There is no doubt that the keto diet has lots of health benefits what’s interesting that I have seen people using keto for high blood pressure in specific so let’s dive deep and talk about the keto diet benefits for high blood pressure
A ketogenic diet is the consumption of super high fats, moderate proteins, and low carbohydrates. In this type of diet, the body breaks down the fat residues instead of glucose into the energy-rich molecules called ketones. This process of converting fats into ketone bodies by the liver is called ketosis.
Several studies have already shown that the ketogenic diet or low-carbohydrate diet effectively helps in lowering high blood pressure. But first, one must need to know that what is high blood pressure?
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also called BP, is a condition in which blood pressure becomes elevated than the normal reading of 120/80 mmHg. When it is consistently over 140/90 mmHg, this condition is called “Hypertension” clinically.
If the BP remains consistently high, it leads to serious malfunctioning of the body in fatal diseases like cardiovascular diseases; heart attack sometimes leads to heart failure, stroke, chronic kidney diseases, dementia, or eye damage, etc.
Different medications have been used to treat BP, but lifestyle and dietary habits also contribute to lower BP. The ketogenic diet is one of those diet plans which significantly lowers down high BP by limiting the number of carbohydrates in daily life. Different studies and scientific researches have proven that the keto diet plays an important role in weight loss and lowering BP.
Risk factors and their correlation with the ketogenic diet:
Several risk factors are associated with the development of high BP. Let us have a look!
Excessive consumption of Salt (Sodium Chloride):
The two main electrolytes of the body named sodium and potassium, play an important role in regulating blood pressure. The two minerals tend to balance the fluid and blood volume in the body. Table salt and most processed foods have a rich amount of sodium.
When a human body consumes too much sodium diet but less potassium, this imbalanced ratio causes a rise in blood pressure. Because salt retains more water, increasing the volume of fluid, which exerts more pressure on the walls of arteries and extra effort for kidneys to flush water outside of the body.
It is usually advised to increase salt intake in the keto diet because when carbs are restricted,, the body loses salt reserves. But if someone wants to lower the BP by opting keto diet, always keep a watchful eye on the salt intake.
Obesity and Higher Weight:
High blood pressure is strongly associated with obesity. Excess weight gain means less physical activity, which results in the accumulation of fats within the body.
As the ketogenic diet is all about consuming fats, when the, when utilizes fat residues instead of glucose to gain energy, excess fat will burn. This fat-burning process will be helpful in weight loss hence normalizing high blood pressure.
High levels of insulin:
Not only obesity but higher levels of insulin also contributes to weight gain hence increasing BP. Insulin is also known as a blood-sugar-lowering hormone. It is usually released when you eat something, but the high consumption of carbs leads to a higher insulin release.
When insulin is released in large amounts, the kidneys have to reabsorb more sodium to function properly hence exerting more pressure on blood vessels’ walls cells become resistant to elevated insulin levels, that means, more insulin is required to control the blood sugar level of the body.
A low carb diet I-e, the ketogenic diet, is recommended to maintain insulin levels to make kidneys function properly.
High sugar consumption:
Simple sugars (fructose) and blood sugar both play a critically important role in elevating BP. Fructose can cause multiple malfunctions to the body in many different ways—increased consumption of sugar results in elevated levels of sodium intake, which raises BP.
Fructose can also activate the compounds that constrict blood vessels (vasoconstrictors) and inactivate the compounds that expand blood vessels (vasodilators), which increases pressure in the arteries.
Carbohydrates are the major source of an increased amount of blood sugar and insulin levels. Limiting carbs while on a ketogenic diet can help reduce the consumption of sugar. When there is low sugar consumption, there will be fewer chances of constricting blood vessels hence lowering the blood pressure.
Not only that, it also increases your weight, risk for obesity and effects overall health.
Stress is also another notable factor that increases BP. When the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system turns on, and the heart starts beating faster, blood pressure increases. Chronic stress is the major cause of high blood pressure that leads to several heart diseases.
Studies have suggested that a ketogenic diet may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Few studies also revealed that high carb diets and sugar also make the body stressed.
Alcohol and Smoking:
Consuming alcohol and cigarettes both have a drastic effect on the overall functioning of the body. Nicotine in tobacco is majorly responsible for increased heart rate and BP. When the heart beats faster, it becomes challenging for blood to pass through vessels.
In the keto diet, alcohol consumption is forbidden because most alcohols are high in carbs. So far, there is no link found between ketosis and tobacco consumption still not recommended in the keto diet by several health practitioners.
Can the keto diet help lower high blood pressure?
All these studies have shown that a ketogenic diet has a promising impact on lowering high blood pressure levels. As the ketogenic diet reduces the consumption of sugar, carbs, and table salt, people find significant improvements blood pressure and weight loss.
Fat-rich foods and a moderate protein ratio make the body full for a longer period and resist the craving hence keeping the body energetic. Choosing a high amount of fats does not mean that one can consume unhealthy fat like butter or oil or processed items.
Healthy fats are the key to achieve the desired goals. Nuts, avocados, fatty fish, seeds, lean meats, deli meat, or eggs are the best keto options. When these kinds of healthy fats are combined with some recommended amount of fiber, it will lower cholesterol levels. As a result, there will be less pressure exerted by the heart to pump blood due to normal BP.
Keto Diets for Healthy Blood Pressure is extremely helpful. A ketogenic diet is rich in fats, moderate in proteins, and low in carbs, directly correlated with low BP by keeping the blood sugar level low. All the above-mentioned causes of hypertension are interlinked with each other.
If BP is doing fine then the heart and its activities will be fine as well as brain functioning. So the bottom line is to opt for a ketogenic diet, cut the carbs and sugar out of life. As a result, the metabolism will be doing much better by lowering BP, blood sugar levels, and fat accumulation.