Keto Diet and High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is an increasingly common condition in todays society. It is often the result of unhealthy eating habits, being overweight or obese, too little physical activity, smoking or stress. Since many of these causes of high blood pressure are self-inflicted, there are ways to avoid them, and to reverse them. With a healthy diet, physical exercise and reduced weight for example. With Keto diet, which is often linked to high fat foods which can cause high blood pressure, people often argue that the diet is not safe for people with high blood pressure. But the truth is, Keto diet is very safe and beneficial for persons with high blood pressure, but not cause of the food you take in during the diet, but because of the results of going keto. In todays article we are going to talk about how a (correctly excecuted) Keto diet can lead to a healthier heart and a lower blood pressure.
If you are new to the “Keto World”, make sure you check out our previous article “What is the Keto Diet?” and “How to Start the Keto Diet”. If you are wondering about all the health benefits that come with going on a Keto diet, then you shouldn’t miss “The Top 9 Health Benefits of Keto Diet”. But now lets dive deeper into today’s topic, which can certainly be an eye opener for many readers.
Always consult your Doctor before starting a new Diet!
This usually goes without saying, but it’s best to say it anyways. Before you start a new diet or workout plan or in general, anything completely new which involves your body, it’s best to consult with your doctor first. Even if you are 100% healthy, it’s always good to get a medical checkup every once in a while, and speak to your doctor about any occurring changes. Now if you are suffering from high blood pressure and maybe are even taking high blood pressure medication, talking to your doctor before starting a Diet (any diet, not just Keto) is a must! Because the positive effects of Keto diet can mean that you may soon need to reduce, or completely lay off your high blood pressure medication.
Can Keto Diet lead to a healthier heart?
The simple answer to this question is yes, but only if you go about it the right way! Keto diet has become one of the trendiest lifestyle changes out there. Everyone is doing it, or at least everyone is trying it.
However, if you look at what Keto is all about, namely high fat and low carb foods, one might scratch their head and ask: “How can this be beneficial for high blood pressure conditions?”. The average person on Keto diet is going all out on processed meats, bacon, beef and dairy products to stay true to that high fat requirement. But there is a healthier way to go about doing this, and it won’t kick you out of ketosis. In our recent articles we talked about “How to Follow a Ketogenic Diet as a Vegetarian” and “How to Maximize your Fat Intake as a Vegetarian on Keto Diet”. If you are suffering from high blood pressure, then this is exactly the path you should take to get a healthier heart.
Recently the term Ketotarian has emerged in many blogs linked to the Keto diet. And essentially, if you are suffering from high blood pressure and are looking for a way to reduce it in a healthy way, then you should become a Ketotarian. It’s the best choice for people with high blood pressure who are a.) looking for a way to get a healthier heart and b.) want to try Keto diet.
How to do Keto with High Blood Pressure?
We have touched on the answer for this in the previous paragraph. But what is a Ketotarian? It’s a person who is following a mostly plant-based diet that will help change your body from burning sugar for energy to burning fat for energy. As a result of this, the body reduces cravings and inflammations, and goes into ketosis. Many of the veggies which are essential for reaching ketosis are known to reduce high blood pressure and have many other health benefits.
The definite key to any keto diet is staying true to the low carb, high fat guidelines. And while both, the newly discovered Ketotarian diet, and the traditional Keto diet achieve this mission, the side effects of the classic keto diet can have a detrimental impact on you if you are suffering from high blood pressure. The highly processed foods and artificial sweeteners which are allowed and recommended in the traditional Keto diet can increase your blood pressure even more in the short run and can cause major complications.
Instead of this, you will stick with mostly plant based Keto foods that will lower your cholesterol, your blood pressure and increase your heart health. What you have to watch out for while doing Keto diet with a high blood pressure condition we will discuss in the next paragraph.
Keep an Eye on your Blood-Pressure (Medication)!
Keto diet may be one of the most effective ways of reducing your blood pressure naturally. In some cases Keto diet has completely normalized a patients blood pressure. If you are on blood-pressure medication and starting a Keto diet, there’s even a risk of suffering from low blood pressure.
Depending on your body and how it’s adjusting to your Keto diet, you may relatively fast become too healthy for your current amount of medication you have been subscribed. For some people the effects of a low carb diet can appear in a matter of just a few days and lower the blood-pressure levels very fast. In other cases, it may take up to a year for full effects to show.
Regardless of what type of person you are, it’s essential to consult with your doctor regularly and keep track of your blood-pressure levels to avoid overmedicating and lowering the blood-pressure levels too much.
If you experience symptoms of low blood-pressure which include weakness and dizziness while on a keto diet, you should immediately check your blood pressure. If it’s below 120/80, it is time for you to consult your doctor and lower or maybe even stop your medication because your Keto diet has made you healthy again.
How to do a Vegetarian Keto Diet?
In our previous articles about “How to Follow a Ketogenic Diet as a Vegetarian” and “How to Maximize your Fat Intake as a Vegetarian on Keto Diet” we discussed how you can go on a Keto diet while staying (mostly) plant-based.
Make sure you read through these articles to inform yourself on how to hit and maintain ketosis while staying with heart healthy food options.
The most important thing for you is to stay away from highly processed foods at all cost. Especially foods which are high in sodium like bacon, hot dogs, cheese, low-fat dairy products and sugar-free snack-foods are very bad for your blood pressure levels.
Instead of relying on fish, meat and poultry products, the vegetarian and high blood-pressure friendly ketogenic diet is very heavily based on low-carb vegetables, plant-based proteins, eggs, and high-fat dairy products.
Some of the best foods to eat for people suffering from high blood-pressure in order to take in a high amount of fats and a low amount of carbs are:
- Vegan meat alternatives such as tempeh, tofu and seitan
- Leafy greens like spinach kale and arugula
- Almost any above the ground vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini
- Eggs and dairy
- Nuts and seeds
- Berries and Avocados
Also always remember to keep your protein intake relatively high while doing a Keto diet in order to maintain and grow your muscles.
So before you start your Vegetarian Keto diet, or before you turn Ketotarian, always do your research and consult your doctor first. There are certain individual circumstances in which a diet should not fully replace other treatment methods like medication or special dietary restrictions which were prescribed by your doctor. But in the long run, a keto diet done the right way can significantly reduce and maybe even cure your high blood pressure while reducing your weight. Therefore a plant-based Keto diet might be just the right way for you to reach your goals of lowering blood-pressure and attaining a healthier lifestyle.
If you are not sure how you can limit your carb intake as a vegetarian or need some inspiration on plant-based foods that will help you do so, check out our “How to Limit Carb Intake as a Vegetarian” article. If you are unsure of your optimal protein intake while on Keto diet, to dive deeper into this topic, make sure you read “How much Protein Should I have on the Keto Diet” article.