Can Losing Weight Really Improve Blood Pressure ?


By Raquel Pereira, registered dietitian

If you are overweight, did you know that even a small weight loss of 10 pounds could improve your blood pressure? Weight is one of the many factors that can affect your blood pressure. Especially if you carry fat mainly in your belly, you have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure.

Here are five things you can do to lose weight and improve your blood pressure numbers at the same time:

1. Season your dishes with more fresh herbs and less salt. You can enjoy the wonderful taste of fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, parsley and sage while using less salt. You’ll also feel more satisfied, which can lead you to eat more sensibly.

2. Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks. Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day can not only improve your blood pressure, but also help you lose weight.

3. Adopt active breaks. Take frequent breaks in your routine both at work and at home to stand up and move around to break up long periods of sitting. Even 10-minute physical activity breaks can help you lose weight, as long as you take them frequently (at least four times a day) and regularly.

4. Practice comparison shopping. At the grocery store, compare food labels in order to bring home foods with fewer calories and less sodium.

5. Relax before meals. Before eating in a hurry, stop for five minutes and do something that relaxes you. This may help you manage stress and at the same time help you eat more mindfully and reasonably in terms of portion sizes.

Once you know your most recent blood pressure numbers, you can visit The American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Health Risk Calculator to learn more about your risk and health behaviors you can do to improve your blood pressure.

Losing weight is an essential step in reducing high blood pressure and improving your quality of life, so aim to lose a realistic 10 pounds today!