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What to Eat When BP is Low or High?

Many people are affected by blood pressure issues in today’s time. Be it low blood pressure or high blood pressure. It can be dangerous if your blood pressure is low or even high. Fortunately, specific dietary changes can do wonders. You can manage blood pressure by adding some foods to your diet. In the following array of article, we will talk about what to eat when bp is low or high.

However, we would also mention that medications are essential to treat high blood pressure and also low blood pressure (in some cases). But, for added benefits, dietary modifications will help you a lot to manage your blood pressure.

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An Overview Of Low And High Blood Pressure

Two measurements are involved while measuring blood pressure. These measurements are systolic and diastolic. These measurements are the maximum and minimum pressures of the arteries. Normal blood pressure might show between 100 to 130 mmHg Systolic and between 60 to 80 mmHg diastolic. If the measurements go high or low compared to the above numbers then you have an issue with your blood pressure level.

Low blood pressure or ‘Hypotension” is a condition when you start feeling dizzy and also get faint. However, high blood pressure or “Hypertension” is a more serious condition and this can also result in heart disease and strokes. In high blood pressure, the blood pressure in arteries keeps on increasing. Both these conditions of blood pressure issues need medical attention and also appropriate diet.

What To Eat When BP Is Low?

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Low blood pressure or hypotension is the condition when blood flows through blood vessels at a lower pressure when compared to normal pressure.

There is no accepted standard for low bp. However, the value recognized by medical experts is less than 90/60 mm Hg.(1) Listed below are few of the things to eat and drink when your bp is low:

Plenty Of Water

Remaining well-hydrated is one of the most important things for people experiencing low blood pressure. Dehydration reduces the volume of blood, eventually resulting in further lowering of blood pressure. So, have plenty of water when you have low blood pressure.

Foods Rich In Vitamin B12

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If your bp is low, you should consume foods that are rich in vitamin B-12. These foods are extremely healthy for people with hypotension. Consuming vitamin B-12 regularly in the appropriate amount can help in preventing anemia, which might cause a lowering of blood pressure.

A deficiency in Vitamin B-12 and folate can result in anemia and this can cause low blood pressure.(2)

Foods that are rich in vitamin B-12 include fortified cereals, eggs, meat, fish, and dairy products. So, if you have an issue with low blood pressure, try adding these foods to your daily diet.

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Folate-Rich Diet

Folate-rich diet is essential when your blood pressure is low. Extremely low levels of folate can contribute to anemia and can result in the lowering of blood pressure. Some examples of folate-rich foods are beans, asparagus, lentils, beans, leafy greens, and citrus fruits.

Salty Foods

Salty foods can also be beneficial if you have low blood pressure. A high intake of salt increases blood pressure.(3) Foods rich in salt include cottage cheese, smoked fish, canned soup, olives, and pickles.

Caffeinated Drinks

Research has suggested that coffee can increase blood pressure temporarily, in people who do not drink it daily.(4)

Beverages like coffee and caffeinated tea can raise the heart rate and a temporary spike in your blood pressure. This effect is generally short-term.

Eggs

People with low blood pressure can also be benefited from eggs because eggs contain high levels of folate, vitamin B-12, iron, and protein. So, you should include eggs in your daily diet to avoid anemia and low blood pressure.

Chicken

Another excellent source of protein and vitamin B-12 is chicken. A serving of 100 grams of the chicken breast offers 31 grams of protein. So, when you are experiencing low blood pressure you can include poultry products like chicken and eggs.

Red Meat

Red meat is another great food for patients with low blood pressure. This is because red meat contains a high amount of iron and protein. Cooked red meat provides you with 28 grams to 36 grams of protein per 100 grams. So, if your blood pressure is low then have red meat in your diet.

Meat Liver

Meat liver, especially beef liver is packed with Vitamin B-12 and proteins. Thus, it is essential in maintaining normal blood pressure. People with anemia and low blood pressure can get essential benefits by consuming meat liver.

Lentils

Lentils are also great for you if you are experiencing low blood pressure. Lentils are loaded with iron and folate and thus beneficial for people with anemia and low bp. A serving of 100 grams of lentils offers 3.3mg of iron and 181 mcg of folate.

