Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » Naturally Effective Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Naturally Effective Ways to Lower Blood Pressure


According to the latest statistics from the American Heart Association, 28-percent of U.S. adults suffer from high blood pressure and risk a correlated heart attack, aneurysm, stroke, or kidney failure. While prescription drugs are one option for reducing dangerously high blood pressure, the related side effects—including insomnia, painful leg cramps, lightheadedness, and even fainting spells—are not worth the dangers to many patients.

If you aren’t sold on a lifetime of taking medication, talk to your doctor about these effective strategies for naturally and safely lowering your blood pressure…

Want diet & nutrition content delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our exclusive diet & nutrition newsletter!

1. Lower Sodium Intake

Nutritionists from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute point out that certain denominations—including folks of African American descent, people with a family history of elevated blood pressure, and elderly individuals—are prone to salt-sensitive blood pressure. Unfortunately, doctors can’t test you to pinpoint the sodium-sensitivity.

For this reason, reducing salt in your diet is essential if you suffer from high blood pressure. That means avoiding extra salt on your popcorn and vegetables as well as cutting processed snacks, prepared sauces and spice mixes, salad dressings, and canned foods containing excess levels of salt from your diet completely. Learn to examine food labels closely to know exactly how much salt you’re actually eating.

2. Brew Decaf Coffee

Even though controversy swirls around the influence of caffeine on blood pressure, reputed medical studies continually connect caffeine with dangerously elevated blood pressure. For instance, researchers from Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina, say that 3, 8-ounce cups of java per day will increase an individual’s blood pressure by up to 4-mmhg (or millimeter of mercury), which will keep blood pressure soaring well past bedtime.

The Duke researchers claim that drinking caffeinated beverages—including soda, coffee, and caffeinated teas—magnifies stress response by causing blood vessels to constrict while pumping more blood and increasing heart rate. If you already have elevated blood pressure, caffeine can have a detrimental impact on your heart health.

3. Relax to Music

The findings of a research study from the University of Florence, in Italy will be music to your ears if you suffer from high blood pressure!  Scientists monitored the effects of soothing classical, Indian, or Celtic tunes on 28 patients diagnosed with high blood pressure who also took hypertension medication.

Study participants listened to the music for 30-minutes each day while relaxing and focusing on breathing for a one-week duration and a one-month duration. When researchers measured the systolic readings of the patients after one week they discovered a 3.2-point drop, on average. After a month of music listening, the same patients’ systolic readings were 4.4-points lower, on average.

4. Cure the Snoring Beast

If you snore chronically (just ask your partner or spouse, they’ll tell you) chances are you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA), a condition linked to elevated aldosterone hormone levels and high blood pressure.

A study conducted by University of Alabama researchers speculates that roughly half of patients with sleep apnea also suffer from undiagnosed high blood pressure. This elevated blood pressure is triggered by severe breathing interruptions during sleep that lead to loss of shut-eye, daytime fatigue, weight gain, and hormonal imbalances.

5. Load Up on Potatoes

First off let me be clear that not all potatoes (or preparations of the vegetable) are created equally. That means this is not an excuse to eat as many French fries as you can in one sitting. However, incorporating healthy versions of the spud (i.e., plain baked, boiled, or grilled) into your weekly diet can help reduce high blood pressure.

In fact, doctors of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, link the high potassium source to healthier blood pressure levels. Additional potassium-rich veggie sources include raisins, prunes, sweet potatoes, bananas, and tomatoes.

6. Break for Fitness

The American Heart Association recommends daily exercise for all hypertensive patients. Safe forms of fitness should be vigorous, but not too impactful for those new to exercise. For instance, daily 30-minute walks, swimming laps or doing aqua fitness, yoga, qui gong, cycling, and aerobics classes (i.e., Zumba) can be a great way to loose excess weight while safely lowering blood pressure.

