Vegan With Blood Pressure That Is Too Low (Causes and Fixes)

One of the benefits of being a vegan is that your blood pressure is likely to decrease by a lot. Naturally, when you eat a plant-based diet, your calorie intake will usually decrease without you even thinking about it, and so will your waistline.

When blood pressure is low but you have no symptoms associated with it, this can be a very good thing. In fact, you’re more likely to live longer than average due to the fact that cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest causes of death in middle and old age.

When I started to eat a healthy diet (containing mostly plant foods) my blood pressure decreased to about 90/60. This is very low and comparable to the blood pressure of 10-year old.

What normally happens is your body will adapt and you will not develop symptoms from having blood pressure as low as this. While some people will develop a problem called “orthostatic hypotension”.

Orthostatic hypotension is a problem when you’re sitting or lying down and then you get up and start feeling light-headed¬†and dizzy – even fainting in severe cases!

Sometimes medications are the cause of orthostatic hypotension, but it may also be due to blood loss, anemia, and even supplements.

The signs of low blood pressure

Here are some of the main symptoms associated with having too low blood pressure.

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Feeling dizzy and faint when getting up from a seated or lying position
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Lack of energy
  • Fantaing

Low blood pressure falls into the range of 90/60 and below. Whereas normal blood pressure is between 90/60 to 120/80.

Studies show that heart disease risk can start increasing after your systolic blood pressure increases beyond 115. Anything below this isn’t likely to significantly decrease your risk of heart disease.

It’s quite common for people on calorie restriction or a low-calorie vegan diet to have blood pressure readings as low as 90/60 to 100/60.

Most people who maintain a blood pressure between these ranges will not show any negative symptoms, but if you are, then there could be a few causes, and not always just because of blood pressure.

Therefore it’s crucial that you get evaluated by a doctor to find out the reason for your symptoms and if there is any medical condition which is causing the dysregulation of blood pressure.

How to deal with blood pressure that is too low on a vegan diet

Assuming the doctor has given you the “all clear” and you’re a healthy bunny, then there are some ways that you can increase your blood pressure.

1. Increase calorie intake

A low-calorie diet is very effective in reducing blood pressure to very low levels. One way to help you increase your blood pressure reading is by simply eating more calories. Aim to increase your body weight a little by increasing calorically dense foods in your diet.

See my article on how to gain weight as a vegan and how to not lose weight for further information.

2. Increase salt intake

This isn’t something that is often recommended because most people have the opposite problem and are trying to lower blood pressure.

In your case, since you’re suffering from symptoms related to low blood pressure, increasing salt in your diet can be helpful. Perhaps you can try adding a bit of sea salt to your meals.

3. Decrease potassium-rich foods

Check out the amount of potassium you’re consuming in your diet by using tools such as CRON-O-METER.

If you’re eating a plant-based or raw food diet, you’re likely getting a large amount of potassium and this can sometimes cause problems, especially if salt intake is low as well.

4. Increase caffeine intake

If you enjoy a cup of coffee, then why not add it back to your diet. Coffee is not as bad as people make it out to be! Studies show that coffee may actually be beneficial for health when consumed moderately.

One thing to remember when it comes to drinking coffee though is to stop drinking at least 6 hours before bedtime. Drinking caffeinated drinks at night can cause sleep loss and poor quality sleep, even if you don’t think you were affected.

See my article on caffeine at bedtime.

5. Try licorice tea or take licorice supplements

Licorice is well known to increase blood pressure significantly when consumed in large amounts as candy or taken as a supplement.

Studies have shown that glycyrrhizin taken daily for four weeks is able to increase systolic blood pressure by 14.4 mm/Hg.

When using licorice to increase blood pressure, make sure that you are monitoring your blood pressure.

Licorice can be healthy in moderate amounts. However, men should be aware that large amounts of licorice can significantly decrease total testosterone.

These effects disappear within a few days after discontinuing the supplement.

6. Try bitter orange to raise blood pressure

Bitter orange supplements are used to help suppress appetite, improve digestion, but they can also cause blood pressure to increase.

There have been warnings about people who are at risk of high blood pressure to avoid bitter orange supplements.

You could this supplement to see what effects it has on blood pressure.

Once again, carefully monitor blood pressure and speak with your doctor, especially if you’re taking any medications.

7. Increase fluid intake

Dehydration can cause low blood pressure and can easily be solved by simply increasing fluid intake during the day.

Do you often find that your symptoms are worse during the summer? Perhaps this is because you’re becoming dehydrated.

Although plant-based foods contain a lot of water content, you should also regularly consume water, tea and other liquids (non-alcoholic) to remain hydrated during the day.

8. Support adrenal function

The adrenal glands are important in helping regulate blood pressure. Due to stress and other factors, adrenals can become fatigued.

Increase intake of Vitamin C, Magnesium, B5, B6, and B12.

Other supplements which may be useful for supporting adrenal function are licorice root, ginseng, ashwagandha and maca root.

