Can food help prevent high blood pressure?

Hello, and welcome to Monday! I had a pretty stressful weekend and you may have read about it. I did end up at the ER last evening because the pain in my right shoulder was excruciating. If you read here often enough then you know I have stage 3, recently stage 2, Kidney Disease. There are not a lot of pain medication choices for severe pain if you have CKD especially non-dialysis CKD. It isn’t fractured, but it did show mineralization of the shoulder joint which surely does not make me thrilled. I have an appt with Ortho for Friday, and I was prescribed a muscle relaxant that I can not use because it is nephro toxic and Lidocaine patches, which are safe. I have one patch on now and while it is not great it at least helps. I am also now the proud owner of a sling and I will be putting that on as soon as I am done typing. I had a very unproductive weekend as most of my time was spent sitting in a chair with my arm elevated and immobilized. I did still walk on the treadmill, as my legs are fine, but no running as it was too jarring for the arm. I will be discussing with the doctor CBD oil as I have a feeling this is going to be an ongoing chronic issue for me and I have to be able to work. There has to be something that is safe and effective for people with CKD to relieve pain. You can read my other article on pain and CKD here. I can type, and use a mouse, plus it didn’t take 30 minutes to put on a bra and shirt this morning. Progress!

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May is Blood Pressure Awareness Month as you already know if you read here often. Today, I will discuss whether food can prevent High Blood Pressure. Of course, the answer is yes. It not only can prevent it, but it is one of the main ways they tell you to control it, via food choices, ie better diet. You can read all of my other posts on this topic in the archives.

Like with many things you may want to prevent getting, a healthy diet is going to be very wise choice for preventing high blood pressure. You probably get tired of hearing this, but it is true, a healthy diet can help prevent a lot of health issues later in life. Poor food choices if you want to prevent High Blood Pressure are foods high in sodium, fat, and calories. Eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, fiber, low sodium and low fat varieties of foods. Cooking at home, and bringing a sack lunch will help avoid convenience or fast foods. Losing weight can also help prevent high blood pressure, but only if you are clinically overweight, or obese. Like many things as we age our blood vessels lose elasticity, making age a risk factor we have no control over. That is why eating healthy is so important.

Reducing salt and sodium can help because when you consume too much salt the body retains water to help flush out the sodium. For some people this can lead to high blood pressure, especially if you have any of the other risk factors. If you have Kidney Disease controlling salt intake is super important in helping to control blood pressure. Remember that we do need sodium for our bodies to function properly. Always discuss with your doctor what amount is a good amount for you. 1500 mg per day which is only 1.5 grams is what some medical websites are promoting. Boxed and prepared foods are going to get you above this amount very quickly.

Choosing low fat food options helps because when you eat too much fat it can accumulate in your blood vessels causing them to narrow. This will increase your blood pressure. If you are following a Keto type diet to lose weight, I would recommend you have your lipid panel checked every few months to be sure you are not consuming too much fat. Your doctor will discuss this with you. If they don’t, ask.

Reducing calories, which can lead to weight loss, can help prevent high blood pressure, because people who are overweight or obese have an increased risk for getting high blood pressure. This may be due to the excess pressure the body has carrying all of that extra weight around. You can read more about better food options for preventing High Blood Pressure, here. Some of these foods may be high in Potassium, so if you have CKD be mindful of your Potassium choices. You can read about the DASH Diet here.

I am going to tell you right off the bat if you have never tried sodium free, or fat free foods, you are most likely not going to like them. They simply do not taste good. But, you can use things like vinegars, herbs, and spices to add flavor to your food. Be careful of condiments. I find organic foods, though more expensive, are usually lower in sodium. You do have to learn to read nutrition labels to be sure. Not the statements on the front of the food, the actual nutrition label on the back. If you must use canned vegetables rinse them first. Try not to cook with salt. Opt for lower fat, or lower sodium, and avoid fried, fast food, or convenience foods.

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