Author: Charles Frank

10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication NCH Healthcare System

how to lower blood pressure without drugs

High-intensity breathing seems to work by promoting the production of nitric oxide, a heart-helpful compound in the cells that line blood vessel walls, Craighead says. Regular breathing workouts help to expand blood vessels, improving blood flow. In addition to dairy, you can get calcium from collard greens and other leafy greens, beans, sardines, and tofu. For most adults, the calcium recommendation is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day. However, some people, including older adults, may need more (35).

how to lower blood pressure without drugs

Regular physical activity can lower high blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg. It’s important to keep exercising to keep blood pressure from rising again. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.

How can I lower my blood pressure quickly without medication?

Let your health care provider know if you often have trouble sleeping. However, if you don’t have sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, follow these simple tips for getting more restful sleep. And although medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Our bodies react to stress by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can raise your heart rate and constrict blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to spike. But breathing exercises and practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi can help keep stress hormones—and your blood pressure—in check, Dr. Williams says.

  1. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure.
  2. For example, by regularly exercising, managing their weight, and making dietary changes.
  3. “Some patients’ blood pressure is up all the time and, when they come into the office, it’s normal,” Dr. Weinberg says.
  4. This step count was not only key to lowering blood pressure, but it also helped keep weight under control.
  5. But even for patients who are prescribed medications for high blood pressure, lifestyle will always be a factor.

Freeman says that for patients who have mildly elevated blood pressure, he’ll recommend a multi-week program of lifestyle changes. The effect is comparable to that of aerobic exercise, such as walking or running — though you’ll want to continue your regular workouts for other health benefits. And this breath training can lower blood pressure as effectively as hypertension medications, researchers have noted.

When that happens, Dr. Weinberg says she’ll usually recommend starting medication. Keep in mind, though, that going on medication for high blood pressure doesn’t mean you’ll be on it forever. Probiotics have been buzzy for some time now—and touted to ease digestion and support immune health.

ways to lower blood pressure without medication

This is largely due to increased consumption of processed and prepared foods. However, there are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication. Freeman points to a 2017 study that he co-authored in which 90 percent of the more than 900 cardiologists surveyed reported that they’d received no or minimal nutrition education during their training. You’ll soon start receiving the latest Mayo Clinic health information you requested in your inbox.

A growing body of scientific evidence identifies that social stressors, work stress, as well as low socioeconomic status and discrimination, all increase the risk of hypertension. It recommends four to five servings each of fruits and vegetables, six servings of whole grains, and two or three servings of low-fat dairy per day, while minimizing added sugar and sodium. If you’re overweight or have obesity, losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce blood pressure. Lifestyle tweaks such as losing weight, reducing salt intake, exercising, limiting alcohol and lowering stress are all effective ways to wrangle hypertension, research shows. The authors of a 2021 review concluded that practicing diaphragmatic breathing, a deep breathing technique, twice daily for 4 weeks could lead to a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (33).

Not only does drinking more alcohol than the standard rec of one drink per day for women and two for men raise blood pressure, but it can also make BP medications less effective, according to Dr. Jean. In fact, research shows that alcohol has a “direct and linear” relationship with systolic blood pressure (the first number in your BP reading), meaning that the more you drink, the higher that number creeps. Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and low in saturated fat and cholesterol can lower high blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg. Examples of eating plans that can help control blood pressure are the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet. Though any cuts you make to your alcohol consumption move the needle for heart health, Dr. Jean recommends doing your best to stick to that general recommendation of a drink per day for women and two for men.

Additionally, some research suggests that doing more exercise than this reduces your blood pressure even further (4). High blood pressure affects nearly half of American adults and 1 billion people worldwide (1, 2). While patients who follow this plan might initially miss eating their favorite foods, he says the results tend to speak for themselves. Freeman says that for many patients, the prospect of taking a simple medication is seen as easier and more appealing than undergoing lifestyle changes. By the end of this period, half of the participants had lowered their blood pressure to a recommended level while other participants also attained lower blood pressure.

Drink wisely

When you experience stress, you might also be more likely to engage in habits that can have negative effects on blood pressure, such as drinking alcohol and eating processed foods (17). If you already have high blood pressure, it’s worth cutting back your sodium intake to see whether it makes a difference. Swap processed foods for fresh ingredients and try seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt. Home blood pressure monitors are available widely and without a prescription.

These results are equivalent to the effects of standard blood pressure medications. In all, 93 percent of the participants were able to reduce their dose or eliminate medications entirely. In addition to the diet, participants get regular exercise, drink adequate amounts of water, and get a good night’s sleep. The program revolves around following a vegan diet with primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. A new program developed by a research team focuses on diet, exercise, and sleep as the keys to lowering your blood pressure without using drugs. Some patients even have elevated blood pressure when they come into the doctor’s office (a phenomenon known as “white coat hypertension”) and actually may not have high blood pressure otherwise, she points out.

Mayo health library

While magnesium deficiency is pretty rare, many people don’t get enough magnesium in their diet. There’s a growing body of research showing a link between added sugar intake and high blood pressure (27). While eating massive amounts of dark chocolate probably won’t help your heart, small amounts may. However, other research indicates that the relationship between sodium and high blood pressure is less clear (7).

An immediate way to reduce stress is to get active, stretch, and practice deep breathing. In fact, getting 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, such as running, can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health (3). They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the care provider’s office or start an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall health, possibly leading to a longer life. Even a small reduction of sodium in the diet can improve heart health and reduce high blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg.

A 2020 research review found that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was linked to higher blood pressure levels in children and adolescents (28). To get a better balance of potassium and sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods. One reason for this may be genetic differences in how people process sodium. About half of people with high blood pressure and a quarter of people with typical levels seem to have a sensitivity to salt (8). Carrying too much weight around the waist can increase the risk of high blood pressure.

The study of 208 people with somewhat elevated blood pressure found that those who practiced tai chi for three months significantly decreased their blood pressure, compared with those who didn’t. But drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

Beth Howard is a North Carolina–based health and lifestyle writer. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Prevention, Better Homes & Gardens and Reader’s Digest. There are similar devices on the market to get your diaphragm and other breathing muscles in better shape — and to possibly lower your blood pressure.

When you do go for premade foods, make it a habit to read labels and opt for lower-sodium versions of things you eat often, like soups, tomato sauces, canned goods, and condiments, per the AHA. Sodium is a notorious foe for anyone trying to get their blood pressure down, so minding the salt in your diet is a must-do. Though most Americans consume upwards of 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day (mostly from packaged and restaurant foods), the AHA recommends sticking below 2,300 milligrams—and ideally below 1,500 mg if you have high blood pressure. Research suggests this change alone can pull your BP reading down by up to eight mmHg.