The Best Ways To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

May 31, 2021

The Best Ways To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Throughout the entire day, your blood pressure will rise and fall. However, if your blood pressure is consistently high, this could potentially damage your blood vessels and heart. This condition is known as high blood pressure or hypertension. [1


Hypertension is a dangerous medical condition because most people do not realize they have it until it’s too late. In fact, in 2018, hypertension was the primary cause of death for more than 494,873 people in the United States! [1


If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, many beneficial lifestyle modifications can be carried out to reduce your blood pressure. Of course, you must take your medications according to your doctor’s instructions. In addition to that, these lifestyle tips may further help in bringing your blood pressure level down to optimal measurements. 


To ensure your heart is healthy, let’s look at the best ways to lower your blood pressure naturally!


Increase physical activity 

You might already understand the significance of physical activity and exercise in reducing your blood pressure. 


Unsurprisingly, researchers have conducted numerous studies over decades studying the effects of physical activity on blood pressure. These studies consistently demonstrate that reductions in blood pressure readings can improve cardiac function. [2,3]


The million-dollar question is this. How much exercise does the average adult require to stay fit and healthy? 


For adults aged 19 to 64, try to do some form of physical activity every day. To elaborate these recommendations further, you are encouraged to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of high-intensity workout per week. [4,5


Some examples of moderate-intensity activities include riding a bike, dancing, brisk walking, or pushing a lawnmower. On the other hand, vigorous activities include jogging or running, walking up the stairs, skipping rope, practicing martial arts or gymnastics, and swimming fast. [4


Try as best as you can to follow these recommendations. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle due to an office job or sit at a desk the entire day, break up prolonged periods of sitting with some form of movement and activity. [4


Lastly, you are encouraged to do muscle-strengthening exercises minimally two days a week. These activities will work all the major muscles, such as those in your legs, back, chest, hips, and arms. Some examples of muscle-strengthening exercises include lifting weights, working out with resistance bands, doing sit-ups or push-ups, yoga, taichi, and pilates. [4


The famous saying is, ‘no pain, no gain.’ It applies in this situation, but you can slowly get into the habit of being physically active. Simple activities such as gardening, performing house chores, using up the stairs instead of the elevator, or cycling to work instead of driving are great and practical ways to include physical activity in your everyday life if you have a packed schedule. [5

It is also beneficial to set achievable and realistic goals for yourself, so there’s no need to push yourself to do a full marathon at the very start. You can break your workout sessions into several shorter ones throughout the day. Plus, if you have any medical conditions, ask a trusted healthcare provider on how you can safely include physical activity into your daily routine without overexerting your body. [5


Eating right 

When trying to decrease your blood pressure, you cannot neglect your daily diet's crucial role in modifying your blood pressure. 


Multitudes of studies have established the role your diet plays in affecting blood pressure. The most concrete evidence to improve hypertension through dietary modification includes adopting certain diet types such as the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet. [6


DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and this is an eating plan recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). [7


According to this plan, you are encouraged to eat foods with minimal saturated fats and cholesterol and consume foods high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables. It would be best if you tried to increase your intake of whole grains, fatty fish like salmon, and nuts while decreasing your intake of soft drinks, red meats, and high-fat oily foods. [7


Another component of this diet is avoiding foods packed with salt and sodium and increasing foods high in potassium and magnesium. [7


Examples of foods high in sodium include smoked, cured salami and deli meats, canned foods and soups like beans, frozen dinners like pizza, and condiments like soy sauce or salad dressings. These are foods you should try to avoid as much as possible. [8

On the other hand, try to consume more foods high in potassium and magnesium, such as bananas, spinach, avocados, fresh tomatoes, and raisins. [9


It is undeniably challenging to change your diet completely, so there’s no need to modify everything all at once and drastically. Slowly cut down on your salt and sugar intake, purchase packaged foods that are lower in sodium, and gradually increase your intake of fibers and whole grains. 


Before all that, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional to find out if these diet modifications are safe for you if you are pregnant, have any medical conditions, or are taking any medications. 


Try to quit smoking 

Smoking cessation is the single most potent lifestyle modification that can prevent numerous cardiovascular diseases. In the long-term, the compounds and chemicals in cigarettes can damage and stiffen your blood vessels, which is detrimental to your heart’s health. [10]


Other than that, hypertensive smokers also risk developing more severe forms of hypertension. The more severe forms of hypertension include malignant hypertension, which is also known as a hypertensive emergency. It is categorized as a medical emergency as it can damage your internal organs rapidly. [10,11


Overall, smoking can cause massive damage to your heart. With that said, there is crystal-clear science-based reasoning behind why smoking cessation is exceptionally challenging. The nicotine in cigarettes is reported to be as addictive as cocaine or heroin. [12] However, if you want to quit smoking, there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success. 


