How to Lower Blood Pressure: 11 Natural Ways - Dr. Axe

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How to Lower Blood Pressure: 11 Natural Ways


How to lower blood pressure - Dr. Axe

Studies over the past 20 years have shown that the majority of people in economic developing countries have blood pressure numbers that are higher than they should be, with many experiencing high blood pressure.

In fact, there are millions of people all over the world who are struggling with high blood pressure symptoms, or hypertension. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, with about 25 percent having their hypertension under control.

Nearly half of adults have hypertension (48.1%, 119.9 million), defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension. About 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have their hypertension under control (22.5%, 27.0 million).

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It’s defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension.

What is blood pressure? It’s a combination of systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure represents blood force, or pressure, while the heart is beating and diastolic pressure stands for blood pressure when the heart is at rest.


Systolic pressure is always the first or top measurement in a blood pressure reading. In a reading of 130/80, 130 represents systolic pressure and 80 represents diastolic pressure. In prehypertension, systolic numbers range from 120–129 and diastolic numbers are less than 80.

Blood pressure ranges include:

  • Normal blood pressure: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
  • Prehypertension: Systolic between 120–129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: Systolic between 130–139 or diastolic between 80–89
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg

Numbers for stage 1 hypertension vary from 130–139 for systolic values and/or 80–89 in diastolic numbers. With stage 2 hypertension, systolic readings are 140 or higher and/or diastolic readings measure 90 or higher.

Although both numbers are significant, after about age 50, the systolic number is most important. Only 10 percent of high blood pressure cases are due to secondary or identifiable causes such as medications, or conditions and diseases of other organs.

High blood pressure happens when the pressure on the arteries and blood vessels becomes too high and the arterial wall becomes distorted, causing extra stress on the heart.  Long term-high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and diabetes. Most Americans don’t even realize they have high blood pressure until serious problems arise.

Results of high blood pressure include:

  • Arterial damage
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart failure
  • Blocked or ruptured blood vessels
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Vision loss
  • Loss of cognitive function: concentration, memory and ability to learn
  • Metabolic syndrome: a cluster of metabolic disorders such as high cholesterol and insulin, atherosclerosis and increased waist size

Frequently, there are no symptoms as blood pressure increases, but warning signs for very high blood pressure can include chest pains, confusion, headaches, ear noise or buzzing, irregular heartbeat, nosebleeds, tiredness or vision changes.

Causes of high blood pressure include a high-salt diet, emotional stress, excessive alcohol and caffeine, smoking, obesity and inactivity.

How to Monitor

You can monitor your own blood pressure at home using a home blood pressure monitor. The American Heart Association recommends using an automatic, cuff-style bicep monitor. Make sure you buy a monitor that has been validated and with a cuff that fits properly around your upper arm. Then follow these simple steps:

  • Don’t exercise, eat, drink caffeinated beverages, or smoke within 30 minutes of measuring your blood pressure.
  • Sit still with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Follow your monitor’s instructions or ask your doctor how to use it correctly.
  • Make sure you check your blood pressure at the same time each day.
  • Check your blood pressure two or three times each time you sit down to measure it. Wait one minute in between each reading. Be sure to track your measurements, either writing them down in a journal or using an online tracker.

How to Lower Blood Pressure

So, what are some natural ways to lower blood pressure? There are foods that reduce blood pressure, as well as supplements to lower blood pressure and lifestyle changes you can make. By slowly making these changes to your daily habits, you can naturally lower blood pressure without medication.

1. Weight loss

According to studies, obese patients have higher rates of resistant hypertension and more comorbidities. Therefore, weight loss is needed because it “stabilizes neurohormonal activity and causes clinically significant reductions in blood pressure.”

In fact, a meta-analysis of 25 studies found a direct relationship between weight loss and blood pressure. It demonstrated that a decrease in weight by one kilogram (2.2 pounds) is associated with roughly 1 mmHg decline in systolic blood pressure.

