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How to Maintain a Healthy Weight and Lower Your Blood Pressure?


medically reviewed by Dr Godmi Tresa

Dr Shahnaz Fathima A

Updated on February 08, 2024

Your weight and blood pressure are interrelated and key to a healthier life. Weight loss, even though a little, can bring about many health benefits. 

Let's understand in detail how you can manage weight and blood pressure.

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Exploring the Relationship Between Blood Pressure and Weight

All is well till your body weight is normal. But when your body weight increases, especially adipose tissue, it affects your blood pressure. As the BMI increases, there is added stress on the heart to work harder to pump blood to all parts of the body. This causes increased pressure in the arteries. This increased pressure can lead to cardiovascular diseases if left unchecked. 

Aim for a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) from 19 to 25. If your BMI is above 25, you should start work on shedding those extra pounds. 

If you are overweight, just three things can help you manage your blood pressure.

  • Eat in moderation
  • Eat healthy
  • Move often

Healthy Eating for Weight Management and Blood Pressure Control

What goes into your body, and how is it directly related to your weight and blood pressure? Let's explore healthy foods and healthy eating methods to help manage weight and blood pressure. 

Follow a Balanced and Heart-Healthy Diet

  1. Colours for Health: Add more colour to your plate from various fruits and vegetables. The different colours represent antioxidants and phytochemicals. Aim for a rainbow on your plate to cover a broad range of health-promoting compounds. 
  2. Lean Protein: Opt for lean protein through fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oils.
  3. Low-Fat Dairy Products: Check for fat content in your milk and other dairy products. Keep them on the lower side.
  4. Maximise Nutrition: By combining certain foods, you can benefit from the foods you eat. For example, pairing vitamin C-rich fruits with iron-rich vegetables boosts iron absorption, maximising the nutritional impact of your meals.
  5. Reduce consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. 
  6. Increase potassium and lower sodium intake. Potassium is vital in eliminating salt from the body and relaxing the blood vessels. Milk, potatoes, tomatoes, kidney beans, and lentils are foods high in potassium.
  7. Avoid processed foods as they are mostly loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. These can directly cause weight gain, leading to increased blood pressure. Most packaged foods are processed. Chips, nachos, cookies, and this list can go on. Fight your temptation to grab these packs when you enter your grocery store. 

Portion Control

  1. Visual Estimation: Learn how to ascertain portion sizes by looking at them. How many grains is a cupful, or what is a single serving of protein? Measuring tools may not always be available, so this approach makes portion control more intuitive.  
  2. Pre-Plan Snacks: Set aside small quantities of your snacks in containers to avoid mindless munching. Not just that, this method ensures balanced snacking with a mix of nutrients. 
  3. Eat Slow and Mindfully: Slow eating can ensure your brain gets the message that you are full at the right time, and you can avoid overeating. Savour each bite to build a healthier relationship with your food. 
  4. Is it Hunger or Thirst?: There are chances that you can mistake thirst for hunger and grab a snack instead of water. Next time you think you are hungry, grab your water bottle, drink it, and reassess your hunger.

5 Natural Remedies to Lower Blood Pressure

Some natural and herbal remedies are known to reduce blood pressure. However, this area needs more research.

Garlic: One clove of raw Garlic taken every morning is very beneficial. It can reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels.

Honey: Honey is known to reduce cholesterol levels and maintain vasodilation. Start your day with a spoonful of honey added to a cup of warm water.

Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Amla contains high levels of vitamin C, which helps lower blood pressure by removing plaque buildup in the arteries. Have a glass of Amla juice in the morning every day.

Ashwagandha: One of the herbs in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha helps reduce stress and inflammation and lowers blood pressure. Mix one teaspoon of Ashwagandha in lukewarm water and have it in the mornings.

Hibiscus Tea: Hibiscus tea can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Add dried hibiscus flowers to a pot and pour boiling water over it. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain and have. 

Exercise and Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Blood Pressure Reduction

Exercise helps in weight loss and lowering blood pressure. Let's read on to know how

  1. Burns Calories: Caloric expenditure helps in weight loss, which in turn lowers blood pressure.
  2. Improves Cardiovascular Health: Exercises like brisk walking, jogging, cycling and swimming strengthen the heart and improve circulation, thereby influencing blood pressure regulation.
  3. Strengthens Muscle: Strength training exercises involving weights or resistance help increase muscle mass. More muscle mass contributes to a higher resting metabolic weight and aids in weight management. 
  4. Impacts Hormones: Exercise helps in reducing the stress hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol in the body can cause weight gain and increased blood pressure. 

Tips for Incorporating Exercise and Physical Activity

  1. Choose Enjoyable Activities: Enjoyment increases the likelihood of sustained engagement, making exercise a pleasure rather than a chore.
  2. Consistency is Key: Regular, moderate-intensity physical activity is often more effective and sustainable than sporadic, intense workouts. Consistency builds a foundation for long-term health benefits.
  3. Integrate Into Daily Life: Taking the stairs, walking or biking to work, or scheduling short, brisk walks during breaks - There are many options. Small, frequent bouts of activity can accumulate significant health benefits.
  4. Gradual Progression: Do not suddenly engage in drastic and intense exercise or activities. This can have adverse effects. Allow your body to adapt with gradual changes to your exercise routine. 

Consider a consultation with a healthcare professional if you have any pre-existing health conditions before starting any new exercise regimen. 

Other Lifestyle Changes for Weight Loss and Blood Pressure Management

Adopt Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress is a silent contributor to weight gain and elevated blood pressure. Stress reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga and mindfulness can help alleviate stress and contribute to overall well-being. 

Get Adequate Sleep

Quality sleep is a non-negotiable aspect of health. Inadequate sleep impacts energy levels and mood, disrupting the body's hormonal balance and potentially leading to weight gain and increased blood pressure. Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. 

Stop Smoking and Reduce Alcohol Intake

Smoking causes damage to the walls of blood vessels and narrows the arteries, causing increased blood pressure. Excess alcohol in the body is known to increase the heart rate for over 24 hours, apart from all the other adverse effects. Knowing the impact and side effects of smoking and alcohol, it is better to tread with caution.

Wrapping Up

Managing a healthy weight and blood pressure are interwoven threads.

Always remember that it's not about drastic changes overnight but rather the cumulative effect of consistent and positive choices for a healthier and more vibrant you.

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