Whether or not you’re overweight, eating the right diet can help support healthy blood pressure.
And if you are overweight, losing just 5 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
If you are taking blood pressure medication, as you lose weight it may be possible to reduce the dose or eventually stop taking your blood pressure medication completely.
Of course, don’t make changes to your blood pressure medication without consulting with your doctor first. Even if you’re able to stop taking your blood pressure medication, it’s still important to maintain healthy diet habits for optimal health.
We wanted to share ways folks could improve their diet to support healthy blood pressure levels.
Dieting for Better Blood Pressure
Here are four ways to diet for lower blood pressure:
1. Consider your eating locations
Eat at home more often where you have control of what you eat. You should cut back going to or generally avoid fast food restaurants. If you do eat at a fast food location or a restaurant look for the healthy, low calorie options. Consider salads with low-fat dressing and fresh vegetables/fruits on the menu. Avoid anything deep fried, with high sodium or high calorie options and skip the dessert.
2. Track your calories/eat smaller portions
Many people underestimate how many calories they are eating and wonder why they can’t lose weight. Keep track of what you eat and the portion sizes for 7-14 days then review and make adjustments. Try using smaller plates and bowls to help control your portions. Don’t allow yourself to go back for seconds. Once in awhile, like during a special celebration e.g. birthday, wedding etc. it’s okay to have a small piece of that high calorie dessert.
3. Monitor your drinking
It’s important for your weight loss journey and to be healthy to stay hydrated so always drink plenty of water. When drinking fruit juice make sure it’s made from 100% fruit and note the calories. Avoid high calorie sodas. If you think that caffeinated drinks may be increasing your blood pressure, cut back or eliminate caffeine for a few days and see how if affects your blood pressure. You should limit your alcohol intake – 1 drink per day for women; 2 drinks per day for men.
4. Plan healthy meals (DASH diet)
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it offers other health benefits besides just lowering blood pressure such as preventing diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. The DASH diet emphasizes fresh/frozen vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, omega 3 rich fish options, lean meat, poultry, beans, legumes and nuts/seeds.
Serving suggestions for the DASH diet include:
The DASH diet was named the best diet for a sixth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Over time, people that have followed the DASH diet have been able to lower their systolic blood pressure by 7 to 14 points.
For more specific instructions regarding food categories and choices, the Mayo Clinic has put together some guidelines that may help as well. Simply go to: