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February 24, 2022

15 natural ways to lower blood pressure

Natural ways to lower blood pressure-High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the United States and 1 billion people worldwide (1Trusted Source2).

If left unchecked, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

But there is good news. There are several things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication.

Here are 15 natural ways to fight high blood pressure.

1. Walk and exercise regularly

natural ways to lower blood pressure

Share on PinterestRegular exercise can help lower your blood pressure.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure.

Regular exercise strengthens the heart and pumps blood more efficiently, reducing pressure in the arteries.

In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, such as running, per week, can help lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health (3Trusted Source4Trusted Source).

What’s more, exercising more than this lowers your blood pressure even further, according to the National Pedestrian Health Study (5Trusted Source).

The bottom line: Just walking for 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. More exercise will help reduce it further.

2. Reduce your sodium intake

Salt consumption is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and processed foods.

For this reason, many public health efforts aim to reduce salt in the food industry (6Trusted Source).

Many studies have linked high salt intake with high blood pressure and heart events, including stroke (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

However, more recent studies indicate that the relationship between sodium and high blood pressure is less clear (9Trusted Source, 10).

One reason for this could be genetic differences in how people process sodium. About half of people with high blood pressure and a quarter of people with normal levels appear to be salt sensitive (11Trusted Source).

If you already have high blood pressure, you should cut back on your sodium intake to see if it makes a difference. Swap processed foods for fresh foods and try seasoning them with herbs and spices rather than salt..

The bottom line: Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend reducing sodium intake. However, that recommendation may make the most sense for people who are sensitive to salt

3. Drink less alcohol

Drinking alcohol can increase blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of cases of high blood pressure around the world (12Trusted Source).

While some studies have suggested that low to moderate alcohol intake may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by side effects (12Trusted Source).

In the United States, moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. If you drink more than that, cut back.

The bottom line: Drinking alcohol in any amount can raise your blood pressure. Limit your alcohol intake according to the recommendations.

4. Eat more potassium-rich foods

Potassium is an important mineral.

It helps your body get rid of sodium and relieves pressure on your blood vessels.

The modern diet has increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake (13Trusted Source).

To get a better balance between potassium and sodium in your diet, focus on eating less processed foods and more fresh foods.

Foods that are particularly high in potassium include:

  • vegetables, especially greens, tomatoes, potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges and apricots
  • milk, such as milk and yogurt
  • tuna and salmon
  • nuts and seeds
  • bean

The bottom line: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.

5. Cut down on caffeine

If you’ve ever had a cup of coffee before taking your blood pressure, you know that caffeine raises blood pressure instantly.

However, there’s not much evidence to suggest that regular caffeine intake can cause a long-term increase (14Trusted Source).

In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a reduced risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, compared with those who don’t (15Trusted Source16Trusted Source17Trusted Source18Trusted Source).

Caffeine may have stronger effects for people who don’t consume it regularly (19).

If you suspect you’re sensitive to caffeine, reconsider to see if it lowers your blood pressure (20Trusted Source).

Bottom line: Caffeine can cause a short-term increase in blood pressure, although for many people it does not cause a long-term increase.

6. Learn how to manage stress

natural ways to lower blood pressure2

When you are under chronic stress, your body is in constant fight or flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels.

When you’re stressed, you’re also more likely to engage in other behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or eating unhealthy foods that can adversely affect blood pressure.

Several studies have explored 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 adjunct to other blood pressure therapies (21Trusted Source22Trusted Source).
  • Work less: Long hours and stressful work situations are generally linked to high blood pressure (23Trusted Source24Trusted Source).

The bottom line: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress can be helpful.

7. Eat dark chocolate or cocoa

Here’s a piece of advice that you can really draw on.

While eating large amounts of dark chocolate may not help your heart, a small amount can.

That’s because dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, which are plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate (25Trusted Source).

A review of studies found that flavonoid-rich cocoa improved several markers of heart health in the short term, including lowering blood pressure (25Trusted Source).

For the strongest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is exceptionally high in flavonoids and has no added sugar.

Bottom Line: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds that relax blood vessels, reducing blood pressure.

8. Lose weight

In people who are overweight, losing weight can make a big difference to heart health.

According to a 2016 study, losing 5% of body mass can significantly reduce high blood pressure (26Trusted Source).

In previous studies, a loss of 17.64 pounds (8 kg) was associated with a reduction in systolic blood pressure of 8.5 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 6.5 mm Hg (27Trusted Source).

Simply put, a healthy reading should be less than 120/80 mm (4Trusted Source).

The effect is even greater when weight loss is combined with exercise (27Trusted Source).

Losing weight can help your blood vessels expand and contract better, making it easier for the left ventricle of your heart to pump blood.

The bottom line: Losing weight can significantly reduce high blood pressure. This effect is even more significant when you exercise

9. Quit smoking

Among the many reasons to quit smoking is that the habit is a high risk factor for heart disease.

