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18 Scientific Ways to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

Do the readings on your blood pressure monitor worry you? High blood pressure or hypertension is considered a “silent killer” because it can cause significant damage to your heart without any apparent symptoms. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 119.9 million adults in the US have hypertension, which means having readings of 130/80 mm Hg or more. 

While medications are a surefire way to reduce blood pressure, other proven methods can help you naturally regulate your blood pressure. These include certain lifestyle and dietary changes, and if adopted properly, they can delay or reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medicines. 

Let’s explore these scientifically proven ways to lower blood pressure. 

1. Cut Back on Salt

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Salt or sodium is a regular ingredient in American diets and one of the significant culprits behind high blood pressure. It pulls water into the bloodstream, increasing blood volume and elevating blood pressure. While a little bit of sodium is needed to maintain the body’s fluid balance, too much is a problem. 

So, when it comes to sodium consumption, less is more. It is recommended to limit sodium to 2300mg per day (1 tsp salt), with an ideal limit of 1500mg per day for those with hypertension. Reducing it to 1000 mg is even better because it lowers blood pressure in the long run. 

Also, look carefully at the food labels to spot hidden sodium and opt for fresh produce whenever possible. 

2. Stay Physically Active

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Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to regulate blood pressure. It can lower high blood pressure by 5-8mm Hg. And the good news is that it doesn’t have to be intensive or long sessions. Any physical activity that increases your heart rate and keeps you moving is enough to keep your blood pressure in check.

According to the American Heart Association, it is recommended to do moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week. It could be anything from walking, climbing stairs, dancing, gardening, or even swimming. 

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight

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Maintaining a healthy weight is important in every aspect of life. People who are obese or overweight may have a higher chance of having hypertension. Excessive weight strains your heart and blood vessels, contributing to high blood pressure. 

Even shedding a few pounds can improve your blood vessels’ ability to expand and contract and have a great impact on blood pressure and overall health. 

4. Eat a Heart Healthy Diet

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Diet plays a crucial role in managing high blood pressure. A heart-healthy diet includes whole, processed foods and limits on red meat, hydrogenated oils, processed sugars, and salt. 

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is also designed specifically for people with hypertension. It includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and low-fat dairy products. 

You can also discuss your diet plan with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider. 

5. Quit Smoking

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It goes without saying, but smoking does no good to your health. Apart from damaging your lungs, it can greatly affect heart health. Every puff of the cigarette correlates to an increase in blood pressure. 

The nicotine in cigarettes harms the lining of blood vessels, making them susceptible to plaque buildup and narrowing, leading to high blood pressure. 

If you smoke, the biggest favor you can do for your health is to quit smoking as early as possible. The benefits of smoke cessation on heart and blood pressure are almost immediate. Seek support from friends, family, and healthcare providers to help you quit this deadly habit. 

6. Get Adequate sleep

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Studies have shown that more than 1 in 3 Americans are sleep-deprived; no wonder why so many Americans suffer from high blood pressure. 

Both insomnia and sleep deprivation are linked with high chances of hypertension. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body starts releasing the stress hormone cortisol in excessive amounts, which can raise blood pressure. 

Get 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night. Adopt a sleep time ritual and make your room comfortable and cozy so that your body can get the rest it needs to avoid health complications. 

7. Limit Caffeine Intake

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If you’ve ever had a cup of coffee before checking your blood pressure, you might know that caffeine causes an instant blood pressure boost. Caffeine is a stimulant found in tea, coffee, sodas, chocolates, and energy drinks. 

While it’s safe for most people in moderation, but can cause a dramatic surge in blood pressure for people not used to its effects.

Research suggests that the impact of caffeine on high blood pressure varies depending a person’s tolerance level and how much they consume in a day. To keep blood pressure in check, assess your response to caffeine and limit intake if necessary. 

8. Avoid Excessive Sugar

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Consuming too much sugary foods increases the risk of various health problems, including hypertension.

Although sodium is known to cause high blood pressure, eating processed sugar can also increase it by affecting nitric oxide production in blood vessels. Nitric oxide is needed to widen blood vessels and maintain normal blood pressure.

When you eat excessive sugar, it affects Nitric oxide production and leads to Vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of the blood arteries, resulting in hypertension.

