Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Wednesday 14 October 2020
Cardiovascular Disorders
4 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What is High Blood Pressure?

II. Eating a Healthy Diet

III. Staying Physically Active

IV. Reducing Stress

V. Limiting Tobacco and Alcohol

a. Tobacco

b. Alcohol

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure (also known as HBP or hypertension) is a condition that can lead to severe complications, including heart attack or stroke. HBP is often known as a ‘silent killer’ because it often does not cause any symptoms, even when blood pressure levels are dangerously high. [1]

Hypertension is very common in the Western world and is one of the biggest health problems in the United States. Approximately 103 million Americans have high blood pressure. This is around half of all adults, although they may not know that they have the condition. [2]

There are many medications used to treat high blood pressure. Common medications include Toprol XL (metoprolol XL) and Bumex (bumetanide). Along with taking prescription medications, there are other ways you can lower your blood pressure naturally. Keep reading to learn more about keeping your heart healthy.

Eating a Healthy Diet

One of the biggest risk factors for developing hypertension is being overweight or obese. It is estimated that excess body weight accounts for around one in four cases of high blood pressure. [3] If you are overweight and have hypertension, then losing a few pounds can make a big difference. Generally, each kilogram (2.2lbs) of weight loss can reduce blood pressure by around 1 millimeter of mercury (1mm Hg). This makes it one of the most effective lifestyle changes that you can make when trying to lower blood pressure. [4]

Two heart shaped bowls filled with a variety of fruit

While eating a healthy diet is not the only way to lose weight, it is effective and also has other health benefits. A suggested diet for people with high blood pressure is the DASH diet. This stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet suggests eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy with moderate amounts of fish, poultry, whole grains, and nuts. [5] There is also a lower sodium DASH diet that can be followed if this is more beneficial to your health.

Staying Physically Active

As mentioned, losing some additional pounds is the most effective way of naturally lowering your blood pressure. As well as following a healthy diet, you should also get regular physical exercise. Physical exercise does not mean that you need to go to the gym or join a team sport. Anything that increases your heart rate and causes you to breathe harder is effective. This can include a brisk walk, swimming, cycling, or even working in the yard. [6]

The frequency and length of your exercise will depend on how vigorous it is. If you are going for brisk walks or other moderate activities, then try to exercise for 30 minutes five times a week. By contrast, more dynamic exercises like jogging or sports can give the same benefit when done three or four times a week for 20 minutes. [6] There is no golden rule for how often to exercise. Being active is a great way to lower your blood pressure, but be careful not to over-exert yourself and speak to your doctor if you suffer severe shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, or pain or pressure in your jaw, neck, shoulder or arm.

Reducing Stress

It is believed that another factor that can increase your blood pressure is stress. High-pressure situations can cause your blood pressure to spike for a short time. When you become stressed, your body produces an increased amount of hormones, increasing your heartbeat and blood pressure. Therefore, managing and reducing stress can also decrease your blood pressure. When you do become stressed, try and pinpoint the exact cause. This may help you to reduce your stress.

 A woman studying while surrounded by books

There are several ways that you can reduce your stress level. Not only is this beneficial for reducing hypertension but lowering stress will also improve your mental health. Relaxing activities can include taking a walk, reading, yoga, breathing exercises, or simply making time to do any of your favorite hobbies.

Limiting Tobacco and Alcohol

Many used cigarettes in an ashtray

a. Tobacco

Every time that you smoke a cigarette, your blood pressure spikes and stays increased for several minutes after finishing your cigarette. [4] Smoking also causes long-term damage to your blood vessels, which increases your risk of other serious medical problems such as stroke, heart disease, and heart attack. Quitting smoking not only improves your blood pressure but can also improve your overall health. [7]

b. Alcohol

Alcohol is a more complicated risk factor. In moderation, alcohol can actually potentially lower your blood pressure. A moderate amount is generally no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two daily drinks for men. However, drinking more than this increases your blood pressure. Additionally, for those taking medication for their blood pressure, alcohol use can also reduce the effectiveness of these drugs. [4]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.