Planning a Low Carb Dinner if you have High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the most common health issues people go through. Left untreated, it can lead to several diseases like cardiovascular issues as well as other lifestyle diseases such as diabetes,

, cardiac diseases, etc. You can prevent and control high blood pressure by making certain lifestyle modifications.

One of the primary causes of high blood pressure is an excessive intake of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates convert to glucose for the body’s usage but when there’s more than the body requires, they convert to fat and get stored in the body, causing high blood pressure and heart complications.

A healthy and balanced diet is the best and most straightforward way to treat blood pressure issues. All patients with high blood pressure, even those on medication, should eat a balanced, heart-healthy diet. In addition, research has shown that eating certain foods, primarily those high in crucial minerals like potassium and magnesium, lowers blood pressure. 

This article will provide some delicious low carb dinner recipes to reduce high blood pressure. Here, we will also discuss other ways to lower blood pressure levels. 

What is Blood Pressure? 

Blood pressure is the force with which your heart pumps blood throughout the body. It is a necessary factor that plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health. Blood does not circulate across the body without pressure. Without this pressure, nutrients and oxygen do not reach the tissues for the body’s regular functioning. Blood pressure has an essential function in the body, so it is imperative to control it and make sure it is in the normal range. The normal and healthy range of blood pressure is 120/80 mm of Hg. 

High pressure indicates an imbalance and risk factors for multiple diseases. It includes heart attack, brain diseases, stroke, diabetes, obesity, etc. Furthermore, it can also result in renal failure. This article explores the effect of a low carbohydrate dinner diet and how it regulates high blood pressure.

A Low Carb Diet and High Blood Pressure

Carbohydrates are one of the significant sources of energy. A study shows that a low carbohydrate diet regulates high blood pressure level significantly. A low carb diet has a moderate amount of protein and high amount of healthy fats. Hence, incorporating the right carbohydrates in the recommended amount may help regulate high blood pressure. However, it also governs the associated disorders like obesity, cardiac diseases, diabetes and likewise. 

The benefits of a low carbohydrate diet are listed below.

Weight Loss 

A low carb diet effectively helps lose weight and prevent obesity. A study noted that high blood pressure is associated with weight gain and obesity. It also suggests that a mild reduction in the ingestion of carbohydrates reduces your abdominal fat. 

A low carb diet can contain a high amount of dietary fibre, which when eaten make you feel fuller for a longer duration. As a result, it prevents unhealthy binge eating. Fibres also help lower insulin levels. Moreover, a low carb diet generally  leads to higher potassium intake, eliminating excess fluids from your body. All these factors enhance weight loss.

Suppresses Appetite

Studies observed that you tend to eat less on a low carb diet due to the dietary fibre and healthy fats. These along with high quality proteins keep you satiated for a long time, preventing you from overeating or consuming more calories than you strictly require.

Reducing Triglycerides

Triglycerides are unhealthy fats that circulate in our blood. One of the prime reasons for high triglycerides levels is a higher intake of carbohydrates. Low carbs in our diet tend to reduce triglycerides. Additionally, a low carb diet has healthy fats or good cholesterol (HDL). High levels of HDL lower the risk of cardiac diseases.

A high fibre diet is important as dietary fibres are efficient in eliminating low density lipids (LDL) or bad cholesterol from your body. They bind with the unhealthy fats and get excreted. As a result, it prevents the accumulation of fats in your blood. Accumulation of fat along blood vessels spikes your blood pressure.

Helps Burn More Fat

A study notes that low carb food helps enhance fat burning. That is because carbohydrates are the primary source of energy. On a low carb diet, the body burns its stored fat for energy.

Low Carb Diets for High Blood Pressure: Foods you can include

Vegetables:

Any vegetable that grows above the ground is lower in carbohydrates than root vegetables. In addition, most vegetables are high in essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Therefore, they are effective in combating various disorders, including high blood pressure. Some of the best vegetables to consume are tomatoes, bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, cauliflowers etc. 

Potassium is an essential element present in most vegetables. It helps dilate the blood vessels to facilitate smooth blood flow. Furthermore, vegetables are rich in antioxidants that are compounds that prevent radical cell injury. A radical cell injury damages the blood vessels resulting in blood pressure and arterial disease. Thus, it is essential to consume low carb vegetables to prevent blood pressure rise in your body.

Fruits:

Not all fruits are low in carbohydrates. However, you may include most of them in your low-carb diet due to their nutritional benefits. In addition, they contain natural sugars like fructose and glucose, which don’t harm you the way refined sugar does.

Apples, citrus fruits, berries, avocadoes, kiwis, peaches, etc., have fewer carbohydrates. They are full of essential minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, and antioxidants. Additionally, they are dense in high fibres. All these attributes contribute to lowering high blood pressure.