First, you can set a date that will be your ‘quit day’. Preferably, this date falls within the next seven days, so you are less likely to talk yourself out of it. You can prepare for your quit day by getting rid of cigarettes and all smoking products in your home or getting some sugarless gums and mints ready. [13,14


Of course, you can garner the support of trusted family and friends who can keep you on track and give you encouragement throughout the journey. [13,14


Besides that, it is also a great idea to seek help from a pharmacist, doctor, or smoking cessation expert to determine if any medications will help you quit smoking. Some of these medications include nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion, and varenicline. [13


Lastly, many smoking cessation programs are provided in hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics to give you qualified advice on making the process smoother and more manageable and boosting your chances of success. [13


Limit your alcohol intake 

Alcohol in moderate amounts is unlikely to cause detrimental effects on your body. However, excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact your heart’s health! [15


Long-term alcohol intake in excessive amounts is a risk factor for high blood pressure, and if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor may have advised you to cut down on your alcohol intake. [16,17] Besides that, long-term heavy drinkers are more likely to develop a condition where their heart is enlarged, which is a serious and irreversible condition. [18


The American Heart Association has recommended that men have not more than two drinks per day, and women should not have more than one drink a day. An average can of beer and 4-5 ounces of wine is considered one standard drink, but this also depends on the percentage of alcohol content in the drink. [16,17]


If you wish to start cutting down on your alcohol intake, a few helpful tips might make the process smoother. The most valuable advice is to set goals that are realistic and achievable. These may be daily goals where you cut back on a little bit of alcohol each day. [18]  


Additionally, if you’re heading out to grab some drinks with friends, take a fixed amount of money with you as a budget, and let your friends and family know that you’re attempting to cut back on alcohol due to health reasons. Garnering the support of trusted friends and family is a practical way to amplify your chances of success. [18


Another great tip is to switch higher alcohol percentage drinks for lower strength ones and take several drink-free days weekly if you tend to consume alcohol daily. Lastly, drinking some plain water before drinking alcohol and alternating alcoholic drinks with drinks of plain water may help you control your alcohol intake each time. [18


Manage stress

In a world of impending deadlines, hundreds of work emails, and exhausting work shifts, stress has become a prevalent part of almost everyone's life. Studies have discovered that stress can indeed raise your blood pressure acutely, though it has yet to be directly linked to causing long-term hypertension. The mechanism behind these elevations in blood pressure is straightforward. [19,20,21]


When your body is under stress, it releases a surge of hormones that will cause your heart to pump faster and your blood vessels to constrict and become narrower. These hormones may damage your arteries and increase your chances of heart disease in the long run. [19,20


If you’re constantly battling stress, the American Heart Association suggests some practical tips that might help you. Firstly, you may want to give yourself more time to complete tasks. Try not to pack multitudes of jobs into a single day because that might place too much pressure on yourself. [22


Secondly, it also helps to reevaluate your priorities in your life and learn how to say ‘no.’ You might find that challenging at first, but your mental wellbeing might be at stake if you have too much on your to-do list. [22


It’s also a great idea to figure out your stress triggers and assess if you can minimize them. For example, you may wish to spend less time with constantly pessimistic people who love to bring others down. [22


In addition to that, find some time in the day to relax and unwind. Spend time developing meaningful and nurturing relationships with people who love and support you and encourage your growth. Practice gratitude whenever you can, and don’t forget to take time to do things that bring you fulfillment and satisfaction, such as a hobby or volunteering at a local shelter. [22


Try to get enough sleep

An occasional night with a lack of sleep may affect your mood or temper the next day but will likely not cause any permanent harm. However, if you spend consecutive nights of sleep deprivation, this can ruin your focus and cause you to feel sluggish and down. In some cases, this may increase your risk of accidents on the road, at home, or at work. [23


In the long run, sleep deprivation can induce certain medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Studies have discovered that lack of sleep raises blood pressure and may lead to hypertension. These findings accentuate how crucial it is to ensure that your body gets enough restful sleep each night. [23,24]


You might wonder how much sleep we need. This depends on which age category you fall into. Young adults aged 18 to 25 should get 7-9 hours of sleep, and adults aged 26 to 64 should get 7-9 hours of sleep as well. Those who are 65 or older should get 7-8 hours of sleep. [25


This is a guideline, and the recommended hours of sleep per night may change based on your personal situation. [25] Plus, you may spend many hours in bed but not get restful and high-quality sleeping hours. 


Do you wish to get better and more restful sleep at night? You may want to turn off any lights and remove distractions such as the TV or radio at night. If you, unfortunately, stay in an area with loud noises and crazy nightlife, using an earplug to sleep at night may aid you in resting better at night. [26


One of the most powerful techniques to help you sleep better is to disconnect from your devices at least 30 minutes before heading off to bed. Whenever possible, try to avoid heavy meals and caffeine close to your bedtime. [26


Conclusion


In a nutshell, getting more physical exercise, eating right, staying away from cigarettes, limiting alcohol consumption, managing stress, and getting enough sleep are some of the best ways to bring your blood pressure down naturally. 


Once again, you must take your blood pressure medications as recommended by your healthcare provider and avoid making any changes to the regimen or dose of your medications without getting advice first. 


If you have any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional before making any health-related modifications to your lifestyle.



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