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High blood pressure

A high blood pressure is a common problem; many people have high blood pressure. In general, medication is recommended to lower blood pressure in such cases. However, if you don’t adjust your diet, you will likely have to take that medication for the rest of your life.

A ketogenic lifestyle can, within a few weeks, lead to a reduction in this medication to the point where it is no longer needed. Amazing, right?! In this article, I will explain everything about it.

The dangers of high blood pressure

High blood pressure plays a major role in heart and vascular diseases.
High blood pressure weakens the blood vessel walls, making you more prone to inflammation in the blood vessel wall. This damage can also occur or may already exist when taking blood pressure-lowering medication.
The risk of heart failure is three times higher with high blood pressure. The risk of a stroke is even four times higher with high blood pressure. A high blood pressure can also weaken your immune system.

The cause of high blood pressure

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In almost all cases, high blood pressure is caused by your body’s inability to handle carbohydrates (sugars) properly. Your body becomes insulin resistant. When you continue to eat a lot of carbohydrates while your body cannot handle them properly, you risk having high blood pressure.

This is because your body produces more insulin when you consume more carbohydrates. The more insulin you have, the more fluid and salt your body retains. This fluid ends up in the blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure. There is then more fluid in the blood vessels than there is room for, causing the increased pressure.

Blood pressure-lowering medication

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When a doctor diagnoses high blood pressure, special medication is prescribed to lower it. Often, this includes medications like propranolol, metoprolol, or other beta-blockers. These medications work by reducing the workload on your heart, leading to less blood being pumped, resulting in lower blood pressure.

Sometimes it’s necessary to take multiple types of medication (which is becoming more common). Diuretics, also known as water pills, are sometimes prescribed as well. As the name suggests, diuretics increase urine output, reducing fluid retention and contributing to lower blood pressure due to decreased fluid volume.

However, while medication can lower your blood pressure, it only addresses the symptom, not the underlying cause. Medication can also potentially lead to other health problems. For example, it can raise your blood sugar levels, trigger gout attacks, and even increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Let the Right Food Be Your Medicine

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You can effectively improve high blood pressure through proper nutrition. In most cases, you won’t even need medication after a few weeks.

When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body automatically produces less insulin. This starts happening as soon as you stop eating too many carbohydrates. Since your body produces less insulin, it also retains less fluid and salt. As a result, your blood pressure decreases without medication. The most effective way to achieve this is by adopting a ketogenic diet.

There are even foods that naturally lower blood pressure and have a blood-thinning effect. An example of this is chia seeds. You can read more about chia seeds in this article.

The Transition to Medication-Free

In most cases, you don’t need to consult with your doctor before transitioning to a ketogenic lifestyle for high blood pressure. However, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll be able to start tapering off your medication relatively quickly. Make sure to monitor this closely and always discuss changes in your medication with your treating physician.

It’s advisable to purchase a blood pressure monitor if you don’t already have one, so you can effectively monitor the effects on your blood pressure.

Additionally, it’s always recommended to listen to your own body!
Are you often tired or dizzy? In that case, it’s wise to consult with your healthcare provider about discontinuing blood pressure-lowering medication. However, fatigue, dizziness, or cramps can also be caused by insufficient salt or minerals. You can read more about the importance of salt here.

Ketogenic eating also has a diuretic effect, enhancing the effect of medication (especially when using diuretics). Therefore, there’s a risk of dehydration and excessive loss of minerals, so monitor this carefully! When in doubt, consult with your healthcare provider.

Tapering Off Medication:
Always do this in consultation with your healthcare provider.

Low-Sodium Diet
A low-sodium diet is often recommended for high blood pressure. This advice stems from the misconception that salt is the cause. Salt does play a role in blood pressure regulation, but it’s not the cause of high blood pressure. The actual cause is carbohydrates. A low-sodium diet is strongly discouraged with ketogenic or low-carb eating. By consuming so few carbohydrates, you actually lose a lot of fluid, salt, and minerals. These need to be replenished to prevent other issues.


Unwin, D. J., Tobin, S. D., Murray, S. W., Delon, C., & Brady, A. J. (2019). Substantial and Sustained Improvements in Blood Pressure, Weight and Lipid Profiles from a Carbohydrate Restricted Diet: An Observational Study of Insulin Resistant Patients in Primary Care. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(15), 2680.

Santos, F. L., Esteves, S. S., da Costa Pereira, A., Yancy Jr, W. S., & Nunes, J. P. L. (2012). Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors. Obesity Reviews, 13(11), 1048–1066.

Salvetti, A., Brogi, G., Di Legge, V. et al. The Inter-Relationship between Insulin Resistance and Hypertension. Drugs 46 (Suppl 2), 149–159 (1993).

DiNicolantonio JJ, Lucan SCThe wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic diseaseOpen Heart 2014;1:e000167. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2014-000167

Parker N. Hyde, Teryn N. Sapper, Christopher D. Crabtree, Richard A. LaFountain, Madison L. Bowling, Alex Buga, Brandon Fell, Fionn T. McSwiney, Ryan M. Dickerson, Vincent J. Miller, Debbie Scandling, Orlando P. Simonetti, Stephen D. Phinney, William J. Kraemer, Sarah A. King, Ronald M. Krauss, Jeff S. Volek, Dietary carbohydrate restriction improves metabolic syndrome independent of weight loss, JCI Insight. 2019;4(12):e128308.

Bhanpuri, N.H., Hallberg, S.J., Williams, P.T. et al. Cardiovascular disease risk factor responses to a type 2 diabetes care model including nutritional ketosis induced by sustained carbohydrate restriction at 1 year: an open label, non-randomized, controlled study. Cardiovasc Diabetol 17, 56 (2018).


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