Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do changes in my diet affect my blood pressure?"
I know that doctors put people on special diets to control blood pressure. I did not have trouble with my blood pressure until recently. I changed some of my eating habits because I wanted to eat more healthy foods. I noticed that my blood pressure has increased since the change. I eat leafy greens and legumes more often. I have cut the sugar but not the caffeine from my diet. These are the only changes I have made to my lifestyle.
I suggest you do two things. It might be helpful to buy a blood pressure cuff so you can take your pressures at home. Second, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to have your blood pressure checked regularly to make sure that it isn't getting too high. The most important changes you can make in your lifestyle to help your blood pressure is controlling your salt intake, getting regular exercise, and controlling your weight (if that is an issue). Other than that, there is not much else you can do to control your blood pressure. Eating more vegetables has been shown to reduce blood pressure in some studies, but not by a significant amount. The average person in the US eats 9 grams of salt per day. We recommend to some people cutting that in half and even getting it down to 2 grams per day if possible. Cutting out sugar from your diet can help you lose weight if that is needed, which can help. Cutting out caffeine will lower your blood pressure, but only within a few hours of your caffeinated beverage. Please schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. If after trying all the lifestyle changes, your blood pressure is still high, you then you will likely need to start a medication for your pressures.
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