While it’s important to listen to your body and go at your own pace, daily physical fitness will encourage more efficient heart-oxygen exchange, putting less stress on your heart as it pumps blood. Plus, as you become accustomed to daily exercise, you’ll be able to increase duration, intensity, and speed.

7. Moderate Drinking Encouraged

Remember what I said about the potatoes? Well, it turns out that drinking alcohol (as long as it stays moderate) can also have positive effects on our cardiovascular health.  So says a recent review study from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital that found women with high blood pressure who drank moderate amounts (i.e., 5-ounces of wine) actually reduced blood pressure by a whole point when compared to women patients who didn’t drink at all.

Of course there is a fine line between light drinking and imbibing more than 1.5-ounces of spirits, 5-ounces of wine, or 12-ounces of beer in a sitting, ladies.  Researchers agree that moderate drinking—which is no more than two drinks for males and one drink for females—can protect the heart and reduce the overall risk of heart disease.

8. Put a Stop to Overtime Hours

We all know what a week or more of overtime hours does to our bodies. Suddenly, we’re eating take out on the way to and from the office, sitting all day long in the same spot, and exercising…well, not at all.  It comes as no surprise that working too much increases stress and leads to high blood pressure, weight gain, heart attack, and stroke.

When researchers at the University of California, Irvine, studied the work habits of 24,205 California residents they found that those who worked in excess of 41 hours per week increased their risk of hypertension by 15-percent. So remember, even though you’re tempted to burn the candle at both ends, breaking at 5pm for a run and a healthy, home cooked meal will protect your heart and extend your longevity.

ADVERTISEMENT

More on ActiveBeat
  • 6 Medical Facts about Dysautonomia Disorder
    Dysautonomia is a term that covers a variety of malfunctions of the autonomic nervous system (all the functions of the body that you don't consciously control).
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Incredible Health Benefits of Turmeric
    If you've tried putting turmeric, the burnt orange colored spice ground from a root, then you're seriously missing out.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Lifestyle Tips for Managing Diabetes
    Being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can be really scary, and for good reason: failing to maintain healthy blood sugar levels could result in serious health...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Unsheathing 13 Health Benefits of Barley
    Beer lovers rejoice – barley, which most beer is made from, has many positive health benefits (as long as you drink in moderation).
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    Most of us know that getting roughly 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each week is an important part of staying healthy. But so few of us actually reach that goal. Why?
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of Beets
    Sure, they might look a little rugged on the outside, but beets are actually quite friendly when it comes to our health.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits of Walnuts
    Nuts are one of those foods that we're not sure what to do with because while we know most of them are healthy for us (unsalted, of course), we are also frequently told they are...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • The Incredible Health Benefits (and Risks) of Grapefruits
    This tangy fruit has a seriously bold taste which makes it a bit of an acquired taste, but it's worth a try because it's got some incredible health benefits!
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Ways Sun Exposure Can Brighten Your Health
    The summer is coming to an end in the U.S., but there's plenty of sunshine to enjoy, and you can't discount the many ways getting outside in the sunshine can benefit health...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Lifestyle Tips for Lumbar Stenosis
    Lumbar stenosis is a type of spinal stenosis, a condition that affects the spine by narrowing the spinal columns and pressing on the spinal cord.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Pros and Cons of Immunotherapy
    Cancer is one of those words we don't like to use or hear because it carries a lot of weight. It's scary.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Best Foods for Pancreatitis
    The food we eat has a huge impact on our health in so many ways, some obvious like our weight, and others not so obvious like setting the stage for heart disease, diabetes, etc.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Acute Pancreatitis vs. Chronic Pancreatitis: What's The Difference?
    We've all heard about our pancreas before, but do you actually know what it does? Our pancreas is actually a large gland that sits behind the stomach.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Worst Foods for Anxiety
    Anxiety is something many people struggle with on a daily basis. It's often caused by stress, something a lot of us are quite familiar with.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Mesothelioma: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
    Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects tens of thousands of people every year. Like most cancers, there is no known cure, but plenty of treatment options available to keep...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice