High blood pressure is a serious medical issue and no person suffering from it should consider it irrelevant. Untreated high blood pressure can easily lead to kidney damage, stroke, heart failure, or heart attack (1, 2). However, if you are suffering from high blood pressure, there is no reason to limit its treatment to drugs. The thing is, you could lower blood pressure naturally solely by taking better care of yourself and your health.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)’s statistics of this disease speak that about 50 million of the adults in the US actually suffer from high blood pressure (3).
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension is a systolic pressure with the average top number of 140mmHg or a diastolic one with the average bottom number of 90mmHg (4). When speaking of the first one – systolic blood pressure, we are speaking of the pressure of blood that flows through the vessels when the heart contracts (5). Diastolic blood pressure, on the other hand, is the blood pressure when the heart is at rest (between heartbeats) (6).
Table of Contents
- Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
- 1. Meditation
- 2. Chiropractic Therapy
- 3. Exercise
- 4. Healthy Diet
- 5. Reduce Sodium Consumption
- 6. Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
If you are wondering how to reduce blood pressure, you should definitely try meditation. This is the advice of many doctors and medical experts out there (7, 8), such as presented in the words of Schneider, MD: ‘Meditation, not medication’.
Tip: Take 5 minutes every day to meditate. You can even download helpful apps such as Headspace, Calm, or Aura to help you. Simply close your eyes in a quiet space without distraction and let your brain and body relax.
2. Chiropractic Therapy
This has shown to be quite a controversial subject in the medical world, but some experts suggest chiropractic therapy as one of the most successful high blood pressure remedies (8, 9). This is not primarily considered to be a way of lowering the blood pressure, but one that prevents it by controlling stress (10). The director of the Chiropractic Care Center of Charlotte in North Carolina has suggested this type of therapy as one good way to lower blood pressure naturally.
Tip: Seek help from a chiropractor who can make simple adjustments that have been found to lower blood pressure naturally. Studies suggest misalignment of certain areas of the body could be causing high blood pressure. Give your local chiropractor a call to inquire more.
Speaking of effective natural remedies for high blood pressure, perhaps the most often discussed and suggested action to take is exercising regularly (11, 12). Some regular physical activity has not harmed anyone, especially not those who suffer from stress and high blood pressure.
Normally, a person would need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily in order to lower the blood pressure by 4 to 9 mm Hg (13). This applies to both cases of prehypertension and hypertension. In the first case, regular exercise helps the person avoid developing hypertension while in the second one, it lowers the increased blood pressure.
The best types of exercise if you want to lower high blood pressure naturally are:
- Strength training
So, the idea here is – get moving! As the article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine issue of April 2, 2002, reported, people who exercise (in this case practice aerobic exercise) managed to reduce blood pressure better than those who did not.
Losing some weight is yet another advantage of exercising and another natural remedy for reducing high blood pressure (14). If you make a habit of exercising and taking care of your weight, there is a big chance that your blood pressure will decrease. It often happens that blood pressure increases with weight increase and many overweight people have problems with blood pressure due to this (15). Being overweight can cause sleep apnea, a condition when your breathing while you sleep is disrupted by your weight and this is a key factor toward high blood pressure (16).
Weight loss in the case of high blood pressure is not really a choice. This is one of the most important changes that you must make to control this illness. Even 10 pounds being lost mean blood pressure decrease.
Aside from taking care of your weight, try to keep an eye on your waistline. Researchers have shown that men are at risk when their waist is greater than 102cm, while for women this number is 89cm (17, 18). However, the most recommended way for you to determine what your individual healthy measurement is for your waist is by asking your doctor.
Tip: Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, aerobics, and strength training have all been shown to lower blood pressure. Aim for 30 minutes per day of exercise. Choose an exercise routine that fits your lifestyle best that you know you can stick with long-term. Exercise can also aid in weight loss, which is very helpful in lowering blood pressure as well.