Poultry, Meat and Seafood:

Poultry products and lean meats are low in carbohydrates and high in protein. Fatty fish not only have low carbohydrates but are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are the healthy fats that combat bad cholesterol in your body. You may include salmon, sardines, shrimp, tuna mackerel etc., in your low carb diet.

Nuts:

Nuts are high in dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium, manganese and antioxidants. Plain, unsalted nuts are low in sodium and contain healthy fats. They have a high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Study shows that nuts have properties to lower high blood pressure. Almonds, cashews, peanuts andwalnuts are best for a low carb diet.

Beans:

Studies found that beans are effective in lowering high blood pressure. They are excellent sources of dietary fibre, helping you lose weight and control your cholesterol level. They are also rich in antioxidants. Kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans and lentils help prevent heart diseases.

Low Carb Dinner Recipes

A low carb dinner is healthy and simple. It helps your body regulate energy levels. Studies show that blood pressure levels elevate after meals, especially if they contain a ton of sodium. Therefore a low carb meal is recommended. Here are a few delicious and easy dinner meals that can help lower your blood pressure. They are full of nutrients for a perfect heart-healthy diet.

Chickpea Quinoa Salad

  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 267 kCal per serving
  • Carbohydrates: 50 grams per serving
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • Quinoa (cooked): 1 cup
  • Chickpeas (cooked): ½ cup
  • Tomatoes (chopped): ½ cup
  • Red chillies (crushed): ½ tsp
  • Cucumber (sliced): ½ cup
  • Lemon Juice: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: ¼ tsp
  • Ground Pepper: ½ tsp

Method

  1. Add quinoa, chickpeas, cucumbers and tomatoes to a bowl.
  2. Mix lemon juice, ground pepper, salt and crushed chillies in another bowl.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad ingredients and toss well.
  4. Serve immediately or cool it in the fridge before serving.

Vegetable Hummus Sandwich

  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 300 kCal
  • Carbohydrates: 39.7g
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • Whole-Grain Bread: 4 slices
  • Hummus: 4 tbsp
  • Cucumber (sliced): ¼ cup
  • Carrot (shredded): ¼ cup
  • Leafy Greens of Your Choice: ¼ cup
  • Bell Pepper (sliced): ½ cup

Method

  1. Spread hummus on the slices of bread.
  2. Add salad greens and other vegetables on top of 2 of the slices and cover with the remaining 2 slices.
  3. Slice the sandwiches in half. 

NOTE: You can replace the hummus with homemade or organic peanut butter.

Mix Vegetable Soup

  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 113
  • Carbohydrates: 15.4g
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Mushrooms (chopped): 1 cup
  • Cauliflower (chopped): 1 cup
  • Shallot (sliced): ½ cup
  • Carrot (chopped): ½ cup
  • Green Peas: ½ cup
  • French Beans (chopped): ¼ cup
  • Garlic (grated): ½ tsp
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Water: 2 ½ cups
  • Ground Pepper: ½ tsp

Method

  1. Heat a pan over a low flame.
  2. Add oil, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrot, green peas, and shallots.
  3. Saute the vegetables till slightly brown.
  4. Add salt and mix well.
  5. Add water. Then, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked.
  6. Add lime juice on top and garnish with parsley.
  7. Best to eat while it is still hot.

Measures to Prevent High Blood Pressure 

Eat a healthy diet

Eating well i.e. a diet rich in fibre, healthy fats and protein is the first step to prevent high blood pressure. Refrain from unhealthy junk and processed foods as they are full of unhealthy fats and high salt content. In addition, it may worsen your blood pressure. Instead, ensure a healthy and well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.

Reduce Added Salt

Sodium and potassium help balance your fluid levels. However, when there is excess sodium and less potassium, your body retains water. The excess fluid content leads to inflammation or oedema. It also creates strain on your blood vessels, heart, brain and kidneys which causes high blood pressure.

Reduce Stress

Your body secretes hormones when you are stressed. A study observed that the stress hormone, cortisol, may increase your heartbeat abnormally, resulting in high blood pressure. Hence, it is essential to destress yourself. Yoga, breathing techniques and brisk walks are a few methods to destress yourself.

Control Insulin Levels

High insulin levels enhance the reabsorption of sodium. That leads to retaining water, resulting in hypertension. Thus insulin impacts your blood pressure. So, it is advisable to control your insulin levels. 

Quit Smoking

Cigarettes contain nicotine. Studies note that nicotine causes an increased heart rate and blood pressure levels as it may deposit along your blood vessels. That results in the narrowing of blood vessels. It, in turn, obstructs blood flow resulting in elevated blood pressure.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

In obese individuals, the unhealthy fats deposit along the walls of the blood vessels. As a result, it narrows the blood vessels, which build up the blood pressure. Although the heart pumps the blood uniformly, a blockage in arteries increases the blood pressure, leading to heart attacks and strokes. When you lose weight, the associated parameters also subsides.

