Whole30 caused elevated blood pressure?


ag42767

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Hey everyone.

My mother and I are both on Day 15 of our Whole30. This is my third round, and I got my 51 year old mom to join in for the first time. I really wanted her to do this round with me because she has issues with her energy levels, has many menopause symptoms, and has gastrointestinal problems. She also suffers with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Ironically, she has never weighed over 125 lbs, and has pretty much always tried to eat as healthy as she has known how. 

I thought that doing a Whole30 would help alleviate some of these symptoms, but so far she has had two bad scares where her blood pressure was really elevated causing dizziness, weakness, and just overall malaise. She hasn't cheated at all, exercises 3 times per week, and is still taking her medicine as instructed. I know that sometimes medical symptoms can get worse before they get better in the beginning of a Whole30, but I didn't think it would be this bad. 

I think it may be time for her to call it quits, at least for now, because she doesn't have medical insurance at the moment and can't afford to have any more health issues. I'm not here for any medical advice... more out of curiosity. What could be causing her blood pressure to worsen during a Whole30? Why would she be experiencing more hypertension issues now that she's eating "healthier" ? She hasn't had any negative hypertension symptoms in over 3 years since starting to take her blood pressure medicine. 

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Not a doctor, neither an expert, what it comes to my mind: could be she is eating less potassium? (I don't think she can be eating more sodium in whole30 than before, but that could be other way). In case you need you can use https://nutritiondata.self.com/tools/nutrient-search to find high potassium foods and other nutrients. Also you can use https://cronometer.com/ and record the foods she eats in an average day now in whole30 and then record another day with the typical foods she has been eaten before, and compare both.

Also in this forum:

Hope you both can find a path for her.

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"Healthy" doesn't always mean it's good for a specific person. My mom can't eat asparagus (we call it "spear-your-guts" because of how it affects her), and I love broccoli but know I'm signing up for a night of ...flatulence... whenever I eat it. Similarly, there are a lot of foods that are perfectly compliant according to Whole30 rules that simply wouldn't be ideal for someone watching their blood pressure. Things like sea salt, frozen fish or seafood, red meats, canned tomatoes, pickles or other salt-preserved foods... the list goes on. Other things can affect blood pressure too, including (but not only) dehydration, not enough potassium, pain, loneliness, etc.

Whole30 is a great place to start, but it really is just a jumping-off point for many of us, especially those with underlying health issues that need some extra care. I'd suggest looking at the Chris Kresser article linked in the post Anhe shared, as well as maybe looking into the DASH diet, and then taking some time to talk the situation over with her doctor to see what the suggested course of action would be. Maybe that's Whole30 modified to remove stuff known to contribute to hypertension, maybe it's DASH (which brings back things like grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy), or maybe it's something else entirely that the doctor feels would work better for her situation.

 

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This is only a theory, but it could be a response to the physiological stress of taking those food groups out of her diet. We all know that taking out dairy, sugar, grains, etc will most likely cause some psychological withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, and physiological symptoms like fatigue, but I wouldn't be surprised if it could also induce the stress response as well and possibly increase blood pressure. 

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