4. Healthy Diet
When speaking of natural remedies for high blood pressure, proper nutrition is among the top ways to lower blood pressure naturally (19, 20). Eating a healthy diet that includes whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and fruits can really help you reduce blood pressure (21). A person trying to lead a healthy lifestyle has to skimp on cholesterol and saturated fat in order to live a healthy life, and this is even more important for those who suffer from high blood pressure (22).
There are several ways to maintain a healthy diet:
- A food diary. A diary where you write down what you eat and when you eat it is always a good idea. This is one really efficient way of showing you your eating habits. If you manage to monitor what you eat and when you eat it, you will find the mistakes you make in your current diet and improve.
- Avoid purchasing unhealthy food. In other words, shop smart! When in the supermarket, always take the time to read food labels and choose appropriate, healthy food for you and your family. This is something you can do when you eat outside, too.
- Work on boosting potassium levels. Potassium is known to be an effective method in lessening the effect sodium has on your blood pressure (23). This, of course, can be found in food such as foods and vegetables.
- Make a list.
In order to help you with this process, we’ve created a list of things you could consume in order to maintain a healthy diet.
Tip: A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and fruit can significantly reduce blood pressure. Consuming lean protein is also essential to avoid cholesterol and saturated fat intake. It’s also important to eat high potassium foods, which helps to lower blood pressure. Many plant-based foods are high in potassium. The DASH diet is a great resource for eating guidance to lower blood pressure.
Herbs and Supplements list
If you are interested in introducing natural ways to lower blood pressure, herbs and supplements are the right choices. Just remember to consult your doctor prior to deciding on a whole herb or a supplement to use. Herbs are healthy, but if taken in large quantities may produce some undesirable side effects.
This delicious herb is used in most meals, but the taste is not its only advantage. Basil is known to help people lower blood pressure (24). You could easily add this ingredient to your diet and enjoy eating it. You may even try keeping basil into your garden and eat fresh basil with pasta, salads, casseroles, and soups.
Cinnamon is yet another tasty ingredient that you can use to lower blood pressure (25) but might require some little effort if you are trying to include it in your diet. Try including this in your diet by placing a bit of it on your cereal, in your coffee, or your oatmeal. Additionally, you can use it in stir-fries, stews, and curries as a flavor enhancer.
This seed, rich in omega-3 fatty acid, has shown to greatly lower blood pressure (26). Additionally, it reduces serum cholesterol (27), acts as an antioxidant and protects people against atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (28). You could add it to your diet by stirring it to soups, smoothies, and baked goods.
Garlic lowers the blood pressure by causing blood vessels to dilate and the blood to flow more freely (29). Luckily, this food can be added to many of the meals you are consuming daily. If you find its flavor and smell too strong, you could roast it or use a garlic supplement instead.
Ginger improves blood circulation (30), controls blood pressure (31), and relaxes the muscles that surround the blood vessels (32). It is originally used in Asian foods but becomes more often used in all cuisines worldwide now. This ingredient can also be used in beverages and even sweets.
6. Celery Seed
If you are considering natural remedies for high blood pressure, celery seed is an effective choice (33). You could use this herb in soups, casseroles, stews, and many other dishes. You could also juice the whole plant or simply use its seeds to lower the blood pressure. This herb is actually a diuretic.
Tip: Many herbs and spices can help to lower blood pressure. They include: basil, cinnamon, flaxseed, garlic, ginger, and celery seed. Basil and garlic go well in Italian dishes, soup, or salads. Ginger and cinnamon are often used in baking, or even go well on top of oatmeal or mixed into smoothies. Flaxseed can also be easily added to smoothies or oatmeal. Celery seed is great for casseroles, stews, or soups.
There are certain foods that help lower blood pressure. Sodium has always proven to be the worst enemy of blood pressure (34, 35), so changing your daily diet is probably a good idea if you are suffering from high blood pressure. Foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium, magnesium, or calcium are the right choice here.
1. White Beans
White beans include all three needed ingredients your body needs: calcium, magnesium, and potassium (36). A single cup of white beans contains 13% of calcium, 24% of potassium, and 30% of magnesium. You can use white beans in soups, entrees, and even side dishes.
