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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Fortunately, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure naturally. In this guide, we'll explore some simple and effective ways to improve your blood pressure and overall health.
Understand the Risks of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition where the force of blood against your artery walls is too high1. This can cause damage to your blood vessels and organs over time1.
High blood pressure can lead to many complications including heart attack or stroke1. It can also cause coronary artery disease, enlarged left heart, and kidney damage2.
Risk factors for high blood pressure include age, race, family history of high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, too much salt (sodium) in your diet, too little potassium in your diet, or drinking too much alcohol3.
It’s important to understand the risks of high blood pressure and take steps to manage it if you have it. This includes making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet that’s low in sodium and high in potassium-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, quitting smoking if you smoke, and limiting alcohol intake13.
Make Lifestyle Changes to Lower Blood Pressure
One of the most effective ways to lower your blood pressure naturally is to make lifestyle changes. This includes eating a healthy diet that is low in sodium and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Regular exercise is also important, as it can help to strengthen your heart and improve circulation.
Other lifestyle changes that can help to lower blood pressure include quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and managing stress through techniques such as meditation or yoga.
Let's take a look at a comprehensive list of lifestyle factors you could change that may lower blood pressure:
- Lower your sodium intake to better manage blood pressure4.
- Increase potassium intake with healthy foods4.
- Eat a balanced, low-salt diet rich in fruits and vegetables46.
- Get physically active and move more, with or without a gym425.
- Maintain a healthy weight by moving more and eating better25.
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline2.
- Exercise regularly2.
- Limit alcohol intake5.
- Manage stress5.
- Quit smoking if you smoke5.
By making these changes, you can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of serious health problems associated with high blood pressure.
Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Routine
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to naturally lower your blood pressure.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, most days of the week.
If you're short on time, try breaking up your exercise into shorter sessions throughout the day. For example, take a 10-minute walk after each meal.
You can also incorporate exercise into your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from your destination, or doing household chores like gardening or cleaning.
Remember, any amount of physical activity is better than none!
Exercise Methods to Help Lower & Maintain Blood Pressure
- For high blood pressure, do aerobic exercise like walking, running, or cycling7.
- For blood pressure in the high-normal range, try moves such as squats, push-ups, and lifting weights7.
- To maintain normal blood pressure, do planks, yoga, and wall sits7.
- Exercise every day for best results7.
Tips to Incorporate Exercise into Daily Routine
- Sign up for classes like aqua aerobics, Zumba and a functional fitness class8.
- Brisk walking8.
- Gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise as you become fitter6.
- Select a low- to moderate-intensity exercise such as gentle forms of yoga, gardening, or any other activity that you can do at a moderate pace6.
Follow a Healthy Diet to Lower Blood Pressure
In addition to exercise, following a healthy diet is crucial for naturally lowering your blood pressure.
Aim to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Avoid processed and high-sodium foods, as they can contribute to high blood pressure. Instead, opt for foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium, such as bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes.
Additionally, limit your alcohol intake and try to quit smoking, as both can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems.
Below we have a checklist for you to get your diet in check:
- Eat a balanced, low-salt diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Increase potassium intake with healthy foods.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Avoid processed foods and foods high in saturated and trans fats.
- Choose lean protein sources such as fish, poultry, beans and legumes.
- Eat whole grains instead of refined grains.
Consider Natural Supplements and Remedies
Along with lifestyle changes, natural supplements and remedies can also help lower blood pressure.
Some popular options include garlic, hibiscus tea, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium supplements.
However, it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements or remedies, as they can interact with medications or have other potential side effects. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of action for your individual needs.
Let's take a look at some of the natural supplements and remedies that may help to lower blood pressure below.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. It helps relax the muscles that control blood vessels, which can help reduce blood pressure.
According to a study published in the Journal of Hypertension, magnesium supplements may help lower blood pressure9.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that magnesium supplements may help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension10.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, taking vitamin D3 supplementation can help reduce lower blood pressure11.
However, randomized controlled trials have provided little support for the beneficial effect of vitamin D supplementation on blood pressure12.
According to a study published by the American Heart Association, several B vitamins may help reduce blood pressure levels13.
For example, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) supplements have been shown to help reduce blood pressure in adults with methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene mutations, which make high blood pressure more likely13.
According to a 2017 review of studies, potassium supplements could help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure14.
Potassium helps reduce blood pressure in two ways: by causing the body to get rid of more sodium in the urine by relaxing the walls of blood vessels15.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance that helps convert food into energy in cells and has been used to treat many different conditions16.
