What is blood pressure? It is the force at which the blood enters the arteries after the heart pumps it.
The blood enters the arteries more forcefully when the blood pressure rises. It puts more pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries. This increased pressure in the arteries causes damage to the blood vessels. This is the situation that we refer to as high blood pressure.
Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It usually doesn’t show symptoms until a significant amount of damage is done to the heart. Most people remain unaware that they have high blood pressure.
It doesn’t show any visible symptoms, and so it’s called a silent killer. Hypertension often has no signs but increases the risk of stroke and heart diseases. So it is known as the silent killer for a good reason.
In the united states, heart diseases are the leading causes behind most deaths. According to the estimation of the American College of Cardiology, hypertension affects about half of the adults in America. About one in three adults in the U.S. suffer from this high pressure.
So, it goes without saying that this high pressure is bad for us. There are varieties of methods available to lower this pressure. In this context we will learn about how to lower blood pressure naturally.
What causes hypertension
Hypertension is another name of common condition high blood pressure. This condition causes the heart to pump faster than the average rate. It usually occurs due to the stiffness and increased pressure in the arteries. There are many causes of hypertension. They include-
- Lack of regular exercise or any other physical activities.
- Fasting or not eating for an extended period, low diet, etc.
- Overweight, obesity, diabetes, prediabetes, insulin resistance, etc.
- Kidney diseases, genetic disorders, and certain medications, etc.
These are some of the common reasons why we suffer from this common problem. Aging is also one of the reasons behind it, if not any other mentioned reasons.
How to measure blood pressure
Before we start discussing how to lower blood pressure naturally, we will discuss and learn a little about measuring this pressure.
Our blood pressure is calculated in millimeters of mercury and abbreviated as mm Hg. Two types of this pressure numbers are involved in this calculation. They are:
Systolic blood pressure: This number represents the pressure in our blood vessels when our heart beats. It will be the top number when we measure our blood pressure.
Diastolic blood pressure: This number represents the pressure in our blood vessels when our heart rests between beats. It will be a lower number when we measure our blood pressure.
The rate of blood pressure depends on the amount of blood our heart pumps. It also depends on the shape and condition of the arteries. The resistance of blood flow in the arteries also plays a significant role in the calculations. The narrower our arteries get, the higher our pressure will become.
The normal pressure is considered to be lower than 120/80 mm Hg. 130/80 mm Hg or above is considered to be high blood pressure. But if the calculations are lower than 130/80 mm Hg and above 120/80 mm Hg. Then your situation falls under the category of elevated blood pressure. This leads to the possibility of developing high pressure or hypertension. But there is a good side of this elevated pressure as well. Lifestyle changes can reduce the possibility of this high pressure without taking medications. Some methods on how to lower blood pressure naturally are discussed below.
How to lower blood pressure naturally
Hypertension affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide in the present world. If left untreated, this condition can increase the risk of heart failures, heart attacks, stroke, and kidney diseases, etc.
If one has elevated type pressure, then the chances of developing hypertension rises. But simple lifestyle changes reduce the chances of developing hypertension even without medication. So, we need to learn about ways to reduce hypertension. Here some effective ways on how to lower blood pressure naturally are described below:
Increase physical activities
When we exercise regularly, our heart and breathing rates start to increase over time. As time passes, our heart becomes stronger and pumps blood with less effort. This puts less pressure on our arteries and helps to decrease our high pressure.
In a 2013 study, several older adults participated in aerobic exercise training. It lowered their high pressure by an average of 3.9 percent systolic and 4.5 percent diastolic. These results proved to be as good as taking some blood pressure medications.
A 2014 review on this pressure suggests that there are many combinations of exercise that can lower this pressure. Aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training, resistance training, or walking 10,000 steps a day may lower this pressure. (9Trusted Source).
A question also rises how much activity should you strive for? According to a 2013 report by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity for 40 minutes, three to four times per week is enough.
But some people find 40 minutes at a time challenging for them. In that case, they can divide the time of the exercises. They may divide it into three or four 10 to 15-minute segments throughout the day. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) also gives similar suggestions.
Also, you don’t have to run marathons to increase your activity levels. You can increase your activity levels by doing simple chores and activities. Such as:
- Try to use the stairs more instead of using the lift.
- Walk to short distance places instead of driving a car.
- Do household chores like cleaning, gardening more often.
- Go out for a bike ride or play in a team sport.
Do these moderate activities regularly and work up to at least half an hour per day.
One example of moderate activity that can provide satisfying results is tai chi. A 2017 review describes the effects of tai chi on this type of pressure. It shows an overall average of a 15.6 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure and a 10.7 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure. (8Trusted Source).
