High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” because so many individuals have it and are unaware of it. According to government figures, around 29 percent (or about one-third) of American adults have high blood pressure, up from 25 percent in the early 1990s.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure circulating on the walls of blood vessels. Most of this pressure is caused by the pumping of blood through the circulatory system into the heart. If used without limitation, the term “blood pressure” refers to the pressure in the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the human body.
Blood Pressure categories
Blood pressure is categorized into three ranges. These are recognized by the American Heart Association. The chart below shows different ranges of blood pressure.
Normal: – Blood pressure levels between 90/60 mm Hg and 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range. This is ideal blood pressure.
High blood pressure: – high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 mm Hg or higher.
Low blood pressure: – Low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
Causes for High blood pressure
Often, high blood pressure is linked to unhealthy habits including smoking, alcohol abuse, being overweight, and lack of exercise.
If left untreated, your risk of several serious chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease or kidney disease might increase due to high blood pressure.
Causes for Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure is less prevalent. As a side effect, some drugs may produce low blood pressure. It can also be caused by several disorders, including heart failure and dehydration.
Healthy body weight and Blood pressure
Your risk of having high blood pressure is increased by overweight or obesity. When your body weight grows, your blood pressure increases. Losing up to 10 pounds will reduce your blood pressure. Weight loss has the most impact on people who already have overweight and high blood pressure.
Obesity and being overweight are significant risk factors for heart disease. Overweight or obesity raises your risk of having high blood cholesterol and diabetes – two additional cardiac disease risk factors.
To determine how much a person is overweight or obese, we use BMI, which is body mass index. It is the measure of one’s weight relative to their height. BMI is the estimate of body fat levels.
You are underweight if your BMI is less than 18.5. You’re in the healthy weight range if you weigh between 18.5 and 24.9. You are overweight if your BMI is between 25 and 29.9. If your BMI is between 30 and 39.9, you are obese.
BMI might be an ideal measure of obesity and body fat but it does not determine the amount of risk associated with a higher value. Muscular people tend to have a greater BMI.
Another way to determine obesity is to measure the waist circumference. The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), like the waist circumference, is used to measure abdominal obesity. It is determined by measuring the waist and hip (at the largest diameter of the buttocks) and then dividing the waist measurement by the hip measurement.
Excess body fat significantly raises disease risk in the stomach area. A waist measurement of over 35 inches is considered high for women and over 40 inches for males.
Controlling blood pressure by controlling body weight by controlling and vice versa
To have normal blood pressure, we must keep our body weight in check. Being overweight accounts for higher blood pressures, which then creates an increased risk for heart disease, renal failure, stroke, and other severe problems. High blood pressure is affecting both men and women.
What affects blood pressure
- Blood pressure may increase with some diets.
- Blood pressure may decrease with some diets.
- Blood pressure can increase by gaining weight.
- Weight loss can lower blood pressure.
Controlling High blood pressure
If you have high blood pressure, chances are you have a higher body weight than normal. In addition, if you are overweight, your breathing during sleep may be impaired (sleep apnea syndrome) and your blood pressure may rise further.
Weight Loss: A healthy lifestyle change!
To lead a healthy lifestyle, with minimum risk of diseases, have perfect blood pressure, and have an overall fit and healthy body, the best way to achieve this is to shed some extra pounds.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports two national guidelines for the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure. Both include several lifestyle adjustments that aid in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure. Experts feel that the first line of protection for blood pressure prevention or management is excellent living.
Because blood pressure rises with body weight, decreasing weight is one of the greatest methods to improve your results. Losing weight, according to national recommendations and current research, can drop both systolic and diastolic blood pressure – and potentially eradicate high blood pressure. The systolic pressure can be reduced by 5-20 points for every 20 pounds lost. People who are prehypertensive might benefit greatly from losing 20 pounds.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. DASH diet is a healthy lifetime approach to the treatment or prevention of high blood pressure (hypertension). In research supported by the National Institutes of Health, the DASH eating plan has been designed to reduce blood pressure without medication.
The DASH diet recommends your diet to lower sodium and consume a range of foods rich in nutrients, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, that help control blood pressure.
DASH’s diet focuses on vegetables, fruit, milk products, and moderate quantities of whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts. Red meat, sweets, and fats can all be consumed in moderation. Saturated fat, trans fat, and total fat are all low in the DASH diet.
Dash diet mainly focuses on lowering blood pressure which then helps to reduce body weight. Other diets help to reduce weight which indirectly helps to lower blood pressure. Two of these diets are Keto and Low-Carb diet.
The ketogenic (or keto) diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has several health advantages. Numerous studies demonstrate that such a diet may aid you in weight loss and health improvement. Ketogenic diets may even benefit from diabetes, cancer, epileptics, and Alzheimer’s.
In the keto diet, we substantially lower carbohydrate consumption and substitute it with fat. This decrease in carbohydrates puts your body in a metabolic condition called ketosis. Ketosis occurs when your body does not have enough carbs to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat to produce ketones, which it may utilize as fuel. In this condition, the body very efficiently burns fat for energy, which is also supplied to the brain.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diets
Many types of keto diets mainly change the proportions of carbs, proteins and fats. Some of the variations are listed below.
- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This type of diet contains low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and a high-fat diet. It is generally composed of 70% fat, 20% protein, and barely 10% carbs.
