15 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure
A common problem faced by seniors in the United States is high blood pressure. Many individuals in their Golden Years take medications to control their blood pressure better. There are 15 natural methods you can employ as a means of working to lower your blood pressure. These are:
- Regular walking or other exercises
- Lower sodium intake
- Lower alcohol consumption
- Eat more potassium-rich foods
- Lower caffeine intake
- Learn to manage stress
- Eat dark chocolate (in moderation)
- Lose weight
- Do not smoke
- Cut down on added sugar and refined carbs
- Eat berries
- Try deep breathing or meditation
- Eat calcium-rich foods
- Take natural supplements
- Eat foods rich in magnesium
Regular Walking or Other Exercises
Walking or some other form or other type of exercise truly tops the list of natural steps you can take to lower your blood pressure or to experience high blood pressure or hypertension in the first instance. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger. Regular exercise makes your heart more efficient at pumping blood. These changes lower the pressure in your arteries. Getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, can help lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health.
Lower Sodium Intake
The debate about the impact of sodium on blood pressure is ongoing on one particular front. Research now suggests that some people may be more susceptible to adverse effects caused by sodium, including high blood pressure. Nevertheless, the consensus remains that if you are dealing with high blood pressure, you are likely well served to cut back on your sodium intake. Keep in mind that processed foods typically contain high amounts of sodium. Therefore, these types of products should be on your list of items to eliminate or at least to lower usage.
Lower Alcohol Consumption
There is some debate regarding the impact of lower amounts of alcohol on heart health. Some research does suggest that low to moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart. However, even though that may be the case, those benefits may be offset by adverse effects associated with alcohol consumption. With that said, if you drink more than a “moderate amount” of alcohol, you should cut down in the interest of heart health, including lowering your blood pressure. In the United States, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink per day for females and two drinks per day for males.
Eat More Potassium-Rich Foods
Heart health specialists recommend eating more potassium-rich foods as part of a natural course to lower blood pressure or to maintain healthy blood pressure. Examples of potassium-rich food items include:
- Vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
- Fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots
- Dairy products, such as milk and yogurt
- Tuna and salmon
- Nuts and seeds
Lower Caffeine Intake
The jury still did not fully agree with regard to the impact of caffeine intake on blood pressure. On the one hand, evidence suggests that coffee and other caffeinated beverages consumed in moderation can benefit heart health. The problem is that many Americans tend to overindulge when it comes to caffeine consumption. Therefore, if you are drinking more than a couple of caffeinated beverages daily, you should consider reducing that amount.
Learn to Manage Stress
If you are a person who is chronically stressed, your body essentially is in flight or fight mode. Physically, this means constricted blood vessels and a faster heart rate. In addition, when you are in a state of stress, you are likely to engage in other activities that are not heart-healthy. These might include drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol and eating comfort foods that might be high in sodium or refined sugar. A natural and important means of lowering blood pressure for many individuals is controlling stress in their lives. (As an aside, positive aspects of life can also be stressful. Both good and bad stress can contribute to an increase in blood pressure for many individuals.)
Eat Dark Chocolate (In Moderation)
Eating small amounts of dark chocolate may help to lower blood pressure. The same can be said for cocoa. These foods may help lower your blood pressure because dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate, which in turn works to lower blood pressure.
A large percentage of the adult population in the United States, including seniors, is overweight and even classified as obese. Heart health specialists advise that even a loss of 5 percent of an overweight individual’s body weight can lower that person’s blood pressure – perhaps even significantly.
Do Not Smoke
Chemicals in tobacco used in cigarettes (and cigars) can damage blood vessels. This can result in high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. When a person is engaged in smoking, that does increase that individual’s blood pressure. Of course, there are many other reasons why you should not smoke.
Cut Down on Added Sugar and Refined Carbs
A growing body of research demonstrates a link between added sugar intake and high blood pressure. In one of these studies, increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was linked to higher blood pressure levels. These studies also reveal that refined carbs, such as those found in white flour, convert rapidly to sugar in your bloodstream and could cause problems.
Some studies have shown that low-carb diets may also help reduce blood pressure. In fact, one review of 12 such studies showed that following a low-carb diet could reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition, this type of diet can also reduce several other risk factors for heart disease.
Another natural way to lower blood pressure is to eat berries. Berries contain what are known as polyphenols. These are natural plant compounds that reduce the risk of stroke, heart conditions, and diabetes, improve blood pressure, address insulin resistance, and address systemic inflammation.
Try Deep Breathing or Meditation
Both meditation and deep breathing may activate what is known as the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. There is a good amount of research in this area that demonstrates different styles of meditation appear to have benefits for lowering blood pressure. Deep breathing techniques can also be quite effective.
Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
Evidence is beginning to demonstrate that calcium-rich diets are linked to healthy blood pressure levels. You can get calcium by eating dark leafy greens, tofu, and dairy.
Take Natural Supplements
Research indicates that certain types of natural supplements can help reduce blood pressure and assist a person in naturally maintaining healthy blood pressure. These include:
- Aged garlic extract
- Whey protein
- Fish oil
Eat Foods Rich in Magnesium
Although problematic magnesium deficiency is not common, the reality is that many people do not get enough magnesium in their diets. Magnesium helps blood vessels relax, which aids in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Examples of food selections that contain magnesium include:
- Fresh vegetables
- Dairy products
- Whole grains
- Other lean meats
If you are taking medications for high blood pressure, you should never stop without your doctor directing you to do so. In other words, while incorporating some of these natural ways of blood controlling your blood pressure into your life may be a good plan, that doesn’t mean you can immediately ditch the medication you have been prescribed for your blood pressure.