How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
- High blood pressure is a potentially serious condition. If left untreated, it can lead to heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and stroke among other health conditions.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in nitric oxide and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, and taking quality natural blood pressure supplements that lower blood pressure, can help reduce symptoms.
- Your lifestyle is also an important factor in keeping your blood pressure healthy, so exercise frequently, minimize stress, and cut down on additional processed foods, smoking and alcohol.
Why take supplements that lower blood pressure? Couldn’t you just take a pill or prescription medicine your physician prescribed? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 million Americans have high blood pressure — that’s 1 in 3 adults.
Experts say high blood pressure — also called hypertension — can lead to serious health conditions.
“Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because it produces no symptoms and can go unnoticed and untreated for years.” Natalie Butler, R.D. L.D.
“If left untreated or uncontrolled, high blood pressure can cause many health problems. These conditions include heart failure, vision loss, stroke, and kidney disease.” Medical News Today
There are a litany of drugs (like calcium channel blockers) that can be prescribed by your health care provider to help address or prevent high blood pressure. And besides lowering blood pressure, they all have one thing in common — side effects.
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Erection problems
- Feeling nervous
- Feeling tired, weak, drowsy, or a lack of energy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Skin rash
- Weight loss or gain without trying
- Chest pain (angina)
- Eye pain or dysfunction
There might just be a better way. The Mayo Clinic site stated, “Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.”
In this article, we’ll discuss what high blood pressure is and what causes it. We’ll examine the evidence for 24 of the best foods and nutritional supplements the work for high blood pressure, plus show you some easy ways to incorporate them into your daily life.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure is the rate at which your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it is pumped by your heart. High blood pressure happens when the pressure is considered to be too high to be healthy.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, diastolic and systolic pressure:
- Diastolic pressure (bottom number) is the pressure on your arteries in between heartbeats: 80 and above is considered high.
- Systolic (top number) means the pressure on your artery walls during a heartbeat: 120-130 is considered elevated and 130 and above is considered high.
Over time, high blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels and lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, chronic kidney disease, stroke, and possibly vascular dementia.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the main causes of high blood pressure are:
- Underlying medical conditions including tumors, chronic kidney disease, obesity, sleep apnea, and thyroid conditions
- Medicines such as birth control pills and over-the-counter (OTC) cold relief remedies
- Family history
- Lifestyle issues such as stress, too little exercise, and too much alcohol
- Age: Your risk of getting hypertension increases as you get older and your blood vessels thicken and stiffen.
- Race: African-Americans are at higher risk of hypertension than Caucasian, Hispanic or Asian adults.
- Diet: Salt, processed foods, added sugar
What should you do?
Many of the factors that influence your risk of high blood pressure, such as race, age, and family history, can’t be controlled.
But, you can control what you eat. Just like putting fresh oil in a car, you can infuse your body with sources of energy that will reduce inflammation and problems in the future.
Follow a balanced, healthy diet high in fiber, low in sodium and rich in heart-healthy nutrients such as potassium and magnesium. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium for people on a traditional diet or 1,500 milligrams for people on a low-sodium diet.
Decreasing the amount of sodium you consume — by not adding salt to your dinner and cutting out processed foods — can lower your risk of hypertension. Plus, choosing foods rich in the right nutrients can also reduce your blood pressure levels naturally. You can also add proven dietary supplements that lower blood pressure.
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has guidelines for labeling all food, but to ensure the best quality, pesticide-free ingredients are in your food — make sure it is USDA certified organic.
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are high in potassium, which helps flush sodium out of your body by promoting urination. Lowering your sodium levels brings down your blood pressure as salt makes your body hold onto water, putting more pressure on your arteries.
Leafy green vegetables also contain nitrates. Studies show that eating 1 to 2 servings of foods rich in nitrates daily can reduce high blood pressure. Leafy greens are some of the top foods that help lower blood pressure.
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
- Mustard greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Turnip greens
- Collard greens
Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables to 3–6 cups a day by adding them to curries and stews, blitzing them into smoothies or baking them into chips. If possible, search for organic fresh vegetables and herbs, frozen vegetables are a healthy alternative, but avoid canned vegetables as they often contain added sodium.
