High blood pressure or hypertension is responsible for almost 15% of premature deaths in the United States. This silent killer comes with no clear symptoms, but is a major contributing factor in several other problems such as kidney failure, heart attack, strokes, cognitive decline and even aneurysms. Sometimes people suffering from high blood pressure are not even aware of it. Therefore, if you haven’t gotten your blood pressure checked in a while it is a good idea to see a doctor. There are several natural ways to lower blood pressure which involve altering your diet and lifestyle and often work better than medication.
If you want to learn how to lower your blood pressure you must understand first that there are several things which contribute towards elevating your blood pressure. These include; stress lack of physical activity ad poor dietary choices. Therefore, often blood pressure medicine alone doesn’t get the desired results. It may lower your blood pressure but the results are temporary and the medicines might give you side-effects such as leg cramps, dizziness and sometimes even insomnia. Fortunately, there are natural ways to lower your blood pressure and they give you better results in the long run. We have put together 15 ways to naturally lower your blood pressure, which are very beneficial.
“High blood pressure or hypertension is responsible for almost 15% of premature deaths in the United States. This silent killer comes with no clear symptoms, but is a major contributing factor in several other problems such as kidney failure, heart attack, strokes, cognitive decline and even aneurysms.”
15. Become Active
High blood pressure is a mismatch between our genes and our current lifestyles. Those who live in villages or mountainous regions are less likely to suffer from hypertension than those following urban lifestyles. You can bring down your blood pressure significantly by being active for 30 minutes a day. If you have been already diagnosed with hypertension and are taking medications you can bring down the number of medications you are taking within a span of one to two months of regular exercising. Exercise increases supply of oxygen to your heart, so your heart doesn’t have to work too hard to supply blood to the whole body; thus, reducing the strain on it.
- Doing any form of aerobic for 30 minutes a day can increase your oxygen supply and lower your blood pressure. You can go for swimming, walking, running, cycling or even join a 30 minute class at a gym
- Power walks- are an excellent way to lower your blood pressure. You walk at a brisk pace, and eventually you will build up on your endurance. It is a great way to start if you are not in the best of shape. Just keep on challenging yourself, as your endurance and stamina improves increase your speed and the distance you cover in 30 minutes.
14. Breathe Deeply
Slow focused breathing not only increases the levels of oxygen in our body it also busts the stress hormones. These hormones elevate the levels of renins in our body, which is an enzyme produced by our kidneys. This results in effecting our kidney functions and also increases our blood pressure. Poor kidney function leads to problems such as high levels of uric acid as our kidneys are unable to flush out the toxins from our system, one of its primary functions. Yoga trainers and practitioners always emphasize a lot on deep breathing, and say it is the key to a calm body and mind. If you have never tried meditating or any other breathing exercises, just start with five minutes a day.
- You can try qigong yoga or tai chai poses which are great for de stressing
- When trying deep breathing, breathe in through your nose, let the oxygen fill in your lungs and let the air reach your stomach. Then exhale slowly with your eyes closed.
- You can try deep breathing anytime and anywhere, you can even try it during a stressful work day. Just give yourself a five minute break and you will feel stress free and much more energized afterwards.
13. Pack On Potassium
Coming to the dietary side, when looking for high blood pressure remedies; potassium is one of your best friends. Pack on foods that are rich in potassium. Some of these include potatoes, kidney beans, honey dew melon, peas, tomatoes, dry fruits such as prunes and raisins.
- When trying to lower blood pressure aim for at least 2000 to 4000 mg a day of potassium.
- You can do this by adding a potato and apple salad to your daily meals
- Kidney beans, both red and white are rich in fiber, potassium and also aid in weight loss while keeping your blood pressure in check
- Instead of processed foods or chips try snacking on dried prunes.
12. Indulge On Dark Chocolate
A bar of chocolate isn’t just a treat for your valentine anymore; it can be a boon to your body and just another natural way to lower your blood pressure. Now we aren’t talking about any chocolate here but the dark variety with at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate contain flavonoids which increase the elasticity of your blood vessels due to the high content of cocoa beans in it. Recently, a lot of research has been done on dark chocolate and the way compounds present in it interact with our bodies’ systems from stomach to our heart. Cardiologists and nutritionists recommend including a little dark chocolate in your diet daily, especially if you are watching your heart and trying to shed a few pounds.
- Several studies have concluded that a small amount of dark chocolate taken daily keeps the blood from clotting, keeps the heart healthy and can fight cancer forming tumors
- In one study 18% of the patients who had dark chocolate in small amounts on a daily basis saw significant decrease in their blood pressure over time
- This doesn’t mean you have that whole bar in one go, having about ½ an ounce every day does the trick.