- High protein ketogenic diet: This is identical to a common ketogenic diet; however, it contains more protein. Often the ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet includes periods of greater carbohydrate refeeds, including 5 ketogenic days and 2 high carbs days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to eat carbohydrates in between exercises.
The most used Ketogenic diet, as the name suggests, is the Standard Ketogenic Diet. This diet is widely studied and provides extensive results of its users. Likewise, the High protein ketogenic diet, is also generally used by many people. Targeted and Cynical ketogenic diets are mostly used by athletes and bodybuilders.
As described earlier, ketosis is the metabolic state, where the body starts to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. To enter ketosis, the most efficient way is to follow a ketogenic diet, where the intake of carbohydrates is limited to 20 to 50 grams per day.
We consume fats and protein in moderation. Protein can be converted into glucose if it is consumed in high amounts. This will slow down the process of transitioning towards ketosis.
To reach ketosis faster, intermittent fasting can be practiced. In intermittent fasting, we fast for a portion of the day and eat for the rest of the day. Water can be consumed during fasting. Intermittent fasting has many forms, but the most common involves limiting food intake to around 8 hours per day and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
To ensure that one is in ketosis mode, blood urine and breath tests can be taken. This is done by determining the number of ketones that the body has produced in the liver.
The easiest way to check if the body has reached ketosis is to check the breath. If there is bad breath, it probably means that the body has reached ketosis. A breath analyzer is used to check the acetone present in the breath. On a ketogenic diet, the ketone acetone is partially exhaled via your breath, which can result in an unpleasant or fruity-smelling breath. Urine can also be tested to check the presence of ketones in the body.
Other than this, the change in body weight can tell if the body has reached ketosis or not. In the first few weeks of the ketogenic diet, the body rapidly loses weight, which is water weight, and the stored carbohydrates which are being used up. After losing water weight, the body continues to lose fat continuously as you keep to the diet and maintain a calorie deficit.
The blood sugar levels also decrease as the level of ketones increases. So, to check if the body has entered ketosis mode, blood ketone levels can be checked by a specialized meter. It measures the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which is the primary ketone, in the blood.
Other signs that show that the body has entered the ketosis stage, are appetite suppression, increase in brain function and stable energy levels, digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea, and insomnia.
Proven by many studies, the ketogenic diet is very effective to lose weight and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. It is more effective for long-term weight loss than following a low-fat diet. Other diets which focus on less eating, ketogenic diets are more filling and yet are very effective. ketogenic diets also help to maintain and reduce blood pressure and triglycerides levels.
Foods to have
The meals allowed in the keto diet are
- Meat; any red meat, chicken, turkey.
- Low carb vegetables; green vegetables, onions, peppers, tomatoes
- Butter and cream; any heavy cream and grass-fed butter
- Nuts and seeds; walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds
- Healthy oils; coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil
- Cheese; unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella
Foods not to have:
The foods mentioned below should be avoided at all costs
- Fruits; bananas, pineapples, apples, oranges, all fruit juices, all dried fruits.
- Carbohydrates; wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, millet, etc.
- Sugar; honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, cane sugar, High-fructose corn syrup
- Beans and legumes; kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, green peas, lima beans.
- Dairy; Milk, evaporated skim milk, yogurt.
- Unhealthy oils; Soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil.
- Vegetables; Sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, peas, corn, cherry tomatoes.
In general, any low carbohydrate foods can be consumed. To follow the keto diet, dieticians suggest following the keto diet pyramid.
Keto Diet Plan
Even though if you consume things advised in the keto diet and abstain from the things that are not advised, you still will lose a healthy amount of weight. But to get started with your first keto diet, I have proposed a diet plan for a week.
|Breakfast; have green vegetables and egg muffins with tomatoes.
Lunch; have a chicken salad with cheese and olive oil.
Dinner; have salmon with asparagus cooked in butter
|Breakfast; have a mushroom omelet.
Lunch; have a tuna salad with celery and tomato.
Dinner; have roasted chicken with white cream sauce and broccoli.
|Breakfast; have sheet pan eggs with bacon or any type of meat
Lunch: have Chicken salad with vegetables.
Dinner; Have chicken soup
|Breakfast; an omelet with avocado, salsa, peppers, onion, and spices
Lunch; Steak with cheese, herbs, avocado, and salsa
Dinner; Grilled salmon with spinach with some coconut oil
|Breakfast; baked avocado egg boat
Lunch; Caesar salad with chicken
Dinner; Meatballs with cheese and green vegetables
|Breakfast; Cauliflower toast, with avocados and cheese
Lunch; Ground beef with lettuce and sliced bell peppers.
Dinner; White fish cooked in coconut oil served with kale and spinach
|Breakfast; Cream cheese pancakes and grilled mushrooms
Lunch; Low carbohydrate sesame chicken with broccoli
Dinner; coconut chicken curry
The food items mentioned above can be eaten in rotation. The above-mentioned diet plan is just an example. Other food items can always be eaten as long as they fall under the keto diet criteria.
High blood pressure is dangerous and leads to many severe diseases. Obesity and high blood pressure are interconnected. To keep healthy blood pressure, one has to decrease their weight to a normal healthy amount. To lose weight, we have to follow strict plans which include different types of exercises and diets. The Keto diet is one such diet that helps to reduce weight and helps to keep blood pressure in the normal range.