The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute states that eating a proper diet can greatly reduce the risk of high blood pressure. They conducted a study referred to as the DASH eating plan. The Acronym DASH means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. During this study individuals with previously high blood pressure adhered to a diet low in fat, cholesterol, red meats, sugars and saturated fat. There was an increase focus on fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meats. They observed that blood pressure levels of the participants dropped when adhering to the healthier diet.
Likewise, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute conducted a second study entitled DASH-Sodium. During this study, individuals were tested that were currently following the "Dash eating plan" as well as those who were not. It was determined that blood pressure levels dropped for those who were following the Dash eating plan as well as those who were on a typical diet. The greatest blood pressure decrease was seen in the group that followed the Dash eating plan and adhered to a lower sodium diet. These studies presented a concrete connection between dietary consumption and high blood pressure.
Dr. Matthew Keene, who is a psychiatrist and eating disorders expert, states that serotonin is the key to overeating and stress. He used the term "happy juice" when describing the role that serotonin plays in our bodies. He went on to say that individuals who are compulsive overeaters have a deficiency of four times the amount of serotonin than the average person. The body utilizes carbohydrates to raise serotonin levels. Often emotional eaters binge on unhealthy carbohydrates such as cakes, cookies, pasta, and other junk food. This often leads to weight gain and increased blood pressure.
A diet rich in healthy carbohydrates can be quite effective in regaining normal serotonin levels. Achieving healthy serotonin levels can greatly assist with the overeating and stress. Therefore the indirect connection between stress and blood pressure in this case is that decreased serotonin levels can lead to increased stress and increased bad carbohydrate cravings and overeating. This overeating and excessive "bad" carbohydrate overload leads to increased blood pressure and weight gain.