“A bar of chocolate isn’t just a treat for your valentine anymore; it can be a boon to your body and just another natural way to lower your blood pressure. Now we aren’t talking about any chocolate here but the dark variety with at least 70% cocoa.”
11. Take Supplements
Research has shown that several supplements have proven to be quite effective when trying to lower your blood pressure. The results might be a bit slow, but controlled diet, altered lifestyle and adding some supplements is actually the best way to lower blood pressure and much more effective that blood pressure treatment. Some of the supplements you should consider and discuss with your doctor are:
- CoQ10 or Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant which plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy heart. This is produced naturally in our bodies and levels of coQ10 go down with age and diseases such as high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses which cause oxidative stress. The supplement are fat-soluble and 100-299 mg taken per day with meals reduce absorption of fat from food and significantly help blood pressure patients
- Garlic supplement has a modest but noteworthy impact on blood pressure. It is ideal to look for a supplement which gives 10,000 units of allicin, this is the amount of allicin found in 4 cloves of garlic. Garlic supplement have also proven to be quite significant in lowering cholesterol levels and are widely recommended by cardiologists for the health of your heart
- Vitamin C supplements are another way to lower blood pressure naturally. They work by improving arterial system, thus making it easier for the blood to flow freely throughout our body and reducing the stress on our heart.
- Potassium is found in starchy foods such as potatoes, bananas, fish and sweet potato; however if you are on a low-carb diet this may lead to potassium deficiency. In such cases it is ideal to go for a potassium supplement.
- It can be very difficult to eat so many supplements in a day, look for multivitamin supplement which are also rich in minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and go for the maximum strength you can find.
10. Have (A Little) Alcohol
Recently a lot of studies have been telling of the advantages of moderate drinking. Combine it with social drinking and you take it up another notch. High levels of alcohol are clearly harmful and unfavorable, but what we are talking about here is one-quarter to one-half a drink every day.
- A recent study done at Harvard’s School of Public Health announced that alcohol consumed in moderation raises the levels of good cholesterol or HDL, thus giving a boost to your heart.
- Both beer and vine are rich in ‘Phenol’, an antioxidant.
- Moderate amount of alcohol also increases our sensitivity towards insulin which prevents blood from clotting.
9. Watch Your Caffeine Intake
Yes, caffeine opens up your eyes and gives you a certain buzz but did you know caffeine does this by tightening your blood vessels. As there is more stress on the blood vessels the heart starts pumping blood vigorously. This can at times elevate mental stress as well and your heart is also affected in the process, as it is beating faster than the normal pace. This as a result raises your blood pressure. A number of studies have been done on the subject, and most of the doctors believe that the amount of caffeine present in about 3 cups of coffee which is about 100-125 mg is enough to raise your blood pressure 4mmhg. So what to do?
- Decaf coffee which has lesser amount of caffeine is now commonly available
- Another new thing in the market is green coffee, a lot of people are not aware of this but brands like Nescafe have introduced this alternative for coffee lover who are looking for ways to lower blood pressure.
8. Take-Up Tea
In the past few years, researchers have come up with a number of advantages of having tea. Tea is an excellent way to lose weight, boost your metabolism, get some energy, cut down your cholesterol and even lower blood pressure. The amount of caffeine in teas such as green tea or black tea is much lower than coffee, but just enough to make you feel energized. If you have been a coffee drinker it might be a bit difficult to switch to tea in the beginning, but once you get used to it you would never want to switch back. Think about all the calories you will be cutting out and there are a number of teas which you can enjoy as iced tea as well on hot summery days.
- Hibiscus tea and Chamomile tea are particularly beneficial for hypertension patients. Add some lemon juice and honey for extra flavor. Chamomile tea is also an excellent stress buster.
- Another option is green tea. It detoxifies, cuts cholesterol, boosts metabolism and naturally lowers blood pressure.
7. Cut Out Salt
Did you know that some people are more sensitive to salt sensitive and their chances of getting high blood pressure readings are much likely than others? They are elderly, African Americans and people with a family history of high blood pressure. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if you are sodium sensitive; therefore, doctors recommend everyone cuts down on their salt intake. Doctors recommend you cut down your salt intake to about 1,500 mg a day which is half of what an average American consumes on a daily basis. Also did you know higher levels of sodium also prove to be a barricade against weight loss? To cut out the salt here’s what you should do
- Your biggest enemy is the processed foods, particularly chips, processed nuts and fast food. Cut down on these and when buying any processed food read the labels carefully for percentage of salt in them.
- Remove the salt shaker from your dining area. The salt we sprinkle on salads and eggs without even realizing makes its impacts in the long run
- Some companies are now producing salt with lower levels of sodium; make sure to get that on your next trip to the grocery store.
