than white. Choose brown rice over white.
Shopping tip: Some packaged foods contain a whole grain seal. If you dont see it, check the ingredient list. If the first ingredient listed contains the word whole, that item likely contains mostly whole grain.
Look for whole grain versions of these foods:
Reduce Stress Through Meditation And Rest
Chronic stress can lead to chronic elevations in the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, says Dr. Desai. These hormones constrict the arteries and cause weight gain, which further increases blood pressure.
He recommends reducing stress by using breathing exercises, practicing meditation, completing physical exercise, practicing yoga, logging quality sleep, taking breaks throughout the day, spending time in nature, listening to music and eating a balanced diet.
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High Blood Pressure Diet
Healthy food is like medication for high blood pressure. Except you dont need a prescription, and you wont have to worry about side effects. Just choose wisely, eat, and repeat.
Whether you follow DASH or chart your own course, try to focus on what you can eat instead of what you cant. Like any other healthy diet, a diet to lower blood pressure will emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding fats, fried foods, and salty snacks.
When To See A Doctor About High Blood Pressure Symptoms
High blood pressure often does not cause any symptoms. So, if you are at the dentist or physicians office and are told that your blood pressure is high, it is important for you to check your blood pressure regularly while not at a doctors office. When blood pressure is very high, it can cause headache, dizziness, unsteadiness, visual disturbances, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Chronic elevated blood pressure causes decreased blood flow to vital organs. Over time this may cause dementia, blindness, heart failure, and kidney failure. When these occur in someone with high blood pressure, it is important to see your doctor, says Dr. Li. Its always best to catch it before these symptoms develop, so have your blood pressure checked regularly as part of an annual exam.
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Tips For Using Diet To Control Blood Pressure
Fiddling with diet to control cholesterol makes perfect sense. After all, some of the cholesterol that ends up in arteries starts out in food. Changing your diet to control blood pressure doesn’t seem quite so straightforward. Yet food can have a direct and sometimes dramatic effect on blood pressure.
Salt certainly plays a role. But there is far more to a blood pressurefriendly diet than minimizing salt intake. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts, whole-grain carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats also have healthful effects on blood pressure.
There isn’t a single “magic” food in this list. Instead, it’s the foundation for an all-around healthful eating strategy that is good for blood pressure and so much more. Rigorous trials show that eating strategies such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, DASH variants like the OmniHeart diet, and Mediterranean-type diets lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and those headed in that direction. They also help prevent some of the feared consequences of high blood pressure.
Eat More Foods High In Magnesium
A small study in the International Journal of Hypertension found magnesium supplementation can reduce blood pressure in small amountsNguyen H, Odelola OA, Rangaswami J, Amanullah A. A Review of Nutritional Factors in Hypertension Management. International Journal of Hypertension. 2013 698940. . Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have kidney disease. You can also safely incorporate high-magnesium foods into your diet. Dr. Desai recommends foods like leafy green vegetables and unsalted almonds.
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