Identify and reduce the intake of foods that lower your blood pressure too much

You don’t have to go crazy here and start removing everything from your diet, but it might be worth taking a look at your diet to see if you’re consuming too much of something which may be lowering your blood pressure.

We already know that a vegan diet is very effective at lowering blood pressure, so here’s a list of foods to watch out for:

  • Garlic and onions
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bananas
  • Red Beets
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce etc).

Again, to make it clear: I’m not recommending that you completely remove these foods from your diet, but if you’re drinking lots of green smoothies or highly concentrated juice, then perhaps aim for more variety instead.

Check your supplement stack

Supplements can be very useful in lowering blood pressure, but if your blood pressure is already low, then it may cause some issues.

There are countless supplements out there so it’s difficult to name them all, but do some research on the supplements you’re taking and see if you can identify one that might be contributing to the problem.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy low blood pressure can be a very positive thing for your health as long as you aren’t suffering any symptoms associated with it.

Sometimes there are things you can identify that are causing the problem, but not always.

If you’re on a vegan diet and your blood pressure is too low, try the things I mentioned above to see if it helps resolve your issue.

However, if you haven’t seen a doctor already, I highly recommend you get some basic blood tests done to check for any issues.

Lean is Healthy

EATING HEALTHY IS NO WALK IN THE PARK

Have you ever had a time in your life when everything is going so well, you are feeling the best you’ve ever felt since adopting a healthy lifestyle, and then a concerned friend or family member makes a negative comment about the amount of weight that you’ve lost? But you are still well within the healthy range? If you answered YES, then you’re not alone.

I’ve heard from countless people who live a healthy lifestyle that they get these sort of comments a lot, at least for the first few months or year. Sometimes it’s simply because they are concerned and care about you; but in other cases, especially friends and strangers, it might be a bit of envy or jealousy. Or they could just thin you are crazy for doing the diet. ūüôā A lot of the comments usually come from a place of ignorance and distorted perception of what is “normal” for a typical human. Society’s waistlines have bulged over the last few decades, and things are not improving, they’re getting worse! So compared to most people, we’re extremely skinny.

When we grow up around people that are overweight, it creates a new norm, so we are less able to distinguish between what is normal weight and what is overweight. And it might be shocking to hear, but some people even fail to recognise¬†obesity. ¬†If you drop your weight to a¬†normal BMI of say 19-20 on calorie restriction, people are more than likely going to comment on this weight loss, and tell you that you’ve gone too far. But according to how you feel, and your excellent test results, you really couldn’t be much healthier; and they couldn’t be more wrong.

At first it might seem that these comments wouldn’t do much harm, but if they are persistent, you might develop a heightened anxiety around the issue, and feel the need to defend your lifestyle choice. ¬†Nine years ago, in 2005, I had some of these issues myself with my own family and friends. I was continually bombarded with questions and concerns for my health. They told me that I could not live on healthy food alone, I had to eat “normal” food. It’s completely ridiculous if you think about it. How can they say these things when they are eating processed junk food and are overweight?

To put my parents mind at ease and get them off my back, I gave them reports on my nutrition that I did with a dietary planner. I showed them that I had exceeded the requirements for all nutrients. And to get my message across even better, I showed them a report of their own diet . . . ¬†Which from what I remember was terrible and lacked so many vitamins and minerals. The topic came up less after this, but it still took them a long time to realise I knew what I was doing.What happened? ¬†I stayed healthy. I stayed young. I stayed alive. The results after a few years were undeniable. They eventually gave up because they saw the great results I had from the diet over the long term. Before I even started the diet, I had done a lot of research and talked to people to get some advice. I knew what I was doing, but other people at the time didn’t think so.

So, if you’re just starting off eating healthy, doing calorie restriction, and people are making negative comments, don’t stress over it too much. It’s likely just temporary and mostly because they care. Just be a good example, and they might even change their diet themselves. ¬†I think for most people, it’s¬†just the shock of seeing the weight come off and their distorted perception of what is normal sets off alarms bells that shouldn’t have even gone off. If we didn’t live in a society where over 1/3 of people are either overweight or obese, being lean would be such an issue.

According to the BBC’s Global Fat Scale, I am skinnier than 98% of adult males aged 15-29 in the UK. And I am skinnier than 87% of males between these ages in the entire world. It says that I am most like someone from DR Congo. DR Congo has the lowest mean BMI of 18.75. While the highest BMI goes to Micronesia with a mean BMI of 30. The average BMI for people in my country is bordering on being overweight at 24.78. It’s clear why we stand out from the crowd when you look at the scale on the BBC website.

As long as you’re healthy, fit, and you have excellent results from the diet, just keep going! It’s not always easy these days to live differently. Reach out and find people who take care of themselves and you can relate with. Not people who constantly try to sabotage your efforts. Eating healthy is hard enough as it is without people trying to encourage you to eat badly.

What has been your experience since starting a healthy diet? Has it been difficult with family or friends?