6. Go Bananas
Bananas have become favorite food of nutritionists and weight gurus. They are often included in a number of diets due to their extraordinary benefits. They are good source of energy, excellent for bone health, help in preventing osteoporosis and even one of the natural ways to lower blood pressure! Bananas are a rich source of potassium. As you already know you are supposed to cut down on sodium, did you know potassium has the ability to counter act the ill effects of sodium? Most of us are already low on potassium, so what are you waiting for go bananas.
- Banana contains 422 mg of potassium, combine it with a cup of low-fat yogurt (approximately 550 mg of potassium) and you have your potassium packed smoothie ready
- You could add slices of bananas to your cereal or pancakes
- They are a great option for a midday snack.
“If not always, but often people suffering from hypertension are overweight, the reason is simple the more weight you carry, the more work your heart has to do. As a result the constant strenuous cardiovascular load your heart is affected as it has difficulty in pumping blood to all your organs.”
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking is bad for you in so many ways; it raises cholesterol, damages lungs, oxidizes other organs, speeds ageing, gives you bad teeth & breathe and may also give you high blood pressure. The nicotine in cigarettes causes spikes in blood pressure and is not a root cause of hypertension, but its side effects lead towards it.
- It kills your stamina, chain smokers often feel lethargic and are not able to exercise
- Factors associated with smoking such as alcoholism and stress go hand in hand with high blood pressure
- There are numerous other health benefits of quitting smoking too.
4. Lose Weight
If not always, but often people suffering from hypertension are overweight, the reason is simple the more weight you carry, the more work your heart has to do. As a result the constant strenuous cardiovascular load your heart is affected as it has difficulty in pumping blood to all your organs. A number of researches have shown that losing weight has a positive effect on your blood pressure.
- First check your BMI and see how much you need to lose in order to be a healthy weight for your age and height
- Remember, losing weight means altering your whole lifestyle. It is a combination of balanced diet and some sort of activity.
- Chose an activity that you will enjoy or you can chose multiple activities for different days of the week.
- Remember, to set realistic goals which will be easier to stick to.
Managing every day stress is the key to managing your blood pressure. Often we are so busy in our daily activities that we are simply unable to take out anytime for relaxation. Distressing can mean different things for different people. I can’t emphasize enough on the power of meditation, but what works for me might not work for you. But I will really stress that if you haven’t tried it do give meditation a thought, it is one of the best ways to calm your mind.
- Some people keep stress balls with them these are small rubbery balls which you can press in your palms and you feel relaxed.
- Studies conducted in Italy have found people who listened to classical tunes were able to lower their blood pressure significantly
- Looking at greenery and breathing fresh air also help, another reason to become active and hit the park every morning.
2. Work A Little Less
One of the downside of modern lives is longer working hours. We are working even after we are home and on the weekends, thanks to clients and associates in different time zones and our mobile phones which efficiently let us know about every important email. Of course there are times when you need to take a just-in-time decision, but when this is not the case work a little less. Don’t take your work home and don’t work on the weekends. Create a balance between work and life.
- It’s a good idea to have a to-do list, it helps you organize and prioritize
- Create one at the end of each day, so you are prepared for the next day
- Keep on checking the tasks you have achieved out and this will reduce some of the stress and help you in lowering blood pressure for sure.
1. Start Practicing Yoga
Have you ever noticed how calm and content people who regularly practice yoga usually are? This is because yoga poses or ‘asans’ are designed to stretch your muscles as you breath deep. Deep breathing provides oxygen to your body. Focusing helps you forget about the mental stress and all the stretching relaxes your muscles. There are specific yoga poses which focus on breathing and de-stressing. We recommend yoga particularly because it is one of the best ways to distress, and it has been clearly established that stress is a major cause of high blood pressure. There are other health benefits of yoga too.
- It is also ideal if you are not in the best of physical shape, as yoga ‘asans’ start from very basic poses and you can slowly build the practice up as you become more flexible.
- Yogic breathing has positive effects on the autonomic nervous system, which controls the unconscious functions such as heart rate, digestion etc.
A Few More Pointers for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
We have given you some natural ways to lower blood pressure. Incorporate as many of them as you can of these high blood pressure remedies and you will see long lasting benefits. Remember,
- High blood pressure is a silent killer
- Make sure you get yourself checked regularly, especially if you have a family history of high blood pressure
- It can be easily controlled by distressing, eating healthy and staying active
- Some researchers also suggest switching to soy protein
- A lot of sleep apnea patients can also have high blood pressure, so if you snore seek help for it
- Be more aware of physiological changes in your body, and become conscious of the biofeedback your body gives you. Mild to moderately high blood pressure starts with headaches.