- Vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges and apricots
- Dairy, such as milk and yogurt
- Tuna and salmon
- Nuts and seeds
January 26, 2017
Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – Part 1
Part 1 of 3 parts
High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide. If left uncontrolled, it raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. There are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication.
Here are 15 natural ways to combat high blood pressure.
1. Walk and Exercise Regularly. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.
In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health. Doing even more exercise reduces your blood pressure even further, according to the National Walkers’ Health Study (5).
Tip: Walking just 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. More exercise helps reduce it even further.
2. Reduce Your Sodium Intake. Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to the abundance of processed and prepared foods. For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry.
In many studies, salt has been linked to high blood pressure and heart events, like stroke. However, research that is more recent has shown that the relationship between sodium and high blood pressure may be less clear. One reason for this may be genetic differences between how people process sodium. About half of people with high blood pressure and a quarter of people with normal levels seem to have a sensitivity to salt.
If you already have high blood pressure, it’s worth cutting back your sodium intake to see if it makes a difference. Swap out processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and spices, rather than salt.
Tip: Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend lowering sodium intake. However, that recommendation might make the most sense for people who are salt-sensitive.
3. Drink Less Alcohol. Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world. While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by negative effects.
In the US, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. If you drink more than that, cut back.
Tip: Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Limit your drinking to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men.
4. Eat More Potassium-Rich Foods. Potassium is an important mineral. It helps your body get rid of sodium and ease pressure on your blood vessels.
Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake.
To get a better balance of potassium to sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and fresher, whole foods. Foods that are particularly high in potassium include:
Tip: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.
5. Cut Back on Caffeine. If you’ve ever downed a cup of coffee before you’ve had your blood pressure taken, you’ll know that caffeine causes an instant boost. However, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase. In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, than those who don’t.
Caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don’t consume it regularly. If you suspect you’re caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure.
Tip: Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, although for many people it does not cause a lasting increase.