Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally: Diet Can Control Resistant Hypertension

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a widespread health concern with serious implications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney issues, and even death. And if you’re dealing with treatment-resistant hypertension, lowering your blood pressure can be a huge challenge.

Fortunately, there’s exciting news emerging from a groundbreaking study showcasing the potential of lifestyle modifications to improve this condition and your quality of life. Let’s explore the fascinating new research on lowering blood pressure naturally with diet and exercise.

Treatment-resistant hypertension definition

Treatment resistant hypertension, or resistant hypertension, is defined as blood pressure that consistently stays above 140/90 mmHg in spite of a treatment plan, including multiple types of antihypertensive medications.

Resistant hypertension affects an estimated 5% of the global population, and roughly 20% to 30% of adults who are already grappling with this potentially deadly condition.

There’s typically an underlying cause of resistant hypertension, such as another medical condition like kidney disease or thyroid issues. And those affected are 50% more likely to suffer cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks, and even death.

It’s crucial to address this stubborn form of hypertension to protect your health and well-being.

New research on lowering blood pressure naturally

Diet and exercise have long been recognized as effective treatments for high blood pressure. But a new study, called Treating Resistant Hypertension Using Lifestyle Modification to Promote Health (TRIUMPH), was the first to examine the effects of lifestyle habits on individuals with treatment-resistant hypertension. And the results were highly encouraging.

Researchers found that behavioral changes including regular aerobic exercise, adherence to a special eating plan called the DASH Diet, and weight loss significantly lowered blood pressure levels and improved cardiovascular health.

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The DASH Diet aligns with the American Heart Association’s recommendations, emphasizing fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and limited salt.

TRIUMPH participants experienced an average 12-point drop in systolic blood pressure, accompanied by improvements in other key markers of heart health, such as lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

These findings highlight the potential benefits of lifestyle modifications in combating resistant hypertension.

Harnessing the power of natural solutions for high blood pressure

To maximize the benefits of these lifestyle changes, it’s essential to stick with them long-term. While that may seem daunting at first, remember it’s never too late to begin your journey, and every small step counts.

In addition to adopting a DASH-style diet, the researchers behind TRIUMPH advise setting realistic and achievable goals. Start by aiming to lose 5% to 10% of your body weight and gradually increasing your physical activity by 1,000 steps per day or more.

By focusing on these attainable goals, you can make sustainable progress towards better health and successfully manage treatment-resistant hypertension.

Since the DASH Diet was central to the TRIUMPH study’s success, let’s explore what this eating plan entails and how it can be easily implemented in daily life.

Treating high blood pressure: DASH Diet tips

The DASH diet isn’t restrictive, but rather a well-rounded approach to nutrition that emphasizes wholesome, nutrient-rich foods. Here are its key components.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

The DASH Diet encourages generous servings of fruits and vegetables. These plant-based foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

Incorporate a colorful variety of produce into your meals and snacks, making them the centerpiece of your plate.

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Nutrient-rich whole grains

Whole grains also make up a significant part of the DASH Diet. They’re rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.

Some options include:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Whole wheat products
  • Lean proteins

The DASH Diet incorporates lean protein sources, such as:

  • Seafood
  • Skinless chicken and turkey
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Extra-lean red meat (twice per week)

Choose healthier cooking methods like grilling, baking, or broiling instead of frying.

Low-fat dairy products

Dairy products are a valuable source of calcium and other essential nutrients. Choose low-fat or fat-free options to reduce saturated fat intake, such as:

  • Skim milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Reduced-fat cheeses
  • Healthy fats

The DASH Diet emphasizes replacing unhealthy saturated and trans fats with healthier, unsaturated fats.

Avoid fried foods, and instead opt for monounsaturated fats, such as:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts

Limited sodium intake

Reducing your salt intake is a crucial aspect of the DASH Diet, as excessive sodium has been linked to high blood pressure.

Opt for natural herbs, spices, and other flavorings to enhance the taste of your meals instead of relying on salt.

And be mindful of processed and packaged foods, as they often contain high levels of sodium.

Moderate sugar

While the DASH eating plan doesn’t strictly eliminate sugar or sweets, it emphasizes moderation.

Choose naturally sweetened treats like fresh fruits, or enjoy small portions of your favorite desserts only on occasion. Be sure to check food labels to limit excess sugar and make informed choices.

Implementing the DASH Diet requires a shift towards mindful and balanced eating. It’s important to remember that gradual changes and sustainable habits are key to long-term success.

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Consult with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian to personalize the DASH Diet to your specific needs and preferences.

Try lowering your high blood pressure naturally with diet and exercise

In the battle against treatment-resistant hypertension, the TRIUMPH study provides a ray of hope, showcasing the transformative potential of healthy lifestyle habits.

If you suffer from resistant hypertension, try following the DASH Diet and increasing your physical activity, and visit with your healthcare provider to see how they can benefit you.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2018/17_0362.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010458/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4408700/#:~:text=extensive%20medical%20therapy.-,Resistant%20hypertension%20is%20defined%20as%20blood%20pressure%20that%20remains%20above,to%20suffer%20end%2Dorgan%20damage.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijhy/2011/236239/

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-resistant-hypertension#:~:text=Mar%2003%2C%202023.-,INTRODUCTION

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4671446/

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.055329

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5609092/#:~:text=Current%20evidence%20from%20a%20systematic,140%2D160%20million%20people%20globally.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11136953/

https://heart.bmj.com/content/105/2/98

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/hypertensionaha.108.189141

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482514/#:~:text=What%20does%20this%20diet%20include,minimally%20processed%20and%20fresh%20food.

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash-eating-plan

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723869/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770596/

Author
Carrie Solomon

Carrie Solomon is a freelance health writer, copywriter, and passionate wellness enthusiast. She’s on a mission to help wellness-focused companies educate, engage, and inspire their audiences to make the world a healthier, happier place. Learn more about her at copybycarrie.com or on LinkedIn.

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