Cottage Cheese

Being a great protein-rich food, cottage cheese can help you if you have low blood pressure. One cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 28 grams of protein. Moreover, it also contains enough folate and vitamin B-12, which is essential for people with low blood pressure.

Raisins

Raisins are also good for you if you have low blood pressure. Every night, you need to soak eight to ten raisins in a cup of water and then consume them in the morning on an empty stomach. It can be essential in managing hypotension.

Tulsi Leaves

Consuming Tulis leaves regularly in the morning can help in maintaining your blood pressure level. These leaves are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium and regulate proper blood flow in your body. Moreover, the antioxidants present in tulsi leaves primarily aid to maintain blood pressure.

Some Other Foods That Can Help With Low BP

Some other foods that can help with low blood pressure are garlic, lemon juice, almonds, and milk. Adding these foods to your daily diet will help you to maintain a healthy blood pressure level.

NOTE: You should avoid foods rich in carbohydrates if you have low blood pressure. This is because carbohydrate-rich foods get quickly digested by the system and this makes the blood pressure low.

What To Eat When BP Is High?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is the most common risk factor for heart disease.(5)

Over a billion people around the world experience high blood pressure.(6) Certain medications specialized for high bp can reduce blood pressure levels. However, specific lifestyle changes including dietary modifications can help in lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Following are some of the heart-healthy and nutritious diets which could benefit you if you have high blood pressure.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons have strong abilities to lower blood pressure. They are packed with minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds that might be essential for reducing the risk factors associated with heart disease and preventing high blood pressure.(7)

Studies have shown that drinking grapefruit and orange juice might help in reducing blood pressure. However, grapefruit and grapefruit juice might interfere with the medications taken for lowering blood pressure. So, you should consult with your doctor before adding grapefruit to your daily diet.(7, 8)

Salmon and Other Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and they have potential heart health benefits. They help in reducing the levels of your blood pressure. So, you can try adding salmon and other fatty fish to your daily diet if you have an issue with high blood pressure.

Beans and Lentils

Beans and lentils are known to be highly beneficial foods for people suffering from high blood pressure. They are rich in different nutrients like magnesium, fiber, and potassium, which help in regulating blood pressure. Several studies have shown that consuming lentils and beans might help in reducing high blood pressure levels.

A review including 8 studies and 554 people has indicated that, when exchanged for other foods, lentils and beans reduced the systolic blood pressure and average blood pressure levels quite significantly in people with or without problems of hypertension.(9)

Pumpkin Seeds

Have you ever known, “Small things can do big wonders?” Pumpkin seeds might be small, but they can be wondrous when we count them on nutrition.

They have rich sources of magnesium, potassium, and arginine amino acids, all of which are essential nutrients to lower your blood pressure.(10, 11, 12)

A study conducted including 23 women found that supplementing with 3 grams of pumpkin seed oil every day for six weeks has resulted in a significant reduction in their systolic blood pressure.(13)

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that is known for its rich quantity of nutrients that can regulate your blood pressure. The nutrients found in swiss chard are magnesium and potassium. So, when you have high blood pressure try to eat this leafy green.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a dairy product that is packed with nutrients and minerals like potassium and calcium, and can thus help in regulating blood pressure.(14)

A review of 28 studies has found that having three servings of dairy daily was associated with a 13% reduced risk of high blood pressure and also that a 7-ounce or 200 grams increase in the intake daily was linked with a 5% reduction of risk of hypertension.(15)

Tomatoes

Tomatoes and tomato products are considered beneficial for people with hypertension. Tomatoes are rich in various nutrients like potassium, and lycopene(the carotenoid pigment).

Lycopene is associated with a significant positive effect on heart health and consuming foods with rich content of lycopene, such as tomato or tomato products, might help in reducing the risk associated with heart disease and also high blood pressure.(16)

A review that included 21 studies has concluded that consuming tomatoes and tomato products have improved blood pressure and might also help to reduce the risk of heart diseases and deaths related to heart diseases.(17)

Broccoli

Broccoli is an extremely beneficial vegetable with a lot of health benefits, including its benefit for the circulatory system. Adding this cruciferous vegetable to our daily diet might help in reducing blood pressure.