According to researchers, CoQ10 supplements can lower blood pressure slightly by neutralizing free radicals, increasing the production of energy in cells, and preventing the formation of blood clots17.
After reviewing 12 clinical studies, researchers concluded that CoQ10 has the potential to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg, without significant side effects18.
Another study found that CoQ10 supplementation significantly decreased systolic blood pressure (SBP) but decreased diastolic blood pressure (DBP) without statistical significance19.
L-arginine is an amino acid that helps make proteins and has been used to treat many different conditions20.
According to Mayo Clinic, L-arginine may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and improve overall blood vessel health21.
A review of several studies found that adults with high blood pressure who took daily L-arginine supplements lowered their bottom (diastolic) blood pressure number by about 2 to 3 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)21.
According to a study by WebMD, different studies have shown that vitamin C supplements lower blood pressure but can also cause hardening of the arteries22.
In these studies, people took 500 mg of vitamin C supplements per day, which is much greater than the recommended daily amount22.
Moreover, an analysis of 29 human studies found that taking a vitamin C supplement reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper value) by 3.8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the lower value) by 1.5 mmHg, on average, in healthy adults23.
According to a study by Medical News Today, researchers have concluded that one glass of beetroot juice a day is enough to significantly reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure24.
They conducted a placebo-controlled trial with dozens of participants24.
Beetroot juice has been investigated for the powerful effect of its nitrate content on blood pressure25.
Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure24.
According to Healthline, raw garlic, garlic powder, aged garlic extracts, or garlic oil all appear to help lower blood pressure26.
Effective dosages range from 12.3–2,400 mg per day for 2–24 weeks, depending on the preparation used26.
Garlic supplements have shown effectiveness in reducing blood pressure in hypertensive patients, similarly to first-line standard anti-hypertensive medications27.
Kyolic garlic has also shown promise in improving cardiovascular health by reducing arterial stiffness, elevated cholesterol levels and blood 'stickiness’2728.
Fish oil supplements have been shown to decrease both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure29.
High amounts of fish oil may help to lower blood pressure29.
Omega-3 fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are important in preventing and managing heart disease30. Findings show omega-3 fatty acids may help to lower blood pressure30.
It is important to note that taking fish oil supplements together with high blood pressure medications can cause the blood pressure to drop too low31. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking fish oil supplements if you are already taking high blood pressure medications.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial for our health by aiding digestion, intestinal function and protecting against harmful bacteria32.
According to researchers, consumption of probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt and dietary supplements of the “good” bacteria may help lower blood pressure32.
A study conducted on participants who received supplemental probiotics in the form of yogurt, fermented/sour milk, supplements, rose hip drinks or cheese showed that consumption of probiotics led to a significant decrease in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure measurements33.
Another set of research found that eating probiotics regularly may modestly improve blood pressure by having other positive effects on health such as improving total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol; reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance; and by helping to regulate the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance34.
Melatonin appears to lower blood pressure in several different ways, through effects on receptors in the brain, the availability of nitric oxide, calcium metabolism, sympathetic nervous system activity, cortisol stress responses, angiotensin II (which in turn increases melatonin production) and by acting as a powerful antioxidant35.
According to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, research suggests that daily nighttime melatonin (2.5 mg) could help reduce blood pressure in those with essential hypertension36. Volunteers with untreated essential hypertension were given 2.5 mg of melatonin daily for three weeks (one hour before sleep)36.
It is important to note that melatonin might worsen blood pressure in people taking blood pressure medications37. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking melatonin supplements if you are already taking blood pressure medications.
Green tea contains compounds called catechins that relax the smooth muscle that lines blood vessels, which may lead to lower blood pressure38.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea consumption was associated with a reduction in systolic blood pressure39.
Another review found that the polyphenols in green tea may lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and improve epithelial function39.
It is important to note that green tea supplements may interact with certain medications such as blood thinners and beta-blockers40. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking green tea supplements if you are already taking medications.
Ginger supplements may help lower high blood pressure41.
A review of six studies found that high-dose ginger supplements may help lower high blood pressure42.
When taken in doses of 3 grams or more per day for 8 weeks or fewer, ginger supplements significantly reduced blood pressure in people 50 years old and younger42.
It is important to note that ginger supplements may interact with certain medications such as blood thinners and medications for high blood pressure43. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking ginger supplements if you are already taking medications.
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