In addition, the size of the waistline does matter. Excessive weight around the waist increases the risk of high blood pressure. Women should aim to have a waist measurement less than 35 inches (89 cm). Men should aim to have a waist measurement less than 40 inches (10 cm).

2. Exercise

Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. Ideally, you should engage in some form of physical activity and/or exercise for at least 20 minutes per day to unlock the benefits of exercise. Children and adolescents should get one hour of physical activity every day.

In particular, some studies indicate that aerobic exercise leads to a significant reduction of blood pressure in resistant hypertension. Walking daily is a great option. Strength training at least twice a week is also recommended.


3. Eat more of these foods

One of the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure is to eat a healthy diet for high blood pressure.

Eating a variety of vegetables is a staple for basically every diet that exists, considering veggies are high-antioxidant foods packed with protective nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and various electrolytes (yet very low in calories). A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who ate a mostly plant-based diet reported lower blood pressure readings than meat eaters who were likely to consume less fresh produce.

Read on below to find out more about what foods can help reduce high blood pressure:

  • High-fiber foods — such as vegetables, fruits and seeds — can decrease levels of total and LDL cholesterol, both of which are important for promoting blood flow through the arteries by reducing the buildup of fatty plaque. Research also suggests that it helps lower blood pressure levels, which can prevent hypertension and ease added stress on the heart muscle.
  • Low-sodium foods are also recommended. Excess salt consumption raises blood pressure. A systematic review and meta-analyses conducted in Switzerland found that lower sodium intake was associated with a reduced blood pressure and a reduced risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease in adults.  Limit your consumption to no more than 1,500–2,000 milligrams of sodium daily.
  • Potassium-rich foods help counteract the effects of sodium and helps lower blood pressure. Include foods like melons, avocados and bananas.
  • Omega-3 foods like grass-fed beef, wild caught salmon, chia and flax seeds help reduce inflammation and high blood pressure. A 2021 meta-analysis showed how omega 3 fatty acids prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure, blood lipids/cholesterol and plaque buildup in the arteries.
  • In terms of specific foods that lower blood pressure, check out the following. Pomegranate juice possesses blood pressure-lowering ability, both in short- and long-term studies, including from 2013, 2009, 2014 and 2016.
  • Spinach helps reduce disease-causing inflammation, and studies show who it can naturally reduce blood pressure.
  • Researchers have found that coriander exhibits a hypotensive (blood-pressure lowering) effect.
  • One study showed that giving cardamom (three grams of cardamom powder daily in two divided doses for 12 weeks) helped decrease systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure, plus also increased total antioxidant status by 90 percent at the end of three months.
  • Studies reveal that beetroot juice reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Interestingly, beetroot juice had a more immediate hypotensive effect than cooked beets.
  • Olive oil has been regarded as one of the healthiest staple foods, including in the Mediterranean Diet, a well-known diet associated with longer life spans and less instances of common diseases (like heart disease). A scientific review conducted in Spain found that “virgin olive oil significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease clinical events.”

4. Avoid these foods

  • High-sodium foods: Sodium raises blood pressure; avoid high sodium processed foods, pickles, olives or canned foods.
  • Trans fats and omega-6 fats: These fats increase inflammation and blood pressure and are found in packaged foods and conventional meats.
  • Sugar: High sugar consumption is connected to high blood pressure.
  • Caffeine: Too much caffeine can cause an increase in blood pressure.
  • Alcohol: Narrows arteries and can increase blood pressure.

5. Consider using these supplements

One of the main causes of high blood pressure is inflammation in the arteries over time. Studies show that consuming fish oil, which is high in EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 fatty acids, reduces inflammation in the body.

The mineral magnesium helps relax your blood vessels and can have an immediate impact on naturally lowering blood pressure (and many people have a magnesium deficiency).