Broccoli is rich in flavonoid antioxidants, which might be beneficial in lowering your blood pressure by enhancing the functioning of your blood vessel and increasing nitric oxide level in your body.(18)

So, when your bp is high you should eat broccoli to keep your blood pressure under control.

Carrots

Carrots are rich in phenolic compounds like chlorogenic, p-coumaric, and caffeic acids, all of which aid in relaxing blood vessels, reducing inflammation, and thus lowering the levels of blood pressure.(19)

Eating raw carrots is more beneficial for reducing high levels of blood pressure. However, you can also consume them by cooking or in soups or juices.

A study that included 2, 195 people between the age group 40 to 59 years found that consuming raw carrots was significantly associated with lowering the levels of their blood pressure.(20)

Celery

Celery is also known to have positive effects on blood pressure and can be used by people experiencing high blood pressure problems.

Compounds like phthalides are present in celery, which might help in relaxing blood vessels and also reduce the levels of our blood pressure.(21)

Berries

Berries are associated with several health benefits, including their significant benefits in reducing risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure. They are loaded with antioxidants, including anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins are the pigments in berries that have been shown to increase the levels of nitric oxide in the blood and decrease the production of blood-vessel-restricting molecules and thus help in reducing the levels of high blood pressure. But, more research on human beings is still required to confirm these mechanisms.(22)

Some of the berries that have been linked with lowering blood pressure are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cloudberries, and chokeberries.

Pistachios

Pistachios are extremely nutritious and consuming them could benefit you in reducing your blood pressure. The nutrient contents found in these nuts are healthy for your heart and help in regulating blood pressure. Potassium is one of the prime nutrients present in pistachio.(23)

A review of 21 studies has found that among various nuts that were included in the review, the intake of pistachios had the strongest effect on lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.(24)

Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that contains a rich amount of nitrates. It contains a high amount of antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, thus making it a wonderful choice for those with high blood pressure.

In a study that included 27 people who consumed 16.9 ounces or 500 mL of a high nitrate soup of spinach regularly for seven days, were found to experience reductions in their systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure when compared with the people who consumed asparagus soup with low nitrate content.(25)

The spinach soup also reduced stiffness in the artery and this might help in reducing blood pressure levels and thus benefit in improving heart health.

Chia and Flax Seeds

Chia and flax seeds are also loaded with healthy nutrients that are quite beneficial for the regulation of healthy blood pressure. Some of these nutrients include potassium, magnesium, and fiber.(26)

A small study of twelve weeks that involved 26 people with high bp has found that supplementing with 35 grams of chia seed flour every day has resulted in a reduction of blood pressure, in both medicated as well as unmedicated people, when compared with the placebo group.(27)

Moreover, results from a review including 11 studies have suggested that consuming flax seeds might help in reducing the levels of blood pressure.(28)

So, if you are struggling with an issue of high blood pressure, you should add chia and flax seeds to your diet.

Herbs and Spices

Certain herbs and spices are essential for you if your bp is high. Celery seeds, saffron, cilantro, black cumin, lemongrass, cinnamon, gingseng, cardamom, ginger, and sweet basil are some of the herbs and spices that have proved to be beneficial in lowering blood pressure significantly.

So, if you want to control or manage your high blood pressure levels then you should try adding these herbs and spices to your diet and see the difference.

Final Thoughts

It would be right to say that several medical conditions, medications, and age can affect your blood pressure. So, you should work with your doctor to ensure that your blood pressure level is appropriate for you. If you are experiencing an issue with high or low blood pressure, you should seek proper medical attention.

Apart from the medicines, eating the above-mentioned foods might also help you get rid of your high or low blood pressure levels. So, make sure to consult with your doctor and add the necessary foods to your daily diet and keep a healthy level of blood pressure.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499961/
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/low-blood-pressure-when-blood-pressure-is-too-low
  3. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-body-regulates-salt-levels
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2605331/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6477925/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539859/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4857880/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3653258/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5391775/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5021928/
  11. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/932872/nutrients
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20645853/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31445363/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521038/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683007/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5974099/
  17. https://www.atherosclerosis-journal.com/article/S0021-9150(17)30010-2/fulltext
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26491142/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3192732/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4013197/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31464016/
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6628116/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310367/
  24. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/5/966/4577579
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525132/
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649175/
  27. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25403867/
  28. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25740909/
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