How to Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally, Without Medication
High blood pressure is a health condition where the pressure in the arteries is elevated above normal levels. Left untreated, it can lead to health issues, including heart disease, vision problems, kidney failure, stroke, and more. High blood pressure responds well to medication; however, there are natural methods that could lower blood pressure naturally without medication.
If your medical provider prescribed you a medication, continue to take the medication until you talk to your doctor about other methods to address high blood pressure. Do not stop any medicines without your doctor’s guidance.
This guide explores the various ways of lowering blood pressure solely through natural methods.
Studies show that reducing salt intake has measurable benefits for lowering blood pressure. The impact of salt on blood pressure varies on the person, but the recommended limit is around 1,500-2300 mg a day for adults.
There are various ways to lower sodium intake, including:
- Choose lower sodium alternatives to table salt
- Eat less processed food
- Dine out less often, and cook at home instead
- Experiment with herbs and spices to season food as opposed to salt
We are referring to table salt, which is sodium chloride, alternatives made of potassium chloride will not have the same effect on blood pressure.
There’s a fair chance that your diet contains a high amount of sodium and not enough potassium and magnesium. Too much sodium relative to other minerals could cause blood pressure to rise.
You could potentially enhance your efforts to reduce sodium by increasing your intake of potassium and magnesium foods.
Foods that contain potassium
Adding potassium-rich foods to your diet could be part of an overall plan to lower your blood pressure. Check with your physician first if you are on medications or have a medical condition that might cause elevated potassium levels. Some foods that contain potassium include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Nuts and seeds
Foods that contain magnesium
Adding foods that contain magnesium to your diet could be part of an overall plan to bring your minerals into balance. Some magnesium-rich foods include:
- Pumpkin seed
- Wholemeal bread
Read more about how to eat when you have high blood pressure
Adopting a nutrient-dense diet is always a good move. You can read about a detox diet that was specifically developed to improve blood pressure.
Caffeine affects everyone differently. Some research shows that for people who have normal blood pressure, caffeine could reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. But it also raises blood pressure within a few minutes of consuming it.
A systematic review found that the amount of caffeine in a typical serving of coffee raised systolic and diastolic blood pressure for up to three hours after drinking it. If you have multiple caffeinated beverages throughout the day, caffeine could contribute to hypertension.
Regular exercise is undoubtedly part of a healthy lifestyle, and research shows that movement has incredible benefits for lowering blood pressure. A 2016 study showed that blood pressure was reduced immediately following exercise, with a greater reduction in “physically active individuals who were not yet medicated.
Exercise may help strengthen the heart, reduce the force on the arteries, and over time could help blood flow more efficiently around the body. Lowering blood pressure levels may also reduce the risk of full-scale hypertension and heart-related conditions.
Certain types of exercise work well in cases of high blood pressure, and hypertensive patients should avoid other types of exercise. Be sure to ask your doctor before starting a new exercise program-especially if you have any markers for heart disease risk like high blood pressure.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Frequently drinking alcohol in more than moderate amounts can have detrimental impacts on your overall health, including raising blood pressure above normal levels. Alcohol also reduces the effectiveness of blood pressure medication and is linked to increased weight gain-another cause of elevated blood pressure.
Research shows that in people who drink more than two servings of alcohol a day, there is a strong association between drinking less alcohol and reducing blood pressure.
When you drink less alcohol, you may notice improvements in your energy levels, appearance, mood, and other aspects of your well-being.
Life can be stressful. Work, family commitments, and broader societal changes can all contribute to stress, leading to elevated blood pressure. Not only is reducing stress a good idea for your mental health, it also benefits your physical health and blood pressure.
The avenues to reducing stress vary depending on the individual. Some people find that relaxing activities such as meditation or reading help them reduce stress, while others prefer engaging in physical activity. Stress-reducing methods you could try include:
- Listening to music
- Playing music
- Watching a comedy
- Resistance training
- Walking in nature
- Breathing exercises
- Spending time with family or friends
When you find a method that works for you, make sure to engage in it regularly to reduce your stress levels.
