But there is good news. There are a number of things you can do to lower blood pressure naturally, even without medication.
Here are 15 natural ways to lower blood pressure
1. Walk and exercise regularly
Regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure. It’s one of the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood. This reduces the pressure in your arteries.
In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, like running, per week can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health. What’s more, exercising more than that lowers your blood pressure even more.
2. Reduce your sodium intake
Salt consumption is high worldwide. This is largely due to processed and prepared foods. This is why many public health efforts aim to lower salt intake in the food industry. Numerous studies have linked high salt intake to high blood pressure and cardiac events. Including strokes.
If you already have high blood pressure, it’s worth reducing your sodium intake to see if that makes a difference. Replace processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt.
3. Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases worldwide. Although some research has suggested that low to moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, these benefits may be offset by adverse effects.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as a maximum of one drink per day for women and two for men. If you drink more than that, reduce your intake.
4. Eat more potassium-rich foods
Potassium is an important mineral. It helps your body get rid of sodium and reduces pressure on your blood vessels. Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake. To achieve a better balance of potassium and sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods.
Foods particularly high in potassium include:
-vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes and sweet potatoes
– various fruits including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges and apricots
-nuts and seeds
5. Learn to manage stress
Stress is a key factor in high blood pressure. When you’re chronically stressed, your body is in constant fight or flight mode. On a physical level, this results in a faster heartbeat and narrowed blood vessels. When you’re stressed, you’re also likely to engage in other behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or eating unhealthy foods that can negatively affect blood pressure.
Several studies have looked at how reducing stress can help lower blood pressure. Here are two evidence-based tips to try:
– Listen to soothing music: Soothing music can help relax your nervous system. Research has shown it to be an effective complement to other blood pressure therapies.
– Work less: Working a lot and stressful work situations in general are linked to high blood pressure.
6. Eat dark chocolate or cocoa
Here’s a tip you can really follow. While eating large amounts of dark chocolate probably won’t help ease your heart, small amounts can help. Indeed, dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate.
A review of studies found that flavonoid-rich cocoa improved several markers of short-term heart health. Especially by lowering blood pressure. For the greatest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is particularly high in flavonoids and contains no added sugars.
7. Lose weight to lower blood pressure
In overweight people, losing weight can make a big difference to heart health. According to a 2016 study, losing 5% of your body mass could significantly lower blood pressure
To put this into perspective, a healthy pressure should be below 120/80 mm Hg. The effect is even greater when weight loss is combined with exercise. Weight loss can help blood vessels expand and contract better. This allows the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood more easily.
8. Quit smoking
Among the many reasons to quit smoking is that the habit is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Each puff of cigarette smoke causes a slight temporary increase in blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco are also known to damage blood vessels. Surprisingly, studies have not found a conclusive link between smoking and high blood pressure. Perhaps this is because smokers develop a tolerance over time.
However, since smoking and high blood pressure both increase the risk of heart disease, quitting smoking may help reduce this risk.
9. Cut out added sugar and refined carbs
A growing body of research shows a link between added sugar and high blood pressure. Consuming one less sugary drink per day is linked to lower blood pressure. And it’s not just the sugar. All refined carbohydrates, such as those found in white flour, quickly turn into blood sugar and can cause problems.
Some studies have shown that a low-carb diet can also help lower blood pressure.
10. Eat berries
Berries are full of more than just juicy flavor. They are also full of polyphenols, natural plant compounds that are good for the heart. Polyphenols may reduce the risk of strokes, heart disease and diabetes, while improving blood pressure, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation.
One study assigned people with high blood pressure a low-polyphenol diet or a high-polyphenol diet containing berries, chocolate, fruits and vegetables (35).
People who ate berries and polyphenol-rich foods had better markers of heart disease risk.
11. Try meditation or deep breathing
While both of these behaviors can also fall under “stress reduction techniques,” meditation and deep breathing (like heart coherence) deserve special mention. Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is activated when the body relaxes, slowing heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
There is a lot of research in this area, with studies showing that different styles of meditation seem to have beneficial effects in lowering blood pressure.
12. Take natural supplements
Certain natural supplements can also help lower blood pressure. Here are some of the top proven supplements:
Aged Garlic Extract: Researchers have successfully used Aged Garlic Extract as a stand-alone treatment and as an adjunct to conventional therapies to lower blood pressure.
Berberine: Traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, berberine can increase nitric oxide production. This helps to lower blood pressure.
Whey protein: A 2016 study showed that whey protein improved blood pressure and blood vessel function in 38 participants.
Fish oil: Long believed to improve heart health, fish oil may be most beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
Hibiscus: Hibiscus flowers make a flavorful tea. They are rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols which are good for the heart and can lower blood pressure.
Libonati, JR (2013). Cardiac effects of exercise training in hypertension.
Cornelissen, VA, & Smart, NA (2013). Exercise training for blood pressure: A systematic review and meta‐analysis.
He, FJ et al. (2013). Effect of longer term modest salt reduction on blood pressure: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials.
Sharma, S., et al. (2015). Dietary sodium and potassium intake is not associated with elevated blood pressure in US adults with no prior history of hypertension.
Amaral, MA, et al. (2016). Effect of music therapy on blood pressure of individuals with hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis [Abstract].
Lian, Y., et al. (2016). Changing work stressors and coping resources influence blood pressure and hypertension incidence in a large OHSPIW cohort [Abstract].
Noad, RL et al. (2016). Beneficial effect of a polyphenol-rich diet on cardiovascular risk: A randomized control trial.
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