Avoid Alcohol

Studies show that alcohol negatively impacts blood pressure by reducing the nitrate levels. Nitrates help dilate your blood vessels for smooth blood flow. Alcohol also induces injury to the walls of the blood vessels resulting in arterial diseases. Hence, it is essential to stop alcohol consumption.

Stay away from Processed Food

Studies suggest processed food, red meats, and canned food spike blood pressure as they are high in sodium levels. They also contain trans fats, which are unhealthy fats. They increase the risk of cholesterol issues and weight gain resulting in high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases.

Maintain an Active Lifestyle

Physical inactivity leads to weight gain and obesity, causing fatty deposits, increased bad cholesterol or triglycerides. That initiates blood pressure elevation and cardiac diseases. On the other hand, regular exercise or physical activity helps prevent such disorders. According to a study, even mild exercise or regular walking helps greatly. Moreover, it strengthens your immunity, de-stresses you and improves your overall health.

Sleep well

A study shows that short interrupted or irregular sleep and other sleep disorders initiate high blood pressure. Hence, you should maintain a healthy sleep schedule. It includes getting adequate sleep for your body and mind to relax.

To make sure you keep your blood pressure levels in control, it’s essential to follow the points mentioned in the preventive measures such as eating right, exercising regularly and sleeping well.

Additionally, it is very important to seek help from a medical professional. If they prescribe you medication to help control your high blood pressure, it is necessary to adhere to their recommendations. 

Check with your doctor and/or nutritionist before you make any changes to your medication and diet.

Low Carb Diet: Precautions

When you are on medication alongside a low-carb diet, there’s a chance of fluctuation in your blood pressure levels. It means you may have low blood pressure at times. It may happen within a few days or even months. However, you may prevent it in the first place by consulting a healthcare expert before making any modification to your diet.

Weakness, dizziness, fatigue are a few symptoms of low blood pressure, which requires medical attention. Moreover, consult your doctor or a dietician before following a low carb diet. It will help you get the maximum benefits out of your diet while preventing any adverse effects.

Conclusion

A low carb diet contains many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and dietary fibre. Well chosen low carb food is nutrient-dense which contributes to lowering high blood pressure. So following a low carbohydrate diet will help you to lower your blood pressure and will help protect the body against cardiovascular diseases. 

So to be healthy, follow a low carbohydrate diet under the guidance of a nutritionist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What foods are very low in carbs?

A. Fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground level like tomatoes, brinjals, spinach, bell peppers, gourds, etc., are low in carbohydrates. Protein rich foods like fish, poultry products, nuts, seeds, and legumes are also low in carbohydrates.

Q. Is shrimp a low carb food?

A. Yes, shrimp is low carbohydrate seafood. It has good nutrients like high biological value protein, good fat, essential vitamins and minerals in seafood. 

Q. What can I eat on a no added sugar, low carb diet?

A. You can eat a variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken, seafood etc., for a no-sugar, low-carb diet. Fruits contain fructose which is natural sugar. Therefore it is not harmful like added or refined sugar. Please remember to avoid added table sugar and rich carbohydrate sources like whole grains, millets, roots and tubers etc.

Q. What pasta is low carb?

A. Pasta prepared from vegetables, whole grains and legumes are low in carbohydrates, and they have high fibre and other vitamins and minerals. 

Q. What carb helps to lose belly fat?

A. There is no particular type of carb that reduces belly fat. However, a low carb diet enhances overall weight loss.

Q. Are peanuts considered a low carb food?

A. Yes, nuts are lower in carbs while high in protein and good fats from cholesterol-free plant sources. Therefore, they are very beneficial for your health. 

Q. Can a low carb diet cause diabetes?

A. Diabetes occurs when the carbohydrates consumed are not absorbed in the body leading to high blood sugar levels and weight gain. So no, a low carb diet does not cause diabetes. Low carb is a healthy and balanced diet pattern irrespective of any diseases as they help regulate your glucose levels.

Q. Is a low carb diet better than Keto?

A. Yes, a low carb diet is better than a Keto diet. The keto diet is much more restrictive. Keto may result in specific adverse effects on renal health as it contains very high levels of protein consumption daily. A keto diet may not be feasible for the long term following of the diet, whereas you can follow a low carb diet for a long duration without any adverse effects. 

Q. Will a low carb diet help lower cholesterol?

A. Yes, a low carbohydrate diet helps lower cholesterol as it has dietary fibre and healthy fats that reduce the (LDL) bad cholesterol and maintain the (HDL) good cholesterol level. The healthy fat and fibre intake ensure good heart health, indirectly preventing many degenerative diseases.

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