High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a chronic disease that can sometimes go unrecognized for years.
There often aren’t signs in the early stages but catching high blood pressure early on is crucial in order to reverse the course and improve your health.
The Fit Father Project helps hundreds of men improve their health and decrease their risk of chronic diseases every day.
This includes teaching men how to lower diastolic blood pressure through diet, exercise, and health advice.
What is Blood Pressure Anyway?
To start, it is important to understand exactly what high blood pressure is, and how it affects your body.
I’m sure you’ve had your blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office and they’ve given you a reading.
This includes a top number (Systolic) and bottom number (Diastolic).
Systolic Blood Pressure
The top number is known as “systolic blood pressure.” This is the pressure that is exerted against the walls of your blood vessels when your heart beats.
It is basically the pressure that your heart has to push against to move blood through your body.
Diastolic Blood Pressure
The bottom number is known as “diastolic blood pressure.” This is the pressure exerted against the blood vessel walls in between beats.
It essentially measures how elastic your arteries are as they recoil during rest after a heartbeat.
So What’s Normal?
The American Heart Association categorizes blood pressure into five categories (1).
- Normal: Blood pressure less than 120/80
- Elevated: Blood pressure between 120-129/80
- Stage 1 Hypertension: Blood pressure 120-139/80-89
- Stage 2 Hypertension: Blood pressure greater than 140/greater than 90
- Hypertensive Crisis: Blood pressure greater than 180/greater than 120
You can see by these definitions that in fact, a high diastolic blood pressure puts you into stage 1 hypertension before a high systolic blood pressure.
While both numbers are extremely important to monitor, diastolic blood pressure has been gaining more recognition in healthcare lately.
Risks of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer” because you can walk around with high blood pressure and not have any symptoms.
But if this continues to go untreated it can wreak havoc on your body.
High blood pressure can lead to serious complications.
Stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, eye complications, peripheral artery disease, and vascular dementia are all related to high blood pressure.
And hypertension can worsen any underlying cardiovascular disease. Obviously this is not a disease to take lightly.
Causes of High Diastolic Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is multifactorial. You may have a predisposition to high blood pressure based on your family history or genetic make-up.
Certain factors, such as age, race, and sex all play a role in developing high blood pressure.
For example, older age causes blood pressure to rise as arteries stiffen. Certain races, like African Americans, tend to develop high blood pressure earlier in life.
Women tend to develop high blood pressure later in life than men.
Obviously you cannot change things like your age or family history, but environmental, or external factors play a large role in hypertension.
What Can Help Me Lower Diastolic Blood Pressure?
Control your Weight
Weight gain, especially when associated with increased visceral fat, is a major cause of high blood pressure.
Being overweight or obese accounts for up to 65% to 75% of the risk for high blood pressure (2).
Numerous studies show the benefits of weight loss on blood pressure reduction.
For example, one meta-analysis of 25 randomized, controlled studies found that a weight reduction of 5 kg helped to decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (3).
Make Good Nutrition Choices
Dietary choices play a huge role in hypertension. This weight loss can be accomplished through either diet, exercise, or both.
Clearly, a high-calorie diet will lead to weight gain, which is strongly correlated with high blood pressure.
But it is not just the amount of food eaten, but also the food choices that are important.
High sodium intake is a major cause of high blood pressure. Decreasing sodium intake can lower blood pressure substantially.
This is especially true when coupled with healthy eating habits, such as the DASH diet (4).
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a great place to start when looking for nutritional guidance.
The great thing about the DASH diet is that it isn’t really a “diet” but rather a lifestyle change.
It is about choosing a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products.
By combining this with a sodium intake of less than 100 mmol a day (about one teaspoon), you can greatly reduce both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Another great place to look for nutritional guidance is the Fit Father Project.
They offer an excellent FREE one-day meal plan that is perfect for busy men over 40.
This will give great dietary insight into weight loss, which will also help you succeed in decreasing your diastolic blood pressure.
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Take More Physical Activity
Being physically inactive is also closely tied to high diastolic blood pressure.
