There are several lifestyle adjustments you can make to bring down your blood pressure naturally. Some of them are harder to make, but many of them are rather easy. You can also see our list of foods that help bring down blood pressure for additional help. It’s always best to consult with your doctor if you feel that your blood pressure is too high. Working hand-in-hand with medical professionals provides the fastest and most effective results when trying to lower your blood pressure levels.
1. Get More Exercise
Hands down, a sedentary lifestyle is a leading contributor to high blood pressure, and getting more exercise is the number one thing you can do to bring down your BP without resorting to drugs. Before you write it off, consider that you don’t have to go hard out to get the results you want. Taking a daily stroll will work wonders, and you don’t even have to work up a sweat. You’ll notice that over time as you get more fit you’ll naturally want to challenge yourself by picking up the pace and potentially adding other activities into the mix.
2. Cut out the Cigarettes
Smoking is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure, and has several other drawbacks to it that it’s imperative to try to quit, and don’t stop trying to quit if the first try doesn’t work. It’s well-known that smoking can lead to lung cancer and other respiratory problems, but what’s not as known is that it can also contribute to heart disease. It’s the nicotine in cigarettes that speeds up your heart rate and causes hypertension. Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body and your long-term health and well-being.
3. Get to a Healthy Weight
Being obese or even slightly overweight can have long-term consequences to your health, and plays a direct role in your blood pressure levels. Getting more exercise, as stated above, will be a big help towards this goal. Making changes to the foods you eat, limiting portion sizes, and going out to eat less often may also be in order. Whatever you do, take small steps and give yourself time to adjust to your changes. Drastic and fast overhauls rarely work, and usually send you right back to your old ways with a new sense of defeatism.
4. Eat More Bananas
The potassium in bananas helps to thin the blood, and this in turn should help your blood pressure from getting too high. Keeping your blood properly thinned is an important step in improving your blood pressure statistics, and meeting your daily potassium needs is just one factor. Other good sources of potassium are avocados, which have almost as much as a banana per serving, as well as broccoli, salmon, and even cantaloupe. Check our other food sources of potassium.
5. Take Garlic Supplements
Garlic has been shown to be of great benefit to the circulatory system. The good news is that it doesn’t matter too much how you get garlic into your system, either eating it in your cooking, using garlic powder, or taking a supplement. Since it’s hard to get as much garlic as you need each day from eating it, garlic supplements are a popular choice for those looking to change where their blood pressure levels rest.
6. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol can have both short-term and long-term effects on your blood pressure. Too much is generally considered three or more drinks in a day, and also includes binge drinking of all types. If you continually overindulge you could end up causing long-term increased blood pressure. You don’t need to cut alcohol completely out of your life. In fact many studies have shown that a daily alcoholic beverage of red wine can work to lower your blood pressure, rather than raise it. Moderation is key.
7. Opt for Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can help naturally bring your blood pressure to more healthy levels. Unlike milk chocolate, you can choose how much chocolate is in your dark chocolate, and the recommendation is to keep it at 70% or higher to get the BP-lowering benefits without putting on fat or gaining weight. This is good news for chocolate lovers who may have been laying off the chocolate because of their blood pressure. You’re still advised to eat just a bit of dark chocolate per day, and not overdo it.
8. Stress Less
This may be easier said than done, but it’s worth the time and effort to just “chillax” sometimes. This may involve such things as getting a massage, hopping in a jacuzzi or sauna, having more sex, or taking part in an activity that you find relaxes you. Stress is often referred to as the silent killer because it’s hard to put your finger on stress, and we often only recognize it at our most stressful times. But low-level, consistent stress can be just as damaging as a panic attack or other stress-induced event.
9. Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine can cause your blood pressure to rise, just by drinking a caffeinated beverage. If you habitually drink caffeine each day you are essentially artificially raising your blood pressure over a long period of time, which puts undue stress on your heart and can lead to other complications. Your body will get used to the caffeine over time, which may have you reaching for an additional cup of coffee, or another cola, in order to get the same awake and alert feeling.
10. Reduce Salt Intake
Too much salt in the body can cause you to start retaining water in an effort to help flush the salt from your body. The result is that your blood vessels and heart have to work under the added pressure and strain of this excess water and fluid, which ends up raising your BP levels. One way is to stop the excessive salt intake, which can be hard since many food items have extra sodium added to improve the flavor. You can help flush out extra sodium by eating foods that act as a natural diuretic.
11. Find Your Center
Meditating is one of those things that we know we probably should be doing, but it’s so hard to get into the habit of actually doing it. It can be difficult to set aside the time to clear your mind when so much is going on. You may be better off incorporating a meditative activity into your day rather than just sitting around like a Buddhist monk. Yoga is often used to calm the mind and relax the body, while releasing pent up stress and frustration. It also improves your blood flow and can be very beneficial in your quest to help reduce your blood pressure numbers.
12. Go with Soy Foods
It’s the isoflavones in soy that make it helpful to your blood pressure. These are the same things that are contained in green tea, which is why green tea is one of several foods you can eat and drink to lower your blood pressure. Another benefit to soy is that the protein content makes it a great substitute for certain meat items that would otherwise contribute to high blood pressure. By substituting tofu or tempeh for these meats you are doing double duty to keep your BP in check.
13. Drink Coconut Water
This is one of the easier things you can do to make a difference to your blood pressure. It only involves drinking coconut water. Look for a brand of coconut water that contains no added sugars as this will defeat the health benefits of the drink.