Learning how to lower blood pressure naturally is simple. But to naturally lower blood pressure takes commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Why should you bother?
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for:
- Heart Attack,
- Kidney Damage,
- Hardening of Arteries,
- Congestive Heart Failure,
- Impaired Vision and Blindness.
And since high blood pressure medications have serious side effects, it makes good sense to learn how to lower blood pressure naturally. And, you can start right now with these seven steps to lower blood pressure.
How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally in Seven Steps
1. Eat a healthy diet. To eat for health replace unhealthy food with healthy high fiber foods, like vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains. Eat good quality protein from low-fat dairy, lean poultry and cold water fish, such as salmon. Add heart healthy supplements that include vitamin D, balanced minerals with potassium and omega 3 fish oil capsules.
2. Reduce salt intake. Studies show you can lower blood pressure naturally by daily cutting back on sodium to between 1,500 and 2,400 mg (1.5 to 2.4 grams) – that’s less than half the average intake. But this requires more than just going easy on the saltshaker, which amounts to only about 15% of salt intake. Most sodium is found in restaurant and processed foods.
3. Get daily exercise. Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to lower blood pressure naturally. Just thirty minutes a day of regular moderate exercise can also help you lose weight, manage stress and reduce your overall risk of heart disease.
4. Lose some weight. Of course healthy permanent weight loss and being at your optimum weight would be ideal, but research shows that losing as little as 8 to 10 pounds can lower blood pressure in most people.
5. If you smoke, quit. The nicotine in all tobacco products raises blood pressure, injures blood vessels and significantly contributes to hardening of the arteries and heart disease. However, once you quit, your heart attack and other smoking health risks are reduced after just one year.
6. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol raises blood pressure in most people. It can also damage your heart, brain and liver. Alcoholic drinks also contain calories and can interfere with weight loss. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation – one drink a day for women, two daily drinks for men.
7. Learn how to relax. Stress consequences of prolonged stress include high blood pressure. Daily relaxation techniques, like meditation or just learning to let go of distressing thoughts, can lower blood pressure significantly. After all, nothing’s worth worrying yourself to death!
Guidelines for Lower Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is read systolic over diastolic, for example120 over 80 or 120/80. Systolic measures when blood vessel walls contract and diastolic measures when the walls relax. Here are the latest guidelines.
- Normal: Systolic less than 120 / Diastolic less than 80
- Prehypertension: Systolic 120-139 / Diastolic 80-89
- Stage one hypertension: Systolic 140-159 / Diastolic 90-99
- Stage two hypertension: Systolic 160 + / Diastolic 100 +
Shoot for readings below 120/80. The lower your blood pressure, without you feeling faint when you stand up, the better off you’ll be. But even lowering your numbers by just a couple of points can help.
Learning how to lower blood pressure naturally can greatly decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, Alzheimer’s and suffering from the side effects of hypertension medications.
Appel LJ, et al. American Heart Association. Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension 2006;47:296.
Sacks FM, Svetkey LP, Vollmer WM, et al. New England Journal of Medicine. Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. DASH-Sodium Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med 2001; 344:3-10.
Zilkens, R. Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association. Effects of alcohol consumption on triglycerides and blood pressure. JAMA May 2005;vol 45:pp 1-6.
Lopez L, et al. American Journal of Hypertension. Lifestyle modification counseling for hypertensive patients: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Am J Hypertens 2009;22:325.
Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, et al. New England Journal of Medicine. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med 1997; 336:1117-24.
Cook NR, Cutler JA, Obarzanek E, et al. British Medical Journal. Long term effects of dietary sodium reduction on cardiovascular disease outcomes: observational follow-up of the trials of hypertension prevention (TOHP). BMJ. 2007; 334:885-8.
Neel JV, Weder AB, Julius S. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. Type II diabetes, essential hypertension, and obesity as “syndromes of impaired genetic homeostasis”: the “thrifty genotype” hypothesis enters the 21st century. Perspect Biol Med 1998;42:44–74.
Bondia-Pons I, Schroder H, Covas MI et al. The Journal of Nutrition. Moderate consumption of olive oil by healthy European men reduces systolic blood pressure. J Nutr 2007 Jan;137(1):84-87. PMID:17182805.
Appel L, Sacks F, Carey V, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. Effects of protein, monounsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intake on blood pressure and serum lipids: results of the OmniHeart randomized trial. JAMA 2005;294:2455-64
Villegas R, et al. Bio Med Central Public Health. The cumulative effect of core lifestyle behaviours on the prevalence of hypertension and dyslipidemia. BMC Public Health 2008;8:210.