Not only have studies found that being physically active can decrease blood pressure, but a meta-analysis also concluded that the more you exercise, the more benefits you will have.
Overall, the study found that the health benefits of being physically active can be achieved not only at the minimum recommended levels of activity (<150 minutes a week).
There continue to be additional decreases in the risk for high blood by exercising beyond this minimum level (5).
Basically, this is telling you that the more you exercise, the better!
This includes both cardiovascular and strength training.
The Fit Father Project has some great exercises included in their FREE 24-minute workout.
This free program offers you great weight loss and muscle building workouts.
Plus it also gives you advice on combining workouts and healthy eating.
This will further help you decrease your blood pressure and maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle.
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Get Adequate Sleep
An overlooked factor that can raise blood pressure is inadequate sleep. It is known that sleep deprivation can raise blood pressure.
A large study found that sleep duration less than 7-8 hours a night is associated with an increased prevalence of hypertension.
This was especially true when participants had less than 6 hours of sleep per night (6).
If you are chronically getting less than 7 hours of sleep you are putting yourself at a higher risk for hypertension.
When this is combined with other factors, such as poor diet and excess weight, the risk is magnified.
Therefore sleep needs to be prioritized just as much as any other aspect of health and fitness when trying to lower diastolic blood pressure.
We all know that stressful situations can raise blood pressure in the short term, but there are also long term effects of chronic stress.
Using strategies to manage your stress will help you improve your health overall, and may help lower your blood pressure as well.
Yoga and meditation are two modalities that can to help lower stress levels.
Meditation and relaxation techniques have been shown to create small, yet beneficial, decreases in blood pressure (7).
Any type of exercise can help decrease stress. Adequate sleep, breathing techniques, and talk therapy are also useful in managing stress.
Always remember that if stress has become overwhelming that this is something that should always be discussed with your physician.
Take Helpful Supplements
Supplementing with cacao powder, or other cacao products can help lower your blood pressure because of it's high level of (-)-epicatechin.
(-)-Epicatechin increases the production of nitric oxide, which is proven to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow.
You can get (-)-epicatechin in your diet via certain supplements, or you could take the easy (and far more delicious) route of consuming dark chocolate or cacao powder.
26-40g (or around 200 calories) of dark chocolate or dark chocolate products (over 75% cocoa) contains enough (-)-epicatechin to help lower diastolic BP.
Cacao powder is a key ingredient in one of our favorite breakfast shakes. You can find the full recipe in our FREE 1-Day Meal Plan!
First off, whey protein isn't just for bodybuilders. There is still a misconception that drinking whey protein shakes is only for muscle-heads.
In fact, protein shakes are an amazing way for anyone to make sure they are getting their optimal protein intake without too much fuss.
As well as helping to support and build muscle, studies have shown that whey protein can help to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels. (8)
As cacao powder, above, whey protein is a staple ingredient in many of our protein shake recipes. The benefits are too good to miss!
The reason to supplement with Magnesium is that deficiency, especially in western diets, is extremely common.
Being deficient in magnesium is actually a cause of increased blood pressure, so this supplement is actually preventative, rather than a cure.
You can improve your magnesium levels by following a healthy diet, filled with leafy greens, nuts and seeds, but supplementation can aid in any shortfall.
The standard dosage for magnesium supplementation is 200-400mg per day and should be taken with food.
Hibiscus tea is generally made from the herb Hibiscus Sabdariffa, and has been proven to help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The general theory behind this is similar to that of Cacao, in that it increases the production of nitric oxide within your body.
This increased production helps to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow, thus lowering your blood pressure.
The recommended MAXIMUM dosage would be 1 cup in the morning, or 2 cups per day, spaced 8 hours apart.
Fish oil supplementation has many effects on your body, particularly when it comes to inflammation and cognitive function.
Among these many effects is the reduction of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
A study conducted at Sheffield University, in the UK, concluded that supplementing with Fish Oil proved significantly beneficial for those with hypertension. (9)
Aged Garlic Extract
Garlic supplementation has multiple benefits, just like most of the supplements suggested here, especially based around inflammation.