Each puff of cigarette smoke causes a temporary slight increase in blood pressure. The chemicals in cigarettes are also known to damage blood vessels.

Surprisingly, studies have not found an exact link between smoking and high blood pressure. Perhaps this is because smokers develop tolerance over time (28Trusted Source).

However, because both smoking and high blood pressure increase the risk of heart disease, quitting smoking can help reduce that risk.

The bottom line: There are conflicting studies on smoking and high blood pressure, but what is clear is that both increase the risk of heart disease.

10. Cut down on added sugar and refined carbs

More and more studies are showing a link between added sugars and high blood pressure (29Trusted Source3031).

In the Framingham Women’s Health Study, women who drank even one can of soft drink per day had higher levels than those who drank less than one soft drink per day (32Trusted Source).

Another study found that drinking one lower-sugar beverage per day was associated with a reduction in blood pressure (33Trusted Source).

And it’s not just sugar – all refined carbs, such as those found in white flour – convert quickly into your blood sugar and can cause problems.

Some studies have shown that a low-carb diet can also help lower blood pressure.

One study of people on statin therapy found that those who followed a carb-restricted diet for 6 weeks saw greater improvements in blood pressure and other heart disease markers than those who did not. carbs (34Trusted Source).

The bottom line: Refined carbs, especially sugar, can raise blood pressure. Several studies have shown that a low-carb diet can help reduce blood sugar levels

11. Eat berries

Berries don’t just taste juicy.

They’re also high in polyphenols, natural plant compounds that are good for your heart.

Polyphenols may reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as improve blood pressure, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation (34).

One study assigned people with high blood pressure to either a low-polyphenol diet or a high-polyphenol diet containing berries, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables (35).

People who consumed berries and foods rich in polyphenols had improved markers of heart disease risk.

Bottom Line: Berries are rich in polyphenols, which may help reduce blood pressure and overall heart disease risk

12. Try meditation or deep breathing

While these two behaviors can also fall under “stress techniques,” meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention.

Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system works when the body is relaxed, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

There’s quite a bit of research in this area, with studies showing that different styles of meditation appear to be beneficial for lowering blood pressure (36Trusted Source37Trusted Source).

Deep breathing techniques can also be quite effective.

In one study, participants were asked to take 6 deep breaths for 30 seconds or simply sit still for 30 seconds. People who breathe have lower blood pressure than those who just sit (38Trusted Source).

Try guided meditation or deep breathing. Here’s a video to get you started.

The bottom line: Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.

13. Eat foods rich in calcium

People with low calcium levels often have high blood pressure.

Although calcium supplements have not been shown to lower blood pressure, a diet rich in calcium seems to be associated with healthy levels (39Trusted Source40Trusted Source).

For most adults, the calcium recommendation is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day. For women over 50 and men over 70, that’s 1,200 mg per day (41).

In addition to milk, you can get calcium from broccoli and other green leafy vegetables, beans, sardines, and tofu.  Below is a list of calcium-rich plant-based foods.

Bottom Line: Diets rich in calcium are associated with healthy blood pressure levels. You can get calcium through eating dark green vegetables and tofu, as well as milk.

14. Drink natural supplements

Some natural supplements can also help lower blood pressure. Here are some key supplements that have evidence behind them:

  • Aged garlic extract: Researchers have successfully used aged garlic extract as a standalone treatment and alongside conventional therapies to lower blood pressure (42Trusted Source43Trusted Source).
  • Berberine: Traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, berberine may increase nitric oxide production, which helps lower blood pressure (44Trusted Source45Trusted Source).
  • Whey protein: A 2016 study found that whey protein improved blood pressure and blood vessel function in 38 participants (46Trusted Source).
  • Fish oil: Long thought to improve heart health, fish oil may be most beneficial for people with high blood pressure (47Trusted Source48).
  • Hibiscus flowers: Hibiscus flowers make a delicious tea. They’re rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols that are good for your heart and may lower blood pressure (49Trusted Source).

Read more about supplements for high blood pressure here.

The bottom line: Researchers have studied several natural supplements that help lower blood pressure.

15. Eat foods rich in magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps blood vessels relax.

Although magnesium deficiency is quite rare, many people still don’t get enough.

Some studies have suggested that too little magnesium intake is associated with high blood pressure, but the evidence from clinical studies is less clear (50Trusted Source51Trusted Source).

However, eating a magnesium-rich diet is a recommended way to prevent high blood pressure (51Trusted Source).

You can incorporate magnesium into your diet by consuming vegetables, dairy products, legumes, chicken, meat, and whole grains.

Bottom Line: Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Find it in whole foods, such as legumes and whole grains

Get a message home.

High blood pressure affects a large percentage of the world’s population.

While medication is one way to treat this condition, there are many other natural techniques, including eating certain foods, that can help.

Read more about foods that help lower blood pressure here.

Controlling your blood pressure through the methods in this article can ultimately help you reduce your risk of heart disease.

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Originally posted 2021-10-25 12:02:53.

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