Often, people don’t know where to start when constructing a diet to help raise low blood pressure. Also known as Hypotension, if yours falls below 90/60mmHg, you fall into the condition category. While it typically affects older adults, you can also develop low blood pressure if you’re pregnant, consuming some medicines, or have other health conditions like diabetes.
So, if you’ve been told that you’re suffering from Hypotension and you want to make some healthy changes to your life, now’s the time to reevaluate what you put into your body.
What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?
Before we get to the foody bit, it’s worth knowing some of the symptoms of Hypotension. Even if you’re not suffering from any, it’s good to be aware just in case you or someone you know starts to experience them early on. And if you already are, here’s your cue to book a doctor’s appointment to get yourself checked out:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Blurred vision
- Feeling weak/lethargic
If left untreated, you can deprive your brain and other vital organs of getting the amount of oxygen and nutrients they need. Over time, this can cause permanent damage to the heart, including cardiovascular diseases and even heart failure. It can also cause other medical emergency conditions like kidney disease, plus deep vein thrombosis and strokes due to the blood not being able to form like it should, therefore forming clots.
What’s the ideal blood pressure?
Even though the foods and drinks below will increase your blood pressure, make sure you don’t overdo it. Like anything in life, it’s all about moderation, and while aiming to raise low blood pressure levels, you also want to prevent high blood pressure. The other end of the scale isn’t healthy either, so you want to make sure that your blood pressure is at the recommended levels by doctors. FYI, the average adult’s normal and ideal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg.
Foods (and drinks) to consume for low blood pressure levels
OK, let’s make a start. Here are some of the top foods and drinks to prioritise if you want to get your blood pressure back to a healthy level.
Drink plenty of fluids
Dehydration can cause your blood volume to reduce, which then can cause your blood pressure to lower. As a rule of thumb (and to maintain your health in general), most doctors recommend consuming at least two litres of water daily. This is around eight glasses – but in hotter weather or when exercising, you should increase this amount to make up for the amount of water being lost through sweating and breathing heavier.
Eat salty foods
And no – this does not mean head to your nearest Maccy’s or KFC and treat yourself to daily fries and processed foods with high salt levels.
OK, foods with high salt content can increase your blood pressure, but you need to make sure it’s good salts. So, when upping your salt intake, make sure you opt for things like olives, tuna, canned soup, etc. Plus, you can add sea or table salt sprinkles to your dishes if that’s your thing.
Caffeinated beverages – like coffee – can cause a temporary blood pressure spike and an increased heart rate. This is typically short-term, and caffeine doesn’t have the same effect on every person’s blood pressure.
People who consume a lot of caffeine regularly may also have already developed a higher tolerance to the effects on their vascular system, so it may not be the best short-term solution for everyone.
Boost your vitamin b12 intake
Vitamin b12 is super important when it comes to helping the body to produce healthy red blood cells. When you lack this essential vitamin, you’re more likely to develop anaemia, which reduces blood pressure. This can then cause excess bleeding as well as nerve and organ damage. You can boost your vitamin b12 intake by eating foods such as chicken, fish (tuna and salmon are super high in it), eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
Up your vitamin b9 intake
Vitamin b9 is also known as folate, and it’s an essential vitamin that is found in veggies like broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens, and legumes, like chickpeas and lentils. Symptoms of b9 deficiency can be very similar to that of a b12 one – anaemia which can then lead to lowered blood pressure.
Cut back on the carbs
Foods that are high in carbs (we’re talking mainly processed) typically digest a lot quicker than other foods. This fast digestion can sometimes lead to a sudden blood pressure drop. You can avoid this, however, by cutting back on the number of carbohydrates you eat. Some studies have shown that following a low-carb diet can help to stave off hypotension, especially in older adults.
Reduce your meal sizes
Lifestyle choices are a major factor when it comes to low blood pressure and high blood pressure levels. One mistake people tend to make is overeating, and while you may not think it’s that much of a big deal, eating large meals can actually disrupt your digestion. This can then cause your blood pressure levels to plummet.
The most common culprits are those who skip breakfast or fast during the day and eat big meals in the evening. Not having a balanced diet – in which you eat healthy portions regularly – can cause you to overeat later in the day to compensate.
Making small dietary changes, like eating smaller meals throughout the day, is healthier for blood flow, digestion, and keeping blood pressures stable.
Reduce your alcohol intake
We all love a tipple now and then, but everything in moderation, OK? While alcohol is notorious for having more than one negative health effect, one thing it can do is dehydrate you, which will reduce your blood volume and lower your blood pressure. If you are going to drink, try and drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage to avoid dehydration.
Look after your body!
Ensuring that your blood pressure is at a healthy level at all times is essential for maintaining heart health, artery health, and general health. Plus, taking note of the above tips means that you’ll be able to prevent potentially life-threatening problems from manifesting in your body.
And regardless of whether your blood pressure is normal, it’s recommended that you have it checked regularly – ideally at least once a year. Let’s keep up the good blood pressure streak people, and live long and happy lives!