1. Increase your activity level and exercise more
The narrow your arteries are the higher will be your blood pressure. Your blood pressure will depend on how much your blood is pumping.
Blood pressure that’s less than 120/80 mmHg is considered normal. Blood pressure that’s 140/90 mmHg or more is considered high. If your numbers are above normal but under 140/90 mmHg, you fall into the category of what’s called prehypertension. This means that you’re at risk for high blood pressure (2).
Here are 17 ways to lower your blood pressure
2. Lose weight if you’re overweight
It is advised that you lose weight, if you are overweight but for those of you who want to lower your blood pressure, you should pay extra attention to exercises that are bound to burn fats and help you lose weight.
3. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
A study in 2010 compared a low carb diet to a fat carb diet. The low-fat diet includes a diet drug. Both diets produced weight loss, but the low-carb diet did much better in lowering blood pressure. The low-carb diet lowered blood pressure by 4.5-5.9 mmHg. The diet of low fat plus the diet drug lowered blood pressure by only 0.4-1.5 mmHg.
A 2012 analysis of 17 studies of low-carb diets and heart disease risk found that these diets lowered blood pressure by an average of 3.10-4.81 mmHg.
4. Eat less sodium, more potassium
Potassium lessens the effect of salt in your system, and also eases tension in your blood vessels.
Here are a few potassium products.
- dairy foods (milk, yogurt)
- fruits (bananas, apricots, oranges)
- vegetables (sweet potato, potato, tomato, greens, spinach)
Reducing salt intake using the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is recommended by the National Institutes of Health. The DASH diet puts emphasizes on low sodium, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, and fewer sweets and red meats.
5. Eat less processed food
Most of the extra salt in our diet is from processed foods and restaurant food, and not your salt at home. Popular high-salt items are said to be deli meats, canned soup, pizza, chips, and other snacks.
Foods labeled low fat are usually high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat makes you feel full.
Cutting down will give you less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this results in lower blood pressure.
6. Stop smoking
The chemicals in tobacco increases your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessel walls and narrowing your arteries. The hardened arteries cause higher blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco can affect your blood vessels even if you’re around secondhand smoke. Children around secondhand smoke had higher blood pressure than a control group.
7. Reduce excess stress
We live in stressful times. Workplace and family demands, national and international politics — they all contribute to stress. Finding ways to reduce your own stress is important for your health and your blood pressure.
Relieving stress starts with recognizing your stress triggers and your relaxation inducers. Here are some of the best ways to reduce stress, practice taking a walk, watch a comedy, listen to relaxing music.
Music has been successfully used as a therapy to reduce blood pressure. Regular sauna use is also proven to reduce stress and blood pressure.
8. Try meditation or yoga
Mindfulness and meditation, including transcendental meditation, have long been used (and studied) as a method to reduce stress. A 2012 study notes that one university program in Massachusetts has helped more than 19,000 people using a meditation and mindfulness program.
Yoga involves breathing control, posture, and meditation techniques, can also be effective in reducing stress and blood pressure. A 2013 studies of yoga and blood pressure found an average blood pressure decrease of 3.62-4.17 mmHg. Some types of yoga were nearly twice as effective as the average.
9. Eat some dark chocolate
Yes, chocolate lovers: Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure.
But the dark chocolate should be 60 to 70 percent cacao. A Harvard Medical School study found that eating one square of dark chocolate helped lower blood pressure. The benefits are thought to come from the flavoring present in unsweetened chocolate, which help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels.
A study of found people found that higher dark chocolate consumption led to a significant decrease in blood pressure.
10. Try these medicinal herbs
Here’s a partial list of herbs whose effects in lowering blood pressure have been studied in human beings:
- black bean (Castanospermum australe)
- cat’s claw (Uncaria rhynchophylla)
- Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
- coffee weed (Cassia occidentalis)
- giant dodder (Cuscuta reflexa)
- Indian plantago (blond psyllium)
- maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster)
- river lily (Crinum glaucum)
- roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
- sesame oil (Sesamum indicum)
- tomato extract (Lycopersicon esculentum)
- tea (Camellia sinensis)
- umbrella tree bark (Musanga cecropioides)
11. Make sure to get good, restful sleep
Your blood pressure dips down when you’re sleeping. If you don’t sleep well, it can affect your blood pressure. People whose, especially the middle-aged, have an increased risk of high blood pressure.
For some people getting a good sleep isn’t easy. There are many ways to help you get good sleep. Try setting a regular sleep schedule, relaxing, exercising during the day, avoiding daytime naps, and making your bedroom comfortable.
The national Sleep Heart Health Study found that sleeping below 7 hours a night and more than 8 hours a night was associated with an increased prevalence of hypertension. Sleeping less than six hours a night was linked to the highest risk of hypertension.
12. Eat garlic or take garlic extract supplements
Fresh garlic or garlic extract are both widely used by people to lower blood pressure.
According to one clinical study, a time-release garlic extract preparation may have a greater effect than regular garlic powder tablets.
One 2012 review noted a study of 89 people with high blood pressure that found a reduction of 6-12 mmHg, compared with a control group.
13. Eat healthy high-protein foods
A long-term study concluded in 2014 found that people who ate more protein had a lower risk of having high blood pressure. For those who ate an average of 100 grams per day of protein, there was a 40 percent lower risk of having high blood pressure.
It’s not hard to consume 100 grams of protein daily on most types of diet.
High protein food include:
- fish (3 ounces of salmon = 22 grams; canned tuna in water, 1 cup = 39 grams)
- eggs (1 egg = 6 grams)
- poultry (3 ounces of chicken breast = 27 grams)
- beef (3 ounces of lean beef = 22 grams)
- beans (kidney beans, 1/2 cup cooked = 7.6 grams; lentils, 1/2 cup cooked = 9 grams)
- nuts (peanut butter, 2 tablespoons = 8 grams)
- chickpeas (1/2 cup cooked = 7.3 grams)
- cheese (1 ounce of cheddar = 6.5 grams)
14. Take these blood pressure lowering supplements
These supplements are readily available and have had a track record for lowering blood pressure:
- Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (fish oil): A meta-analysis of fish oil and blood pressure found a mean blood pressure reduction of 0.99-1.52 mmHg.
- Protein This protein complex derived from milk has been found to have many health benefits, in addition to lowering blood pressure.
- Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is related to higher blood pressure. A meta-analysis found a small reduction in blood pressure with magnesium supplementation.
- Coenzyme Q10: This antioxidant lowered blood pressure by up to 10-17 mmHg in several clinical studies.
- Citrulline: Oral L-citrulline is a precursor of L-arginine in the body. It’s shown to lower blood pressure.
15. Drink less alcohol
Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, even if you’re healthy.
Drink in moderation. Alcohol raises your blood pressure by 1 mmHg for each .35 ounces of alcohal consumed. Yes, that’s only a little more than a third of an ounce.
Moderate drinking is up to one drink a day for women and two drinks per day for men.
What constitutes a drink? One 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
17. Take prescription medication
If your blood pressure is very high or doesn’t decrease when you make lifestyle changes, consider taking prescriptive drugs. They work and will improve your long-term outcome, especially if you have other risk factors.
Talk with your doctor about the medication possibilities and what might work best for you.