How Vegan Diets Can Lower Blood Pressure
Why Lower Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for death in the world. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. High blood pressure plays a huge part in a range of fatal conditions, including heart attacks, aneurysms, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure.
High blood pressure lays waste to the lives of nine million people every year, and in the UK, its victims are becoming even younger.
An alarming one-fifth of 24 to 32-year olds have high blood pressure. In fact, one third of men and one quarter of women aged 40 have high blood pressure.
The silent killer devastates millions of lives and yet, it is almost entirely preventable.
There is now a welter of science to show that a vegan diet can significantly lower your risk of high blood pressure.
It’s no secret that a vegan diet has powerful healing properties. Whole, plant-based foods have been shown to prevent, treat and even reverse many different health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, gout, Parkinson’s – the list goes on! But, did you know that following a plant-based diet also gives you the opportunity to naturally lower your blood pressure? A diet high in fruits, vegetables, pulses and nuts lowers blood pressure by a variety of mechanisms!
Based on a study of 89,000 people (do we have the name of the study? If so, it should be quoted here), those eating a vegan diet had a 75% lower risk of high blood pressure. Whilst those eating vegetarian diets appeared to cut their risk by only 55%.
So, here’s why adopting a vegan diet can maintain healthy blood pressure levels and allow you to live your best life.
Aiding weight loss
Since plants foods are lower in calories per serving than animal products, you will naturally eat fewer calories on a vegan diet. Foods such as leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, and beans can be just as filling but have much less fat and fewer calories than meat, cheese, and eggs.
It is estimated that for every kilogram of weight lost, you can reduce your systolic blood pressure by one point!
Top Tip: Be sure to plan your vegan diet to be nutritionally sound. Remember, kale is vegan, but so are Oreos!
Eating a plant rich diet not only aids weight loss in the most delicious ways, it will also provide you with plenty of fibre! Vegans consume significantly more fibre than omnivores. In fact, an average of more than 24g of fibre per day!
Fibre intake will support overall health, keep us satiated and full, maintain low cholesterol levels, boost anti-inflammatory properties and ensure regular bowel movements! Fibre is also essential for regulating our blood pressure and helps to control blood fat levels!
Top Tip: Whole grains will have more fibre than their counterpart, refined grains. Wholegrains are minimally processed and thus more nutritious than refined grains. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy whole-grain options to choose from. Oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice are among our favourites! Try to avoid white rice and ‘enriched’ flour products, which are found in many pastas, bread, bagels and baked goods.
Those who follow the standard western diet tend to consume too much sodium. One reason for this is because salt is added in the production of animal-based foods. Some of the biggest sources of salt are from meat and dairy. When you ingest too much salt (which contains sodium), your body holds extra water to “wash” the salt away. This may cause blood pressure to rise.
A whole-food, plant-based diet is naturally low in salt and sodium, therefore reducing the risk of increased blood pressure.
Top Tip: Try using fresh herbs and spices to flavour food instead of salt! You can reduce your salt intake by avoiding salty snacks. Vegan friendly crisps and canned foods often contain added salt!
Other Ways to Lower Blood Pressure:
Quit smokingReduce stress as much as possible
Drink alcohol only in moderation