High blood pressure or hypertension is a common problem that most women experience when pregnant. Medical treatment isn't the only solution as there are some foods that can naturally lower blood pressure during pregnancy. This HerHaleness article gives you a brief information on such foods.
As soon as a woman conceives, the body automatically starts preparing itself for accommodating the growing baby. This preparation involves many changes, and one of such change is an increased blood flow in the body to cater to the need of the baby. While a slight amount of increased blood pressure is somewhat alright, a drastic increase in the same can result in hypertension, which if left unattended, can harm both the expecting mother and her child.
First-time mothers have higher chances of developing high blood pressure, which is also referred to as gestational hypertension. However, you must get yourself checked thoroughly at regular intervals so that you don’t develop preeclampsia, which is a serious condition of elevated blood pressure and can prove fatal for both the mother and the unborn child.
Yes, it is true that pregnancy can be a little difficult at times. The mother needs to be under constant care and supervision to keep a check on her health. While a doctor is always there to help you, there are many things that you can also do to lower any unwanted elevation in blood pressure to normal levels. This includes taking adequate rest, staying happy, and eating the right foods.
Food Items That Lower Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
There are many natural ways to lower blood pressure, and one of those ways is to eat the right foods. You must consult your doctor before consuming the food items listed below, in case you have an allergy or some other issue with any particular food item(s). However, these foods, if consumed in proper amounts, shouldn’t be a problem, but do check with your healthcare specialist.
The famous diet for hypertension known as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet consists of many food items in prescribed quantities that can contribute in lowering blood pressure. This diet consists of a balance of vitamins, minerals, and other necessary nutrients so that your body is fully nourished. Each food group should be included in a 2000-calorie diet consumed on a daily basis. The following is a list of some food items included in this diet.
- Whole grains including brown rice, brown bread, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-wheat bread: 7-8 servings
- Fresh and healthy vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, and celery: 5-6 servings
- Healthy fruits including apples, oranges, all types of berries, watermelon, and grapefruit: 4-6 servings
- Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and low-fat cheese: 2-3 servings
- Fats (no trans fat) and oils: 2-3 servings
- Lean meat, fish, and poultry items: 2 or less servings
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds: 4-5 servings weekly
- Sweets: Less than 5 times in a week
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that ideally your diet should include 4,700 mg of potassium on a daily basis. Consuming too much of it can cause various health issues related to the kidneys. One of the benefits of consuming potassium is that it also helps in lowering the effect of sodium in the body. Mentioned below is a list of food items rich in potassium.
- Fat-free yogurt
- Green peas
- Sweet potatoes
- Skimmed milk
- Almonds and raisins
A pregnant woman should also consume adequate amount of calcium as it is needed for the growth of the baby. If the amount of calcium is insufficient, then the body first caters to the need of the baby and then the mother. For this, the calcium is taken from the bones of the mother, which may lead to osteoporosis. Not only this, calcium rich foods also help in lowering the blood pressure. It is important for a pregnant woman to eat about 1,500 to 2,000 mg of calcium on a daily basis. Have a look at the food items rich in calcium mentioned below.
- Low-fat cheese
- Skimmed milk
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Yogurt, plain or fruit
- White beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Sesame seeds
Not only does magnesium help in lowering high blood pressure, it also plays an important role in relaxing and repairing the tissues of the body. Studies show that it also helps in preventing premature contractions of the uterus. A pregnant woman needs about 300 to 400 mg of magnesium per day depending upon her age. Mentioned below are the food items rich in magnesium.
- Soy milk
- Whole-wheat bread
- Brown rice
- Chinook salmon
Apart from consuming these food items, one must also keep a check on the daily sodium intake. Too much of sodium in the diet can also elevate the blood pressure. Therefore, make sure that you stay away from the processed food items, or even junk food items for that matter! It is advisable to consume less than 2 teaspoons of sodium everyday. Always check the ingredients and the nutrition chart of the food items to determine the individual quantities of the aforementioned nutrients. Not taking too much of stress would also help in keeping your blood pressure within the normal range. We all know how the levels shoot up when we take stress, right? So just celebrate your pregnancy and enjoy the experience with its ups and downs―it’s totally worth it!
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice. It is strictly advised to consult a trusted physician before making any alterations in your diet plan.