High blood pressure, also popularly referred to as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. It is always advisable for you to maintain a normal blood pressure. A blood pressure of 130/80 or higher is considered high. So, the question arises—how does blood pressure increase? Well, blood pressure increases when the blood vessels are under too much pressure. And, although high blood pressure doesn’t immediately cause noticeable and identifiable symptoms, it does damage the arteries and vital organs in the long term.
So, does losing weight help lower blood pressure?
It is normal for blood pressure to rise as your body weight increases. Therefore, you can tremendously decrease your risk of high blood pressure by losing weight. It is not necessary for you to shed the extra pounds drastically to lower blood pressure; even small amounts of weight loss can make a huge difference in lowering blood pressure.
People generally eat their way to high blood pressure. They usually consume food that have saturated fat. Some sources of food that have a high content of saturated fat include dairy food such as cream, butter, cheese, and regular-fat milk, meat such as fatty cuts of pork, lamb, beef, processed meat such as sausages, salami and chicken skin, and lard etc. The saturated fat then plays an atrocious role in raising your cholesterol levels and increasing your weight. And, too much cholesterol in your blood causes furring or narrowing in your arteries, thereby, increasing your blood pressure.
How can you lower your blood pressure levels then?
- Exercise often
It is possible for you to lower your blood pressure levels by exercising often. Basically, your heart and breathing rates increase when you exercise. And, when that happens, your heart starts getting stronger, requiring less effort to pump. This puts less pressure on your arteries, and thus, lowers your blood pressure. Of course, by exercising often, you also get to enjoy the benefits of losing weight. It is not compulsory for you to start doing high intensity workouts. You only need to increase your activity level. Activities as simple as walking, riding a bike, playing a sport, or using the stairs etc., can also help you benefit.
- Limit sugar and refined carbohydrates intake
If you want to lose weight and thereby, lower your blood pressure, it is recommended for you to limit your consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Studies in the past have proven the advantages of a low-carb diet over a low-fat diet. The studies have shown the low-carb diet to do much better than a low-fat diet at lowering blood pressure. You will feel fuller for a longer period of time if you stick to a low-carb diet.
- Say No to sodium and Yes to Potassium
If you want normal blood pressure levels, you need to cut back on salt and instead increase your consumption of potassium. Not only does potassium work exceptionally well at lessening the effect of salt in your system, it also does a phenomenal job of easing tension in your blood vessels. If you want to kill two birds with a single stone, you must increase your potassium intake. Some food sources that are high in potassium include dairy food, fish, fruits such as bananas, apricots, oranges, and vegetables such as potato, tomato, sweet potato, and spinach etc.
- The benefits of quitting smoking
Quitting smoking can tremendously improve your overall health condition. Smoking can play an atrocious role in increasing your heart rate and blood pressure temporarily. However, smoking has even deadlier effects in the long term. Not only do the chemicals in tobacco damage your blood vessel walls, they also narrow your arteries, in turn, hardening the arteries and thus, causing higher blood pressure. You should avoid staying around smokers too; secondhand smoke can also prove to be detrimental to your health.
- Reduce stress
In the contemporary world we live in, where we are often burdened with stressful tasks and demands, it is next to impossible to remain completely stress-free. However, if you want to lose weight and lower your blood pressure, you must do everything possible to reduce excess stress. Many people often overeat and feast on junk when dealing with stress; the large intake of calories, in turn, causes weight gain. And, when you get fatter, you increase your chances of having deleterious medical conditions such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, gout, breathing problems, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure etc. There are several ways to reduce stress. You can perform deep breathing relaxation techniques, go for a walk, watch a funny sitcom, or simply listen to relaxing music. Recent studies have also shown acupuncture to be a proven technique at reducing blood pressure.
- Get enough sleep
When you don´t get enough sleep, your appetite hormones, ghrelin and leptin, become unstable and unbalanced. When that happens, your appetite increases and you get hungrier. Thus, you end up eating more and the process results in obesity. And, as we mentioned earlier, it is the norm for blood pressure to rise as your body weight increases. According to a report published by The National Sleep Heart Study, people who sleep less than 7 hours and more than 8 hours a night, are usually at risk of seeing an increased prevalence of hypertension. And, those who sleep less than six hours a night have the highest risk of hypertension.
- Eat more protein
Many long-term studies have produced results that indicate that people who eat more protein have a lower risk of having high blood pressure. Protein-rich foods help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, therefore, reducing your hunger and appetite, enabling you to eat moderately and allowing you to keep your weight in check. Mediplan Diet offers a doctor supervised weight loss plan custom tailored for every patient. If you need help creating a protein-rich diet plan that can help you lose weight, you should pay a visit to Mediplan Diet.