6 Ways (Besides Reducing Sodium Intake) to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

One in three adults in the United States suffers from high blood pressure. But, just over half (54 percent) have the condition under control. With more than 1,100 deaths every day being attributed to high blood pressure or the diseases in which it plays a contributing cause, such as heart disease (the #1 killer in the U.S.), kidney disease, and stroke, you can see how important it is to manage your blood pressure and keep it under control.

The good thing is that high blood pressure can be treated and even reversed, all without the use of medications in some cases. It just takes a few changes to your daily lifestyle and eating habits. Reducing sodium (salt) is frequently recommended for blood pressure lowering but there are other lifestyle changes that can have an impact.

6 Ways (Besides Reducing Sodium Intake) to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Here are six more ways you can start lowering your blood pressure naturally.

 

#1: Reduce the Amount of Carbohydrates You Eat

Studies have linked refined starches and sugars to higher blood pressure levels. The reason is because eating a diet that is high in these refined carbohydrates causes the body’s insulin level to rise, eventually leading to insulin resistance. Insulin signals the body to hold on to water and salt and thus, blood pressure levels can elevate.

Meanwhile, additional studies suggest that eating a low-carb diet can produce a 5-point drop in the body’s insulin levels, which not only helps reduce blood pressure, it, also reduces the risk of prediabetes and/or Type 2 diabetes.

 

#2: Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables are rich in magnesium and potassium, essential minerals that can lower your blood pressure. Potassium is especially essential because it helps rid the body of sodium.  In one study, researchers found that taking 368 mg of magnesium supplements daily for three months reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 2 points and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 points.

Fruits and vegetables that contain magnesium and potassium include:

  • Bananas
  • Apricots
  • Beans
  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Melons
  • Avocados


Berries are also excellent choices because they contain polyphenols that promote heart health and can lower blood pressure. As you probably know, some of the above foods are high in calories and carbohydrates (i.e., bananas, potatoes) so you may need to limit their intake if you are watching your calories or carbohydrates.

 

#3: Increase Your Dairy Intake

Calcium, found most richly in dairy products, is most commonly associated with creating healthy bones, but one percent of all of the calcium in the body circulates through the bloodstream where it helps blood vessels contract and expand. The role of this one percent is so important that if the body ever becomes low in calcium, the mineral will be leached from the bones so this job can still performed. In fact, one of the most common classes of blood pressure medicines is calcium channel blockers, such as amlodipine, nifedipine and diltiazem, which affect the entry of calcium into muscle cells of heart and blood vessels. Studies have shown that the lower your calcium is, the higher you can expect your blood pressure to be.

Common dairy sources, of course, are milk, yogurt and cheese. Lower carbohydrate options include cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese.

 

#4: Increase Aerobic Exercise

Getting enough exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure. This is because as you’re working out, your heart is becoming stronger and your blood vessels are becoming more elastic. Both of these changes lead to naturally lower blood pressure. In fact, practicing just 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day has been shown to lower blood pressure by 8 to 10 points. Exercise is one area where the more you do it, the greater your results will be. But remember to increase the amount and intensity of your exercise gradually to avoid injury or other health complications.

 

#5: Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is a direct contributor to 16 percent of all high blood pressure cases around the world. But, drinking alcohol in moderation has been shown to actually protect the heart. The key is not overindulging because too much alcohol will cause the blood pressure to rise.

The appropriate number of drinks per day is no more than two for men and one for women. Drinking more than that can elevate your blood pressure.

 

#6: Lose Weight

For every pound you weigh over your healthy body weight, your insulin resistance level increases and this causes your blood pressure to climb. But, for every 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) you lose, your blood pressure will drop by 1 point, on average. The good thing is that by following the previous five ways of lowering your blood pressure, losing weight often occurs naturally.

 

 

SOURCES

https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21357284

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20800119

http://openheart.bmj.com/content/1/1/e000167.full

https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/one-day-low-carb-diet-decreases-insulin-resistance-study-finds/

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