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Dietary tips to lower blood pressure

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that affects an estimated one in four people in Europe. In this article, we’ll explain what healthy blood pressure is considered to be and what hypertension is. We’ll also detail the different types of high blood pressure and discuss how you can lower your blood pressure through dietary changes.

What is a healthy blood pressure?

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is essential for good health. The heart pumps blood through your blood vessels by rhythmically contracting and  relaxing. Blood pressure is the result of two forces in the blood vessels. The first force (systolic pressure) happens as the heart contracts to pump blood out of the heart and into the arteries. The second force (diastolic pressure) is created as the heart rests between heart beats. The values 120/80 mmHg are considered normal blood pressure for adults. However, these values may vary depending on age and other factors.

What is considered high blood pressure?

A blood pressure of 140 mmHg systolic and 90 mmHg diastolic or higher is considered elevated. High blood pressure (hypertension) is dangerous because it increases your risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Generally, high blood pressure does not cause any symptoms. If a person does experience symptoms, they may include dizziness, blurred vision, headache or vomiting.

Types of hypertension

There are several types of hypertension, each with different symptoms and underlying causes. 

  • Primary hypertension: This is the most common type of hypertension. Health experts do not fully understand what causes primary hypertension, but genetics seems to play an important part. 
  • Secondary hypertension: Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that is caused by another medical condition, such as kidney disease or adrenal disease. Ingesting large amounts of liquorice from sweets or tea can also cause secondary hypertension. 
  • Hypertensive crisis: Hypertensive crisis occurs when a person's blood pressure surges to an unusually high level. This condition can cause damage to blood vessels and organs. Hypertensive crisis symptoms may include blurred vision, headache and confusion. 
  • Hypertension during pregnancy (gestational hypertension): High blood pressure problems in pregnancy, also referred to as gestational hypertension, are quite common, affecting about 10 to 15 percent of women. Gestational hypertension poses health risks for both mother and child, such as preeclampsia or a life-threatening pregnancy complication called HELLP syndrome. 
  • White coat hypertension: This means your blood pressure is higher at a healthcare professional’s office than in other settings (possibly caused by the stress of a health check-up). In this case, you may be asked to wear a device at home, so that your blood pressure can be tracked for up to 24 hours. 

What are the dangers of high blood pressure?

High pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Although high blood pressure generally does not cause any symptoms, it may in some cases cause dizziness, blurred vision, headache or vomiting.

Our advice

Follow the DASH diet: DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It’s a healthy eating plan that is designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. Foods in the DASH diet are rich in fibre and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. 

Recommended foods: 

  • Lots of fruit and vegetables 
  • Whole grain products 
  • Legumes 
  • Low-fat dairy products 
  • Fish 
  • Chicken 
  • Nuts 
  • Healthy (unsaturated) fats and oils 

Avoid or limit your intake of:

  • Salt: Skip salt when cooking and opt for other seasonings, such as fresh herbs and spices. Also, always check labels when shopping as many products have added salt. 
  • Saturated fats: Saturated fats are found in foods such as full-fat dairy products, fat meat and fried snacks. Limit your intake of these products. 
  • Sugar: Avoid foods with added sugars, such as soft drinks, sweets and liquorice tea. Liquorice contains glycyrrhizine, which can increase blood pressure. 
  • Alcohol: Limit your intake of alcohol to one glass a day or avoid drinking alcohol altogether. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of other health problems. 

For more information about the DASH diet, click here.  

Blue Zones

Blue Zones are geographic areas with lower rates of chronic diseases and a longer life expectancy because of the diet people eat. Okinawa (Japan) and Sardinia (Italy) are examples of Blue Zone areas. A plant-based diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain products, combined with an active lifestyle and strong social connections, helps maintain a healthy blood pressure and increase longevity. 

Important lifestyle choices: Quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthier diet and reducing stress can help lower your risk of hypertension. These lifestyle choices may also reduce or end the need for blood pressure medicine. 


At Dokteronline, we understand how important it is to keep your blood pressure under control to live healthily. With the right knowledge and tips, you can take the necessary steps to lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Whether you want specialised advice on dietary adjustments, medication or a healthier lifestyle, we've got you covered. Together, we can work on maintaining a healthy blood pressure and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. 

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