Using aged garlic is more down to the ‘low odour' effect when compared to fresh garlic.
Although using garlic in your diet would serve the purpose of ingesting a beneficial dosage, everyday usage is not likely for most households. This is where the use of supplements comes in.
Studies have proven significantly positive results in lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (10)
Lower Your Diastolic Blood Pressure With Lifestyle Changes
More than likely if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure you are also on medications for this.
This does not mean that you should count on these medications to solve all your blood pressure issues.
Not only will the lifestyle changes mentioned above help lower your blood pressure, but they will also increase your health overall.
Plus, if you are able to manage your blood pressure through lifestyle changes, there is the possibility of not needing anti-hypertensive medications in the future.
The Fit Father Project
The Fit Father Project helps hundreds of people improve their health and fitness.
These men not only lost weight and gained muscle but develop an overall plan for a continued healthy way of living.
This means decreasing the risk of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
For a comprehensive plan on exercise, nutrition, and health, check out FF30X.
This 30-day program is specifically designed for busy men over 40 looking to improve their quality of life through fitness.
Through the dietary advice and exercise plans offered through FF30X, you can decrease your blood pressure and risk for chronic disease.
Decrease Your Blood Pressure And Increase Your Quality of Life
There are so many factors that go into health and fitness.
While diet and exercise are at the forefront, it is important to look at all aspects of your life in order to lead a well-balanced life.
As you get older, the risk of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, increase. Taking a proactive approach to minimizing these risks is crucial.
By taking a comprehensive look at your health, including sleep, exercise, diet, and stress management, you will be able to improve your fitness and decrease your risk for chronic diseases.
So get started today with the tips above and the guidance from Fit Father Project, learn how to lower diastolic blood pressure and continue to lead a fit and healthy life.
Your new friend & health coach,
1)The Facts About High Blood Pressure. (2017, Nov 30). Retrieved from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure
2)Hall, J. E., do Carmo, J. M., da Silva, A. A., Wang, Z., & Hall, M. E. (2015). Obesity-induced hypertension: interaction of neurohumoral and renal mechanisms. Circulation research, 116(6), 991-1006.
3)Neter JE, Stam BE, Kok FJ, Grobbee DE, Geleijnse JM. Influence of weight reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Hypertension. 2003;42:878–84
4)Sacks, F. M., Svetkey, L. P., Vollmer, W. M., Appel, L. J., Bray, G. A., Harsha, D., … & Karanja, N. (2001). Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. New England journal of medicine, 344(1), 3-10.
5)Liu, X., Zhang, D., Liu, Y., Sun, X., Han, C., Wang, B., … & Hu, D. (2017). Dose–response association between physical activity and incident hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Hypertension, 69(5), 813-820.
6)Daniel J. Gottlieb, Susan Redline, F. Javier Nieto, Carol M. Baldwin, Anne B. Newman, Helaine E. Resnick, Naresh M. Punjabi, Association of Usual Sleep Duration With Hypertension: The Sleep Heart Health Study, Sleep, Volume 29, Issue 8, August 2006, Pages 1009–1014,
7)Goldstein, C. M., Josephson, R., Xie, S., & Hughes, J. W. (2012). Current perspectives on the use of meditation to reduce blood pressure. International journal of hypertension, 2012, 578397. doi:10.1155/2012/578397
8)Ágnes A Fekete, Carlotta Giromini, Yianna Chatzidiakou, D Ian Givens, Julie A Lovegrove
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 104, Issue 6, December 2016, Pages 1534–1544, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.116.137919
9)Campbell F1, Dickinson HO, Critchley JA, Ford GA, Bradburn M.
A systematic review of fish-oil supplements for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.
Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2013 Feb;20(1):107-20. doi: 10.1177/2047487312437056. Epub 2012 Jan 30.
10)Karin Ried, Nikolaj Travica, and Avni Sali
The effect of aged garlic extract on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in uncontrolled hypertensives: the AGE at Heart trial
Integr Blood Press Control. 2016; 9: 9–21. Published online 2016 Jan 27. doi: 10.2147/IBPC.S93335
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