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Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

written by Skye Sherman - Aug 28, 2023
medically reviewed by Dr. Christine Bishara, MD - Oct 12, 2023

Photo Credit: by RDNE Stock project,
Photo Credit: by RDNE Stock project,

Many adults deal with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. If you suffer from high blood pressure, the usual course of action is to turn to prescription blood pressure medications like Cozaar, Benicar, Edarbi, or Edarbyclor to lower your blood pressure. (Consult your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider before taking any prescription medications.) But did you know there are some ways to naturally lower your blood pressure?

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, lowering your blood pressure should be a focus because it poses serious health concerns.

In fact, according to Prevention, “it boosts the likelihood for major health scares like heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. … [and] was a primary or contributing cause of death for nearly 670,000 people in 2020.”

As EatingWell puts it, “High blood pressure increases a person’s risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke and cognitive decline. And, since high blood pressure often presents with no symptoms until a larger cardiac event occurs, it’s sometimes called a ‘silent killer.’”

What’s worse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “About 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have their hypertension under control.” That means only about 25% of people with high blood pressure have it under control or are managing it properly!

Many people know that lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and smoking play a significant role in your blood pressure, and of course taking any prescribed medication under the supervision of a doctor is also essential to managing your blood pressure. But there are other healthy choices you can make to lower your blood pressure naturally, which we’ll examine in this article.

Can salt intake affect your blood pressure?

One of the biggest dietary factors of high blood pressure is your salt intake. The more salt you eat, the more prone you are to high blood pressure. One of the biggest culprits is packaged and processed foods that contain shockingly high amounts of salt.

As Forbes Health explains, “When you eat too much salt, it increases the amount of fluid that enters the bloodstream and arteries from the surrounding tissue, which raises the pressure in the arteries. While you may not have to remove salt from your diet completely, avoid foods very high in salt like chips, French fries, salted nuts, soups, store-bought salad dressings, processed foods and cheese.”

Salt is a big contributor to high blood pressure, so start examining the nutrition labels of what you eat and see if your salt intake is way too high.

Try the DASH Diet to lower your blood pressure

What you can do instead is up your potassium intake, eat more fermented foods, and try eating according to the DASH Diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It was actually developed specifically to lower blood pressure without the use of medication, but it will still help even if you do take hypertension medication.

Prevention explains, “The diet emphasizes veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy, capping daily sodium intake at 2,300 mg, with an ideal limit at that all-important 1,500 mg. Research shows DASH can reduce BP in just four weeks and even aid weight loss.”

Make sure when you eat the DASH Diet, you get plenty of potassium. Prevention explains that “the nutrient encourages the kidneys to excrete more sodium through urination. We all know about the potassium in bananas, but foods like potatoes, spinach, and beans actually pack more potassium than the fruit. Tomatoes, avocados, edamame, watermelon, and dried fruits are other great sources.”

Eating this way may also help you lose weight if you are overweight, and that’s another big risk factor for high blood pressure (and many other serious health conditions). In addition, new research suggests there’s a link between your gut health and your body’s response to blood pressure medications.

EatingWell reports, “one common gut bacterium, Coprococcus comes, can interfere with the action of some angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors—one of the most common classes of treatments for high blood pressure. Translation: Certain gut bacteria might affect the ability of these hypertension medicines to do their usual job.”

Dieting doesn’t have to be all bad. Probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, kefir, and yogurt can nourish your good gut bacteria, as can fiber-rich prebiotic foods like beans, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Even dark chocolate can help get your blood pressure levels in a healthier range. That’s because it’s rich in flavanols, which relax blood vessels and boost blood flow, helping to lower blood pressure naturally.

Bananas and dark chocolate for dessert, anyone?

Let’s also not underestimate the power of something very simple that you can do to help with blood pressure --Water! Increased hydration allows easier blood flow and less pressure on the heart.

Warm baths and cold compresses can help lower your blood pressure in an emergency

If you’re having an acute attack of hypertension, there are a few things you can do to lower your blood pressure quickly in an emergency. One of the best ways is to use hot or cold compresses.

According to Medical Health Authority, “One popular method for managing high blood pressure is compress therapy, which involves applying either a hot or cold compress to the affected area … A hot compress involves applying heat to the affected area. This can be done using a warm towel, heating pad, or hot water bottle. The heat helps to relax the blood vessels, improve blood flow, and reduce tension in the muscles.”

Similarly, a warm bath or shower can also do the trick (as anyone who loves taking relaxing baths knows!). Tufts Medical Center advises, “Stay in your shower or bath for at least 15 minutes and enjoy the warm water. This can also help reduce muscle tension.”

On the flip side, in some situations, a cold compress such as an ice pack, cold towel, or frozen vegetables wrapped in a thin cloth may feel better. Medical Health Authority states, “The cold temperature helps to constrict the blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and numb the area.”

Usually, you would apply the compress to your head, spine, forehead, neck, or wrists for the optimal effect. Just make sure to use a barrier between the source of cold or hot and your skin to avoid burns or freeze burns.

Anyone with sensitivity to hot or cold should avoid this tactic or consult a medical professional before attempting. In the moment, listen to your body to figure out what might feel better or provide the most relief in the moment.

Meditation, music, sleep, and vacations to lower your blood pressure

Stress is one of the biggest contributors to high blood pressure. Chronic stress leads to super elevated stress hormone levels, which leads to a bad blood pressure cycle.

You may not be able to change your job, life situation, or other major stressors, but you can learn to manage what life throws your way by coping with breathing exercises, meditation, exercise (especially yoga!), taking vacations, going out for walks in nature, taking breaks from your desk, and even listening to music.

And, most important of all, get a good night’s sleep. Your sleep has a bigger effect on your blood pressure than you may realize. If you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, this could actually be adding to your blood pressure problems.

Prevention reports, “Loud, incessant snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder that causes brief but dangerous breathing interruptions. Up to half of sleep apnea patients also live with hypertension, possibly due to high levels of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure.”

Did you know that the type of music you listen to can also affect your blood pressure? Take a few deep breaths and turn on some spa music (skip the rap and rock and roll).

According to Prevention, “Researchers asked 29 adults who were already taking BP medication to listen to soothing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes daily while breathing slowly. When they followed up with the subjects six months later, their blood pressure had dropped significantly. Louder, faster music probably won’t do the trick, but there’s no harm in blissing out to an ambient track or two.”

Not getting enough quality sleep, sitting all day and not moving enough, and feeling totally stressed out without a break are all big risk factors for high blood pressure. If you’re suffering from high blood pressure, it’s high time to get a good workout in and then kick your feet up and relax… better yet, do it on a tropical beach somewhere.



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