What is Blood pressure | intermittent fasting and blood pressure | benefits of fasting | Can Fasting Raise Blood Pressure?
Does fasting lower blood pressure? Fasting has been practiced for thousands of years by people from different cultures. It started as a way to have a spiritual experience, but it became one of the many ways to manage health conditions naturally.
Fasting is believed to improve many health markers, including your blood pressure. However, it’s important to note that not all types of fasting can be effective. The most effective diets for decreasing your blood pressure are those that combine a low-carbohydrate diet with an extended period of fasting.
Have you tried intermittent fasting? It can be a great way to give your body a break, detoxify and reset, and improve your heart health. Let’s understand how intermittent fasting can help reduce blood pressure.
What is Blood Pressure?
The force with which your heart pumps blood through your circulatory system is called blood pressure. It is usually expressed in systolic pressure (maximum pressure during one heartbeat) over diastolic pressure (minimum pressure between two heartbeats).
Measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), “120/80 mmHg” is calculated as normal resting blood pressure in an adult (Normotension), 120- being systolic pressure, and 80 is the diastolic pressure.
Hypertension is a condition with blood pressure consistently higher than this, while lower than this is called hypotension. Long-term hypertension can cause strokes, heart attacks, and other heart diseases. Having normal blood pressure is considered a vital sign of good health.
The question is how to manage high blood pressure and whether fasting can help lower blood pressure. Below, we’ll go over the specifics.
Does Fasting Lower Blood Pressure?
Yes, it can — in a good way. Intermittent fasting is a great way to help lower your blood pressure and improve other health markers.
Research shows that when people restrict calories by eating less than they need, their bodies respond by increasing the amount of energy they burn to make up for the deficit. This extra energy expenditure can lower blood pressure and reduce fat around your abdomen, resulting in reduced blood pressure.
If you are overweight or obese, losing weight will also help lower your blood pressure significantly. Several studies and research reveal that refraining your body from consuming food or drinks for a certain period helps prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Fasting helps people control the number of calories they consume, shed some pounds, decrease harmful cholesterol levels, improve metabolism and keep the heart-related issues to a minimum.
In 2020, the journal “Cell Metabolism” talked about a study that showed how intermittent fasting helped women suffering from “metabolic syndrome.” A metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions like high blood pressure, high sugar levels, and abnormal fat levels in the blood, which can potentially cause or increase the risk of heart diseases, and diabetes.
Fasting is believed to increase parasympathetic activity, also known as the “rest and digest” state, which further helps in reducing blood pressure.
Our body’s main energy source is glycogen, which we get mostly from carbohydrates. Fasting plays its role right here by taking away carbs and pushing our bodies into starvation mode. It makes the body reach its fat stores and release ketone bodies from the liver.
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool that helps in weight loss. Read Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss: 7 Tips For Best Results to learn more.
Intermittent Fasting Lowers Blood Pressure?
It is believed that longer fasts can be more effective than shorter ones. If you have high blood pressure, try fasting for 12 hours or more at least once per week. It may seem challenging to begin with, but starting with 12 hours and adding an extra day to your current diet plan each week is a way to slowly ease into the process of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting reduces hypertension by reshaping your gut microbiota. The gut microbiota is the microorganisms that help in the breakdown and fermentation of complex, non-digestible molecules.
In the words of Dr. David J. Durgan, the head of this study, “fasting schedules could one day help regulate the activity of gut microbial populations to provide health benefits naturally.” For a detailed analysis, read how the reshaping of gut microbiota helps lower blood pressure. In other words, intermittent fasting blood pressure reduction is very much possible and is a well-known fact.
Other Benefits of Fasting That Improves Heart Health
1. Improving Insulin Sensitivity
It can be beneficial to patients who have diabetes. According to a study, short-term intermittent fasting showed effective results in significantly reducing their blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Fasting also helps in reducing chronic inflammation by temporarily stopping the growth of monocyte cells in our bodies responsible for causing inflammation. Inflammation may increase the risk of heart attacks by damaging the blood vessels. So, there are many beneficial effects of fasting on heart health.
3. Improves Metabolism
Refraining from unhealthy foods and drinks is believed to decrease the number of calories we take, and it also boosts metabolism, thus helping people lose weight.
4. Might Delay Aging and Increase Survival Rates
Several other findings also reveal that fasting could help delay aging and increase longevity by keeping the cells healthy and youthful. It also improves the performance and regeneration of cells and induces cellular regeneration, as they are fueled by fat rather than by carbs.
Can Fasting Raise Your Blood Pressure?
It’s important to know that fasting can raise your heart rate temporarily. If you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors, this may cause heart-pounding during fasting at first.
As long as you don’t see an increase in your blood pressure (which is rare), a slight increase in resting heart rate isn’t anything to worry about—it’s just how your body reacts when it doesn’t have food coming in. If you’re unsure where you stand with regards to fasting and need help testing for elevated blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), consider consulting a medical professional who can recommend tests based on what’s right for you.
To Sum Up
Undoubtedly, fasting comes with a long list of several health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.
Fasting has been shown to help lower blood pressure in those with hypertension, but if you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors, you should be cautious about trying it. Consult your doctor before starting any new diet, and make sure to follow the right advice.
If you’ve struggled with your overweight and high blood pressure, Intermittent Fasting may be the answer you’ve been looking for. Join our 21-day Intermittent Fasting Challenge and get all the info on what to eat, when to eat it, and how to make it work for you.