natural ways to lower blood pressure

May is Hypertension Month. Here we discuss six natural ways to lower blood pressure.

Globally, high blood pressure is thought to cause as many as 7.5 million deaths. It is a leading risk factor for many other health problems such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage.

Here are six natural ways to lower blood pressure that do not require medication.

1. Exercise often 

Research has shown that regular aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure by an average of 11/3 mmHg, while strength training also reduced blood pressure. Getting active and exercising, whether at the gym, doing yoga, or taking a walk are reliable ways to get blood pressure into a healthy range.

2. Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of high blood pressure, especially among people that drink excessively and women. Cutting alcohol consumption is one of the simplest, natural ways to lower blood pressure.

3. Maintain a healthy diet

Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, less red meat, and watching calorie intake to maintain a healthy weight are important natural ways to lower blood pressure. Shedding extra pounds is the most effective way to lower blood pressure.

4. Lower sodium intake

In addition to a healthy diet, a diet low in sodium is essential to lowering blood pressure. Studies have shown a direct relationship between high blood pressure and the amount of salt in the diet. Because processed foods are the main source of high-salt diets, preparing more dishes from natural sources is one of the natural ways to reduce blood pressure.

5. Take mineral supplements

Upping the number of minerals, calcium, magnesium, and potassium has shown to be an effective way to lower high blood pressure. Often, because those with high blood pressure eat a diet high in processed foods, the diets are deficient in these minerals.

6. Lower stress

Last but not least in the top natural ways to lower blood pressure is to relax! While stress may not be a direct cause of high blood pressure, stress contributors, such as depression and social isolation, are as harmful to health as other behaviors such as smoking. Relaxation, meditation, and stress management can be used as interventions to help reduce hypertension.

Written by Rebecca K. Blankenship, B.Sc.

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References:

  1. WHO | Raised blood pressure. Who.int. https://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/blood_pressure_prevalence_text/en/. Published 2019. Accessed April 27, 2019.
  2. How high blood pressure can affect your body. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868. Published 2019. Accessed April 27, 2019.
  3. Health Behaviour Management | Hypertension Canada Guidelines. Guidelines.hypertension.ca. https://guidelines.hypertension.ca/prevention-treatment/health-behaviour-management/. Published 2019. Accessed April 27, 2019.
  4. Börjesson M, Onerup A, Lundqvist S, Dahlöf B. Physical activity and exercise lower blood pressure in individuals with hypertension: narrative review of 27 RCTs. Br J Sports Med. 2016;50(6):356-361. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-095786.
  5. Santana N, Mill J, Velasquez-Melendez G et al. Consumption of alcohol and blood pressure: Results of the ELSA-Brasil study. PLoS ONE. 2018;13(1):e0190239. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0190239.
  6. Stamler J, Chan Q, Daviglus M et al. Relation of Dietary Sodium (Salt) to Blood Pressure and Its Possible Modulation by Other Dietary Factors. Hypertension. 2018;71(4):631-637. doi:10.1161/hypertensionaha.117.09928.
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