Hypotension (low blood pressure)

Many of us are aware of health risks associated with high blood pressure but abnormally low blood pressure is harmful too. Although diet is not a major factor influencing this disorder, it is helpful to know more about it as eating right can help manage the symptoms. If you experience fainting, dizziness and fatigue often then you may have a lower than normal blood pressure which would be 90/60 or lower. Our blood pressure drops and rises at some points but prolonged abnormality may lead to serious medical condition. Common causes of hypotension are: blood loss due to injury, improper blood circulation, septic shock, pregnancy, dehydration, shock severe allergic reactions and hormonal disorders (thyroid, diabetes or PCOS). Old age, pre-existing medical conditions or certain medicines also increase the risk factor for hypotension. Types of hypotension are:

  1. Orthostatic: drop in BP when a person stands.

  2. Postprandial: drop in BP after having a meal.

  3. Neurally mediated: drop in BP due to standing for a long time.

  4. Severe hypotension: improper blood circulation which causes deprivation of oxygen in organs leading to shock.

Symptoms of hypotension:

  1. Dizziness

  2. Fatigue

  3. Blurry vision

  4. Nausea

  5. Lightheadedness

  6. Weakness

  7. Paleness of skin

  8. Lack of concentration

  9. Loss of consciousness

Complications of hypotension:

  1. Organ damage due to reduced oxygen supply as the blood flow reduces.

  2. Increased risk of falls due to weakness or dizziness.

Diet recommendations:

If you feel your blood pressure drop after having a heavy meal or due to thirst then its best that you have small- low carb meals at regular intervals and increase your water intake. Including foods rich in vitamins, salt and caffeine in your diet can be helpful for people suffering from hypotension. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency can lead to low BP and fatigue so if you are a vegetarian or vegan then its best to add a vitamin B12 supplement in your diet.

Superfoods for hypotension:

  1. Green leafy veggies: like spinach, kale and broccoli are a rich source of folate (Vitamin B9).

  2. Yeast: nutritional yeast and yeast extract are a good source of cobalamin (vitamin B12).

  3. Liquorice: helps regulate body’s salt levels.

  4. Eggs: great source of both folate and cobalamin.

References and further reading:

Biggers, A., 2019. Everything You Need To Know About Low Blood Pressure. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/hypotension> [Accessed 13 July 2020].

Holland & Barrett. 2020. 5 Foods That Tackle Low Blood Pressure | Holland & Barrett. [online] Available at: <https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/the-health-hub/conditions/heart-health/heart-health-nutrition/five-foods-to-tackle-low-blood-pressure/> [Accessed 13 July 2020].

Warwick, K., 2020. Raise Low Blood Pressure Naturally Through Diet. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/low-blood-pressure-diet> [Accessed 14 July 2020].

Mayoclinic.org. 2018. Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) - Diagnosis And Treatment - Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-blood-pressure/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355470#:~:text=Eat%20small%2C%20low%2Dcarb%20meals.&text=Your%20doctor%20also%20might%20recommend,and%20caffeine%20can%20cause%20dehydration.> [Accessed 13 July 2020].