Do you have high blood pressure or high blood sugar? If so then you can lower both while on the ketogenic diet. This is a low-carb diet that’s been trending in recent years. Studies show it can help to reduce conditions like above-average levels of glucose (blood sugar) and hypertension (high blood pressure).
You’ll want to know how to manage high blood sugar on keto, for example. This is a growing problem since the global diabetes rates have sky-rocketed to over 8%. It’s important to take steps to lower your blood sugar levels to prevent insulin resistance, prediabetes, or diabetes.
Some studies show that low-carb diets including Keto seem to help lower blood pressure versus other diets. This is surprising since they usually involve higher calorie counts. There’s no calorie counting and fat has twice as many calories as the other macronutrients: protein and fat.
The improvements seem to be related to the combination of reducing carbs and increasing fat. However, if you have either of these conditions you should talk to your doctor before starting the ketogenic diet. It’s important to monitor your condition in case there are any issues while you’re on the diet. This is critical to reach your health goals.
The Effects of the Keto Diet on Blood Pressure
The Keto diet works by reducing carbs to 50g per day or even 20g. This requires you to consume low-carb foods/meals that are also higher in protein and fats. The goal is for your body to go into a state of “ketosis.” This results in you getting energy stored fat instead of calories.
One of the possible issues is if you’re on the keto diet you’re required to eat certain foods that could cause blood sugar increases. So, it might seem that from the get-go this isn’t a good idea for people with high blood pressure.
However, it’s been argued that this low-carb diet is OK for people with high blood pressure. That’s not because of the foods on the diet. It can help you lose weight, which can have a big effect on body weight.
If you look at the foods allowed on Keto it might seem to be a no-go for people with high blood pressure. That includes foods like:
- Heavy cream
- Pork rinds
- Cream cheese
These foods are known as being ones that are “heavy” and “fattening.” Another issue is Keto also allows artificial sweeteners and diet sodas since they’re “low-carb.” This helps to explain many health experts recommend not staying on Keto for more than one or two months.
One alternative for people with high- blood pressure is a modified Keto known as the “Ketotarian Diet.” This one includes tweaks like swapping out artificial sweeteners and adding more veggies. These small changes can provide the same results as the original Keto and maybe even better ones.
This diet adds some elements of other diets. For example, the no processed foods rule is actually closer to Paleo, which only allows pre-agriculture foods on a person’s diet. You also get several foods that are known to lower high blood sugar.
How to Manage High Blood Sugar on Keto
Fun Fact: In 1923 the Keto diet was originally used to treat diabetes patients at the Mayo Clinic. This is ironic since the low-carb diet is now used as a commercial weight-loss program. The basic mechanics of the diet can certainly help people with high blood sugar.
Type-2 diabetes develops from prediabetes, which develops from insulin resistance. The key is to prevent your blood sugar levels from increasing to the next level. For example, if you have insulin resistance it’s critical to take steps to prevent it from developing into prediabetes.
The Keto diet works by hacking the body’s systems so you get energy from stored fat rather than food carbs. When you go low-carb the body first burns any glucose that’s available now. It then gets energy from store blood sugar.
When that’s gone the body then starts breaking down stored fat. The diet gets its name because this state of “ketosis” also causes the liver to crank out more “ketones.” These are molecules that mostly fuel the brain but also the body.
So, there’s an outstanding chance you can reduce blood sugar if you follow the keto diet to a tee. If you keep your daily carbs under 20g this can help you to stay in ketosis, which will provide better results. You’ll want to avoid foods that cause blood sugar spikes including:
- Baked goods (most)
- Sugary sodas/sports drinks
- White rice
- Sugary fruits (oranges, apples, mangos)
- Sweet potatoes
You should focus on low-carb foods like meat, eggs, dairy, leafy greens, and avocados. These are low-glycemic index (GI). In other words, they’ll take longer to get into your bloodstream. This can help to prevent blood sugar spikes and keep your glucose levels under control.
You should keep tracking your glucose levels while on Keto. This will help to prevent developing prediabetes or diabetes. You can also manage diabetes better if you already have the disease.
Tips to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
1. Reduce sodium
Fun Fact: 99% of the world’s population consumes too much salt based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) daily recommendations. One of the easiest ways to reduce blood pressure is to lower your salt intake. This is the most effective way to achieve that goal.
You can also consume more potassium. This helps to counter the effects of sodium. Foods high in potassium include potatoes, bananas, and dried fruit. If you combine this step with lowering sodium it’s a 1-2 punch that can help to drop blood pressure fast.
2. Reduce caffeine
There’s generally nothing wrong with a cup or two of black coffee or green eat. However, if you’re overdoing it then the high caffeine intake might boost the risk of health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.
3. Limit alcohol
Drinking a glass of wine at the end of the day is actually very healthy and is allowed on various diets like Keto. The key is to make it one glass instead of one bottle. Studies show that alcohol is linked to about 15% of the world’s cases of high blood pressure.
4. Reduce stress
It turns out that stress can have an even bigger effect on health problems like digestion than food. It can also boost blood pressure. Stress is actually a normal body function that helps you deal with tough situations. However, if your stress if strong and continuous this can have long-term effects like high blood pressure. Learn how to deal with it with meditation, yoga, workouts, breathing exercises, etc.
5. Exercise regularly
You can do different exercises like jogging, swimming, biking, cycling, or just walking. The key is to avoid sitting all day whether it’s behind a steering wheel or in front of a computer screen. You can even do some easy exercises at your desk to help reduce high blood sugar on keto.