2. Pork Tenderloin
A healthy diet means eating diverse food, not only fruits and vegetables, so if you thought you would have to forget about meat, you were wrong.
The pork contains two out of the three key ingredients for high blood pressure treatment: magnesium and potassium (37). The recommended daily dosage is three ounces of pork tenderloin, which contain 15% potassium and 6% magnesium.
Your diet should contain one cup of fat-free, plain yogurt that will help you consume 49% of the needed calcium, 18% potassium, and 12% magnesium (38).
A single kiwifruit provides you with a part of your daily dosage of calcium (2%), magnesium (7%), and potassium (9%) (39). Additionally, kiwi is known to contain great amounts of vitamin C (40), even bigger than found in the same-size serving of orange.
A medium-sized nectarine will provide you with 1% calcium, 8% potassium, and 3% magnesium of the needed daily dosage (41). If there are no fresh peaches or nectarines available, you could also use frozen unsweetened slices as an effective alternative.
A single banana will give you 12% potassium, 1% calcium, and 8% magnesium to fill your recommended daily dosage (42).
If you consume one cup of kale, whether cooked or raw, it will provide you with 9% of both calcium and potassium and 6% of the daily recommended dosage of magnesium (43). It is a food that is low in calories and contains antioxidants that protect the cells (44). You could use daily kale leaves for salads.
An avocado contains 2% of calcium, 5% of magnesium, and 10% of the potassium your body needs daily (45). This fruit does not only contain pressure-soothing minerals but also health-promoting carotenoids (46).
A cup of cooked broccoli will provide you with 6% calcium, 8% magnesium, and 14% potassium of your daily needed dosage (47). This veggie also contains glucosinolates, which are considered cancer-fighting phytonutrients (48).
Tip: Choose foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. White beans, pork tenderloin, yogurt, kiwi, nectarines, bananas, kale, avocado, and broccoli meet this criteria. Add white beans to soups, stews, or puree into a bean dip. Eat pork tenderloin with a side of steamed broccoli for dinner. Add banana, yogurt, kale, and avocado to smoothies, and snack on kiwi or nectarines.
5. Reduce Sodium Consumption
You can improve your blood pressure and your health even by a small reduction in sodium consumption. The effect sodium has on blood pressure can be devastating and people consume grand amounts of it daily. The right dosage of sodium intake daily should be 2300 mg a day or for some people 1500 mg or even less (49). This depends on the salt sensitivity of the individual. African-Americans, people at the age of 51+, or people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease are considered members of the salt sensitivity group (50).
If you decide on decreasing sodium levels and leading a healthy life, try:
- Choosing foods and beverages that are low in sodium
- Avoid eating processed foods
- Avoid eating big amounts of salt
Try to implement these steps into your diet gradually. There is no need for a drastic change, especially because your body will need some time to adjust to any new diet you are starting.
Tip: Sodium intake ranges from 1,500 mg – 2,300 mg per day. Talk to your doctor to decide which amount is right for you. Reduce sodium intake by swapping salt with flavorful herbs and spices, avoiding processed foods, and reading food labels. Make gradual changes, and remember the body still needs some sodium, so completely cutting it out may not be the best option.
6. Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is not primarily bad for your health. A single glass of wine with your lunch can actually improve your overall health, but consuming big amounts of alcohol can increase your blood pressure (51, 52).
If you drink alcohol in small, accepted amounts, you can lower the blood pressure. On the other hand, if you drink too much, you could actually raise it by several points. Excessive drinking will also reduce the effectiveness of all other methods you are implementing in order to decrease blood pressure, especially the effectiveness of medications.
Tip: Alcohol in moderation is healthy. A glass of wine at dinner may benefit heart health, but consuming alcohol in large amounts can increase blood pressure. Keep track of how much you are drinking, and aim for 1-2 servings or less per day.
If you are having medical issues and wonder how to lower blood pressure naturally, get informed of the many natural ways to lower blood pressure. You may be surprised at how much you can actually do to improve your health and overall well-being.