9. Mindfulness and Meditation

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Studies have shown that engaging in relaxation exercises such as yoga or mindful breathing daily for 15 minutes has a significant effect on lowering blood pressure.

Deep breathing and meditation potentially reduce the production of stress hormones, which is a primary contributor to high blood pressure. When you feel calm and relaxed, your blood pressure drops down.

10. Keep Yourself Hydrated

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Dehydration is one of the underlying reasons for hypertension. When you don’t drink enough water, dehydration can cause your blood pressure to fall rapidly and then elevate significantly in response. 

Adequate water intake keeps the blood vessels dilated, ensuring smoother blood flow and lowering blood pressure. It also helps improve kidney function, which is crucial in filtering out excessive sodium from the body, in turn keeping the blood pressure maintained. Aim to drink at least 8-ounce glasses of water daily for overall health. 

11. Drink Hibiscus Tea

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Some natural supplements also help lower blood pressure. Hibiscus tea is made from dried leaves of Hibiscus flowers. One major study suggests that hibiscus tea has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic (the top and bottom numbers on your reading).

The benefit lies in the hibiscus root, which contains antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals that lead to oxidative stress. So, if your blood pressure is higher, try hibiscus tea with a dash of honey for a pleasant taste. 

12. Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly

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Monitoring your blood pressure regularly at home can make it easier to track changes and make lifestyle changes accordingly. While an occasional spike in readings may not be a cause for worry, if you see the readings going up constantly, you may have hypertension that needs a visit to a health professional. 

Another essential component of blood pressure management is to get it checked by your provider at least once a year. Also, consult your doctor about how frequently you should check your blood pressure to see if it is controlled. 

13. Eat Berries

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Berries have a flavor that goes beyond being juicy. They also include a wealth of naturally occurring plant compounds called polyphenols, which are heart-healthy. Polyphenols help lower blood pressure, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation while lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Berries and diets high in polyphenols are easy and effective ways to support your heart and overall health.

14. Consume More Potassium

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Potassium is a vital mineral that helps regulate various body functions. Increasing potassium intake lowers blood pressure levels, especially in hypertension patients. 

Add potassium-rich foods to your diet, including bananas, leafy greens, avocados, and beans. Consuming 4700 mg of potassium daily is recommended to help maintain bodily functions effectively. Too much potassium can also be a problem, so talk to your doctor about any dietary changes first.

15. Manage Your Stress Levels

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One of the leading causes of high blood pressure is stress. Chronic stress puts your body in a fight-or-flight mode all the time. It also releases stress hormones that lead to narrowed blood arteries and an increased heart rate.

Stress may also increase your likelihood of adopting behaviors like alcohol consumption and processed food consumption, which can raise blood pressure.

Adopt stress management techniques such as yoga, journaling, spending time in nature or with loved ones, etc. Experiment and see what works best for you. 

16. Consume Dark Chocolate

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This is everyone’s favorite prescription to lower blood pressure. Studies suggest that dark chocolate significantly reduces blood pressure. This is because cocoa in dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are plant-based chemicals that stimulate blood vessels to widen, thereby reducing blood pressure. 

However, chocolate with added sugars and fats might not be beneficial. Look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% or more.

17. Limit Alcohol Consumption

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Excessive drinking is a well-established reason for hypertension, which further leads to other cardiovascular issues. While one to two drinks for men and one for women is recommended as a moderate intake, if you want to keep your BP levels in check, think about cutting back on alcohol or ditching it altogether. 

If you are still determining how much is safe for you, it is a great idea to talk to a healthcare provider. 

18. Seek Support

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A supportive network of friends and family is crucial for overall health. To help you maintain low blood pressure, they might start an exercise regimen with you, drive you to the care provider’s office, or encourage you to take care of yourself.

Consider joining a support group if you discover that you require assistance from sources other than your friends and family. This could connect you with people who can support you emotionally or morally and provide helpful advice on managing your condition.

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Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism, protecting itself against threats like infections and injuries. However, the prolonged presence of chronic inflammation can become a significant concern, potentially leading to various health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. What might surprise you is the substantial impact your dietary choices can have, either worsening or alleviating inflammation.

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