High blood pressure isn’t something you can feel, and it’s usually with you for life. But making changes to your diet can improve your blood pressure numbers and reduce your risk of complications.
At Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine, we take a holistic approach to health and wellness. Our chiropractic physician, Dr. Trace Alexander, is also a family nurse practitioner with advanced training in nutrition. He understands the importance of medical interventions and lifestyle changes when it comes to managing chronic health conditions like high blood pressure.
In this month’s blog post, we explain how diet improves high blood pressure and the changes you can make to lower your numbers.
About high blood pressure
Having high blood pressure, also called hypertension, means your blood pressure is consistently too high. Your blood pressure is a gauge of the pressure exerted by your blood on the walls of your blood vessels while your heart is beating and between heartbeats.
It’s normal for blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day, but it should remain in the healthy range most of the time. When your blood pressure is consistently higher than normal, it places extra force on the blood vessels, causing them to become stiffer and narrower. These blood vessel changes mean your heart has to pump harder to circulate blood throughout the body.
High blood pressure is a concern because it develops without causing symptoms, but can lead to serious health complications like a heart attack or stroke. Lifestyle modifications like diet changes are a first-line treatment for high blood pressure.
Eating to lower blood pressure
Because there’s such a strong connection between diet and blood pressure, researchers looked at different ways to improve blood pressure with nutritional interventions. The Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH) diet is based on results from this research.
The DASH diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and foods low in saturated fat that contain healthy fats, like chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Eating this heart-healthy diet can quickly lower your blood pressure.
Limiting your intake of sodium is also recommended for improving blood pressure. Packaged foods are the primary sources of sodium in the American diet. Read the food label to check out how much sodium is in your favorite foods. A food that has 5% or less of the daily value for sodium is considered low sodium and a food with 20% or more of the daily value is high sodium.
People who follow a low-sodium DASH diet can improve their blood pressure numbers to the point where they can decrease the amount of medication they take.
Living with high blood pressure
Diet changes are one way to improve your blood pressure, but adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you keep your numbers low and in control. Getting regular exercise and sleeping at least seven hours a night is good for your blood pressure and your health.
We also recommend maintaining a healthy weight and finding ways to relieve stress. Because we take a holistic approach to health, we offer a number of therapies that can help you get better control over your blood pressure. We provide help with nutrition and weight loss, as well as chiropractic care and acupuncture to improve sleep and stress.
Are you looking for a more holistic approach to improving your high blood pressure? Call the office most convenient to you — either in Plano or Addison, Texas — to schedule a consultation.