If you are looking to decrease your blood pressure naturally, you’re in the right place. I’m going to review how diet can influence your blood pressure, define the DASH diet and how much it can lower your blood pressure, and give you my top tips for implementing the DASH diet to reduce your blood pressure naturally.
High blood pressure affects more than 1.1 billion people worldwide. Unfortunately, this number is rising. In fact, a recent study found that the number of people with high blood pressure has doubled in the last 40 years.
This is a serious health concern, as people who have high blood pressure are at a higher risk of health conditions like heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.
Diet plays a major role in the development of high blood pressure. A proper blood pressure diet can lower your blood pressure naturally enough to reduce blood pressure medications and/or manage your blood pressure better.
The goal of blood pressure treatment is to get your blood pressure to goal.
For most people, that goal is < 130/80 (according to the new guidelines read more about those here) and “normal” is <120/80.
If your goal is to possibly get off your medications, I recommend you aim for <120/80.
What does it take to change your diet enough to lower your blood pressure naturally? The DASH diet is a great resource to get started with the right nutrition if you have high blood pressure.
Check out my FREE Starter Kit to get your blood pressure lowered naturally and back on track.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet was designed to combat high blood pressure and reduce people's risk of heart disease.
The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, but it restricts red meat, salt, added sugars and fat.
Interestingly, the DASH diet has been shown to lower blood pressure in both healthy people and those who already have high blood pressure. Furthermore, it achieved this even though people didn't lose weight OR restrict their salt intake.
When salt was restricted along with the DASH diet, the results skyrocketed. These low-salt DASH diet results were most impressive in people who already had high blood pressure, reducing it by an average of 11 points (that's equivalent to one blood pressure drug!!!). In people with normal blood pressure, it reduced blood pressure by three points.
If you already have high blood pressure, chances are you have been advised to lose weight. This is because the more you weigh, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
Additionally, losing weight has been shown to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet could help you lose weight. However, for weight loss to occur, you still have to make sure you're eating fewer calories than you're burning.
To sum up the best ways to reduce blood pressure naturally with diet:
Implement the DASH diet
Limit sodium intake
Implementing the DASH diet:
Simple ways to get your started on the right track with the DASH diet:
Eat more vegetables and fruits.
Swap refined grains for whole grains.
Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
Choose lean protein sources like fish, poultry and beans.
Cook with vegetable oils.
Limit your intake of foods high in added sugars, like soda and candy.
Limit your intake of foods high in saturated fats like fatty meats, full-fat dairy and oils like coconut and palm oil.
One of the most significant things you can do to start implementing a healthier diet is to add fresh, whole foods – and more organic foods, when possible.
We’re starting with vegetables because they’re one of the foods that are typically missing in most diets (or we just don’t get enough of them) and because of all the AMAZING health benefits they offer, such as:
strengthening the immune system
improving liver and kidney function
improving intestinal flora (good bacteria)
Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fiber, all of which are important to a healthy diet.
My favorite benefit from vegetables is that they keep you full. If you are trying to lose weight, it is so important to feel full so that you don’t overeat just because you are so hungry. Adding vegetables is a great way to convince your mind and stomach that you are eating a lot and signal that you’re full.
Remember, the goal is to add more “real food” that your body recognizes and can absorb and utilize nutrients from.
Eat vegetables at most meals. Think salads, side dishes, soups, or even adding veggies to your sandwich or wrap. Smoothies are my favorite quick and easy way to sneak in veggies. Grab my free 60 Quick and Easy Whole Food Recipes plus the Starter Kit, click on the image below.
Limit Sodium Intake:
Aim for no more than about 2400 mg of sodium, or about one teaspoon of table salt, per day. A teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt may have less sodium (check the label of the brand you are using). Surprisingly, most salt in your diet doesn’t come from the shaker.
Use these tips to cut back on sodium:
Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned “no salt added” food.
Avoid canned or processed food.
Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning in cooking and at the table.
Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt.
Cut back on instant or flavored mixes.
Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings.
Rinse canned foods to remove some salt.
Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals low in sodium.
Taste food before reaching for the salt shaker.
Keep in mind the amount of food that has about 1000 mg of sodium: a large fast food burger or hot dog, one large slice or two regular slices of pizza, or one can of soup.
Tracking your food will help you identify the causes of sodium in your diet. Also, it’s a great place to start if you want to lose weight. Check out some apps for your phone that can make it quick and easy to track what you eat:
Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (MyFitnessPal.com)
Sodium Tracker (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sodium-tracker/id468522474) for iPhone
EZ Sodium Tracker (http://ipad-diet-apps.com/page2.html) for iPhone and Android
I hope you found some tips that you can start implementing in your diet right away. Before you know it, your blood pressure will be on track. In this post we learned how diet can influence your blood pressure, what the DASH diet is and how much it can lower your blood pressure, and I gave you my top tips for implementing the DASH diet to reduce your blood pressure naturally.
Now tell me in the comments below, what was your biggest takeaway from this post?