Mother Nature created bananas to be a handy, healthy snack. Like other foods that lower blood pressure quickly, such as leafy greens, they are rich in blood-pressure-friendly potassium. This can help your body dispose of sodium, which can cause hypertension.
Other sources of potassium include avocado, melon, halibut, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tuna, and beans. These provide sweet snacks that in moderation, won’t spike your blood sugar as much as processed sugary snacks.
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended amount of potassium is 4,700 milligrams a day. People with kidney conditions should consult with their doctor before increasing their potassium intake.
Blueberries, may be tiny, but this superfood packs a mighty punch as one of the best blood pressure-busting foods.
Blueberries, and their cousins, raspberries, and strawberries, contain anthocyanin within their rich blue and red pigment. This is a type of flavonoid — a natural antioxidant compound that may reduce blood pressure. Scientists also say that berries have vasodilatory properties. That means they help widen the arteries to make the blood flow more easily.
In a large study of more than 34,000 people with hypertension, the subjects who had the highest intake of anthocyanin from berries had an 8 percent decrease of risk for hypertension.
Try incorporating 2–3 cups of fresh or frozen berries into your daily diet by sprinkling them on high-fiber cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, or blending them into a smoothie with a banana for added potassium.
This flavorful vegetable helps raise nitric oxide levels, which may help lower blood pressure by helping to open your arteries.
The results of a study carried out in 2015 found that people with hypertension had lower blood pressure levels when they drank 250 milliliters of beet juice every day for four weeks.
Another study demonstrated that beets could be one of the key foods to lower blood pressure quickly as a positive effect was noticed just six hours after drinking beetroot juice combined with apple.
Beets can be juiced, roasted, baked or added to stir-fry and salads. If you don’t like the taste of beets or the hassle of preparation, high-quality beet supplements have the same nutritional value and can be in powdered or capsule form.
Low-Fat Milk or Yogurt
Skim milk and yogurt are healthy sources of calcium, which is known to reduce blood pressure by tightening and relaxing the blood vessels. They are also low in saturated fats, which are known to cause hypertension.
A study conducted by the American Heart Association found women who ate yogurt five times a week as part of a balanced diet were at a lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Unfortunately, men did not have the same results.
Add milk and yogurt to your shopping cart, and make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar.
Eating oatmeal is a healthy way to power up for the day. It’s low in sodium and high in fiber, making it a great energy booster without raising your blood pressure levels.
Oats also contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that’s been shown to reduce blood pressure.
Try mixing half a cup of oatmeal with half a cup of skim milk and leaving it overnight in the fridge. Before serving, stir in some other foods to lower blood pressure such as berries, seeds or cacao nibs for a delicious breakfast.
Rolled oats can also be added to meat or vegetarian burgers, or used to bread chicken in place of breadcrumbs.
Fish is good for your brain, and for preventing and reducing high blood pressure. Fish such as salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which also reduce inflammation and lower triglycerides.
In a study published in the journal Nutrition, subjects who ate fatty fish three times a week were able to report having reduced blood pressure.
Fish is also a great source of vitamin D, which is one of the best vitamins to lower blood pressure.
Try eating fatty fish two or three times a week or supplement with fish oils.
Seeds such as pumpkin, flax, and sunflower seeds are a great source of the minerals potassium and magnesium and an easy addition to just about any recipe.
Potassium relaxes blood vessel walls and flushes sodium out of your system, both of which help to lower blood pressure. Potassium is also essential for the functioning of electrical signals in the heart and nervous system that keep your heartbeat regular.
People who take diuretics for high blood pressure are particularly susceptible to low potassium levels as these drugs often result in the mineral being lost through urination.
Magnesium is crucial for the effective regulation of a wide range of body systems. It helps blood vessels relax and assists with the transportation of other minerals such as potassium and calcium around the body.
In a study of 110 patients with peripheral artery disease, subjects were given 30 g of milled flaxseed or placebo in food every day for 6 months. The flaxseed group had 10 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) and 7 mm lower diastolic blood pressure (DBP) than the control group.
Seeds can be added to salads, yogurt, oatmeal, or granola or combined with oats and dates to make a healthy snack bar. Try to add 1 – 2 tablespoons to your diet each day.