Address Sleep Issues
Low sleep quality is linked to higher blood pressure in nearly everyone from adolescents to people in midlife and beyond. Working on your sleep hygiene can go a long way when addressing high blood pressure.
Some ways to improve your sleep include:
- Avoid screens an hour before bed
- Sleep in a completely dark room
- Keep a consistent bedtime, even on weekends
- Avoid caffeine after noon
If you were diagnosed with high blood pressure and started getting higher quality sleep, you should measure your blood pressure again to check for improvements. To develop a sense of what works for you, you can monitor your blood pressure at home without visiting a doctor’s office each time.
Monitor your blood pressure at home
Monitoring your blood pressure at home can help track your blood pressure and help you pinpoint the lifestyle practices that impact your blood pressure. It can also flag any signs of health complications and alert both you and your doctor.
You can also organise regular visits with your doctor to help control and monitor your blood pressure. Your doctor will advise you how often you will need to take a blood pressure reading, and whether it would be beneficial to take home readings as well.
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FAQs About Reducing High Blood Pressure Naturally
Does caffeine raise blood pressure?
Caffeine may raise blood pressure and keep it elevated for a few hours after you’ve consumed it.
How to lower blood pressure in minutes
There is no method of reducing blood pressure immediately that works for everyone. However, if you’re stressed, deep breathing exercises can effectively reduce stress in the moment. You can try taking long, slow breaths through the nose and see if that helps.
What is considered high blood pressure?
The European Society of Hypertension (ESH) considers a blood pressure as normal/optimal if it measures 120/80 or less. There are levels of severity for blood pressure that is higher than that.
|Definition of Hypertension|
|Normal Blood Pressure ranges|
|Optimal: < 120 / 80|
|Normal: 120-129 / 80-84|
|High normal: 130-139 / 85-89|
|Grade 1: 140-159 / 90-99|
|Grade 2: 160-179 / 100-109|
|Grade 3: ≥ 180 / 110|
|Age-Specific Blood Pressure targets|
|< 65 years < 120-129 / 70-79|
|≥ 65 years < 130-139 / 70-79|
Does aspirin lower blood pressure?
Your doctor may suggest taking low-dose aspirin daily as a preventative measure if you have high blood pressure. Even though aspirin is available over the counter, you should seek the guidance of your doctor if you are considering taking any medication on a daily basis.
Blood pressure medication can be an effective way to treat high blood pressure. However, it is always advisable to take steps to lower blood pressure naturally as well, whether it’s reducing your sodium intake, cutting back on caffeine, or engaging in regular physical activity. If you are concerned about your blood pressure, it is best to speak to your doctor. They can advise on the best way to manage your blood pressure.
Disclaimer: If you are concerned about your blood pressure, it is best to speak to your doctor. They can advise on the best way to manage your blood pressure.
Acute Effects of Exercise on Blood Pressure, May 2016 — https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/articles-PMC4914008
Salt reduction, April 29, 2020 – https://www.who.int/news-room-salt-reduction
Salt, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, July 2007 – https://journals.lww.com/co-cardiology-salt-blood-pressure-and-cardiovascular-disease
NHS: Vitamins and Minerals, August 3, 2020 – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions-vitamins-and-minerals-others
Magnesium Rich Food, November 24, 2020 – https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health-magnesium-rich-food
People With High Blood Pressure May Want to Go Easy on the Coffee, December 21, 2022 – https://www.heart.org/news/people-with-very-high-blood-pressure-may-want-to-go-easy-on-the-coffee
The Impact of Coffee Consumption on Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease, and Diabetes Mellitus, January 27, 2017 – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi-full-1287563
American Heart Association: High Blood Pressure, February 9, 2023 – https://www.heart.org/health-topics/high-blood-pressure
Aspirin: Low Dose to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke, accessed February 9, 2023 – https://www.nhs.uk/medicines-low-dose-aspirin