A study with 241,378 participants published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a diet high in magnesium foods could reduce the risk of a stroke by 8 percent. This is profound considering that hypertension causes 50 percent of ischemic strokes in the world. Therefore, a magnesium supplement may help address your blood pressure issues.

6. Reduce sodium

A low-sodium diet is the recommended approach to controlling high blood pressure because high amounts of sodium, found in basically all processed and packaged foods, is known to worsen high blood pressure by impacting fluid retention and how arteries dilate.

Sodium is a type of  electrolyte that’s balanced by other beneficial electrolytes like potassium and magnesium in order to keep blood pressure within a healthy range. The problem is that most people eating a “Standard American Diet” consume far too much sodium and far too little potassium and magnesium, leading to electrolyte imbalances.

7. Limit alcohol intake

It’s also recommended to reduce alcohol to less than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men for lowering blood pressure. One drink equates to 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

If you do drink alcohol, make that one drink red wine. Quercetin, one of the most important flavonoids present in red wine, has proved to promote heart health by regulating blood pressure levels, reducing inflammation and preventing oxidative stress.

8. Reduce stress

Yet another reason to reduce stress is its ability to raise blood pressure. But don’t relax by eating more or using tobacco or alcohol. These activities only increase the problem.

For high blood pressure symptoms and good health in general, it’s a great idea to practice daily relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, healing prayer and/or meditation. These natural stress relievers help you relax and reduce your blood pressure.

Also, you can raise your blood pressure to alarming levels just by thinking or stressing about events. Imagined events have as much physiological effect as real ones. In fact, this is the basis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

9. Get enough sleep

Many people have difficulty sleeping, including being diagnosed with insomnia, and that can cause high blood pressure. Sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can also prevent sound sleep. Studies show how blood pressure naturally decreases during sleep, and when those dips in blood pressure during sleep don’t occur, it increases cardiovascular risk.

Good sleep habits including exercising daily, healthy diet, supplements, stress relief and essential oils can all help make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

10. Quit smoking

Smoking damages your blood vessels and raises the risk for various heart problems. It will also worsen complications and make it harder to reverse the problem. It’s imperative to quit smoking in order to reduce your blood pressure.

11. Consistently monitor your blood pressure

Blood pressure levels tend to go up as someone get’s older, which is why prevention, early detection and management through a healthy lifestyle are so crucial for lowering blood pressure. Remember that you likely won’t have any noticeable signs or symptom of high blood pressure, so you can’t just assume that everything is normal and okay because you don’t feel any differently.

If you’re at a high risk for various forms of heart disease, make sure to have your blood pressure checked professionally at least once every six to 12 months. If your blood pressure is normal, great — you can work on keeping it that way as you get older.

But if it’s high, you’ll need to make some changes and work with your healthcare professional to manage the condition, possibly by changing your medications and helping you lose weight. Keep in mind that high blood pressure is a chronic disease and ultimately needs lifelong treatment, so support is helpful to make it easier to stick to a healthy lifestyle plan.

If you already have high blood pressure, some evidence shows that measuring levels at home can help you manage symptoms better. This will give you an early warning sign if you start to see numbers creep up slowly. You’ll also be able to monitor how you react to different meals, circumstances, sleep routines, exercises, etc.

You can buy several different types of home blood pressure monitors without a prescription from pharmacies or online. If you feel more comfortable visiting your doctor regularly or working with a nurse to control your blood pressure, the same benefits apply. Research suggests people who have some kind of ongoing support from their doctor or health clinic improve blood pressure better than without support.

Final Thoughts

  • Blood pressure is a combination of systolic and diastolic pressure.
  • High blood pressure happens when the pressure on the arteries and blood vessels becomes too high and the arterial wall becomes distorted causing extra stress on the heart.
  • You can monitor your own blood pressure by measuring your pulse rate.
  • Try natural ways to lower blood pressure like dietary changes, stress relievers and exercise.
  • Check with your healthcare professional before making any major diet or exercise changes or trying new supplements.

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