Hypertension occurs due to a variety of factors, but dietary choices and overall lifestyle play a role. When left untreated, elevated blood pressure can raise your risk for blood clots and heart attacks.
Blood pressure increases when arteries are narrowed. Blood needs more force to move through a narrower space, but this increased force damages the lining of the arteries. Fats, calcium, cellular debris, and fibrin build up on top of the damaged area.
Obesity, certain deficiencies, and certain diseases related to dietary habits are linked to hypertension, so we asked our experts at Bethel Family Medicine in Brockton, Massachusetts, to explain what lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health starting today.
Foods high in vitamin K2 (nato, aged cheeses, and fermented cabbage)
Although there isn’t a daily recommended dose for this nutrient, vitamin K2 plays a vital role in maintaining your health by enabling your body to use calcium where it’s needed. In the absence of vitamin K2, calcium is more likely to get trapped inside your arteries, causing plaque. For example, there’s a small correlation between calcium supplements taken without vitamin K2 and heart disease.
Aside from preventing calcium and fatty buildup in the arteries, vitamin K2 can also help break down some of these buildups once they’re already present.
Foods low in sugar
Over time, elevated blood sugar levels stiffen the arteries and the small vessels, increasing blood pressure.
You don’t have to be a diabetic to benefit from reducing your sugar intake. You can have elevated insulin and blood sugar levels even if a medical professional hasn't diagnosed you with diabetes. In some people, it takes decades of having elevated blood glucose to develop diabetes.
Sometimes, a diet low in sugar can be tricky to follow, as you don’t have to eat something sweet for your body to break it down into glucose.
All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose after ingestion, and some common foods such as refined rice can cause larger glucose spikes than chocolate or ice cream. If you want to learn more about how foods impact your blood sugar index, familiarize yourself with the glycemic index of foods.
Get a better understanding of what’s causing your hypertension
Hypertension is often called a “silent killer.” It rarely presents any initial symptoms, so many people don’t even know they have it.
Fortunately, hypertension can be controlled with lifestyle changes and sometimes medications. Hypertension has many causes, including food intake, activity levels, chronic stress, underlying diseases, and certain medications. If you want to get better control over your hypertension, contact us to schedule an appointment.