Natural Ways to Lower your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is not something to ignore, but there are options aside from medications to bring your numbers down. A healthy lifestyle is a fundamental part of treating high blood pressure and can prevent, delay or reduce the need for medication.

High blood pressure increases the likelihood of heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline and kidney failure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cite high blood pressure (above 130/80 mmHg) as a contributing cause of death for nearly 670,000 people in 2020.

The CDC also reports that only 24% of those with high blood pressure have it under control. Although it’s important to take any prescribed medication, there are natural ways to lower blood pressure.

Eat a DASH diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is a healthy eating plan developed to lower blood pressure without medication. It emphasizes veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy, keeping daily sodium at 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg.

Research shows DASH can reduce blood pressure in just four weeks and aid weight loss.

Lose weight

It’s not easy, but it can make an impact. Studies at the Mayo Clinic found that men are at higher risk for hypertension with waist circumferences larger than 40 inches, while women are at greater risk higher than 35 inches.

Exercise

Regular exercise is effective at lowering blood pressure and helping with weight loss. A meta-analysis of hundreds of studies found that regular exercise can be as effective as commonly used medicines at lowering blood pressure.

Aim for 30 minutes of cardio five days a week. Just start slow if you are not exercising now.

Relax

Our bodies release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline when stressed. These can raise your heart rate and cause blood pressure to spike. Even just five minutes of meditation, yoga or tai chi can help keep your blood pressure in check.

Cut salt

The American Heart Association recommends only 1,500 mg of sodium per day (less than a teaspoon) to 2,300 mg.

Drink sensibly

Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, but just a little may actually do the opposite.

A study of 30,000 women linked one drink or fewer per day (5 to 12 ounces) to a lower risk for hypertension.

Eat protein

Replace refined carbohydrates with foods high in soy or milk protein, like tofu and low-fat dairy. This can bring down systolic blood pressure in people with hypertension. Refined carbohydrates can lead to inflammation, leading to high blood pressure.

Even following all of the above, you may still have elevated blood pressure. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe medication. But don’t fret, medication can help up front, and you may be able to back off when ready.