What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor for stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and renal disease, affecting about 1 in 3 adults (>19yrs) in the United States. For reference, a “normal” blood pressure is: <120 systolic (upper number) and <80 diastolic (lower number)
Many times, there are no obvious symptoms with hypertension, making it that much more important to get it checked. It is recommended by several organizations (e.g. AHA, ACC, CDC) to use LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION as the first line of defense in treating elevated blood pressure.️ If that doesn’t work, patients will likely be prescribed medication until their blood pressure is chemically forced down. I commonly see nursing home patients on 3+ blood pressure medications.
Hypertension is NOT a consequence of aging and just because you’re “young” doesn’t mean you can’t have it.
Anti-hypertensive drugs have their time and place but they don’t treat the underlying cause of high blood pressure and they can come with a whole host of side effects that you don’t want.
What Can you do about it?
- Weight management
- Adjusting salt intake
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Engaging in consistent exercise
- Increasing fresh fruit and vegetable intake
Studies have shown, the more plant-based your diet is, the lower your prevalence of hypertension.
(JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Apr;174(4):577-87)
Eating more plants can come with its challenges. There’s a lot of nutrition noise out there, everyone has an opinion, and it can be confusing to figure out what works best for YOU. Working through these challenges and learning how to easily incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet and lifestyle can be helpful. Working with a plant-based dietitian to guide you through your unique journey and surrounding yourself with other like-minded people who are on a similar journey can be monumental. When you join my nutrition coaching program, you’ll get a highly customized, one-on-one experience to help you confidently and sustainably eat foods that taste good and make you feel good. Click the button below to learn more about my approach and see what other clients have to say.