Ongoing studies continue to research the benefits of light physical activities. Mostly it’s effects on high pressure or hypertension in older adults.
2. Lose weight
If you’re overweight, increase your exercise activities and lose some weight. Because losing even 5 to 10 pounds can reduce our blood pressure. It will also help to lower the risk of other medical problems.
A 2016 review of several studies describe the effects of weight loss on hypertension. It reported that weight-loss diets reduced pressure by an average of 3.2 mm Hg diastolic and 4.5 mm Hg systolic.
3. Stop smoking and drink less alcohol
Quitting the habit of smoking is good for our all-around health. Smoking causes an immediate increase in this pressure and a temporary increase in heart rate.
The chemicals in tobacco damage your blood vessel walls, cause inflammation and narrows your arteries. In the end, the arteries become hardened and cause higher pressure or hypertension.
Even if you’re around secondhand smoke, the chemicals in tobacco will affect your blood vessels. A study showed that children around secondhand smoke in the home had higher blood pressure. Their blood pressure was higher than the children from nonsmoking home. (19Trusted Source).
Alcohol intake also plays a significant role in raising our blood pressure. Our blood pressure rises by 1 mm Hg for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed. A standard drink contains 14 grams of alcohol.
So, it’s essential to keep in mind that we should drink in moderation. But what constitutes a moderate drink? One 12-ounce beer, 5-ounces of wine, 1.5-ounces of distilled spirits constitutes an average drink. Moderate drinking limit is up to one drink a day for women. And the limit for men is up to two drinks per day.
4. Cut back on caffeine
If you have high blood pressure, then you should avoid taking caffeine supplements. Though the effect is temporary, caffeine raises your blood pressure. Its effect lasts about 45 to 60 minutes and varies from individual to individual.
Also, some people are way more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, try decaffeinated coffee, or cut back on your coffee consumption.
Research on caffeine, including its merits and demerits, is in the news a lot. A study indicated that caffeine’s effect on increasing hypertension is more significant if your blood pressure is already high.
5. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
A study in 2010 compared a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet. The low-fat diet included a diet drug and produced weight loss like the other diet. But the low-carb diet proved to be more effective in lowering blood pressure.
The low-fat diet, including the drug, lowered hypertension by only 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic. But the low-carb diet decreased hypertension by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic. (12Trusted Source).
A 2012 analysis of low-carb diet effects on heart diseases found that these diets decreased hypertension. It lowered hypertension by an average of 3.10 mm Hg diastolic and 4.81 mm Hg systolic.
Another side effect of a low-carb or low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller and longer. It is because you’re consuming less carbohydrate and more fat and protein.
6. Reduce excess stress
Stressful times in the family and workplace, need of money, rise in expenses. All of these factors contribute to stress. Finding solutions to reduce your stress plays a significant role in lowering hypertension.
Listening to music daily has also helped in reducing systolic blood pressure. A recent study showed that using sauna regularly reduced death from heart-related events. Another small study indicated that acupuncture could lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation have long been used as methods to reduce stress. A 2012 study includes one university program in Massachusetts which had more than 19,000 people. The participants participated in a meditation and mindfulness program to reduce stress.
Yoga is a common exercise that involves breathing control, meditation, and posture techniques. It can also be useful in reducing stress and high blood pressure.
A 2013 review on yoga effects on hypertension found an average blood pressure decline of 3.62 mm Hg diastolic. And 4.17 mm Hg systolic when compared to those who didn’t exercise. Yoga practices that included breathing control, postures, and meditation are nearly twice as effective. Compared to the yoga practices that didn’t have all three of these elements.
7. Eat foods that are high in protein and potassium
A study concluded in 2014 found that people who ate more protein had a lower risk of hypertension. Those who consumed an average of 100 grams of protein per day. They had a 40 percent lower risk of developing hypertension than those on a low-protein diet. Also, those who added fiber into their diet saw a 60 percent reduction in hypertension development.
However, a high-protein diet is not suitable for everyone. Those with kidney disease need to consult with their doctors before starting this diet.
High-protein foods include:
- Fish, such as salmon or canned tuna in water
- Poultry, such as chicken breast, eggs, and beef
- Beans and legumes, such as kidney beans and lentils, chickpeas
- nuts or nut butter such as peanut butter, and cheese, such as cheddar
A 3.5-ounce serving of chicken breast contains about 30 (g) of protein. Also, a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon can have about 22 (g) of protein.
A half-cup serving of most beans contains about 7 to 10 g of protein. And two tablespoons of peanut butter would provide about 8 g of protein.
Also, cutting back on salt and increasing potassium intake can help to lower blood pressure.
Potassium lessens the effects of salt in our diet system and eases tension in the blood vessels. However, like high-protein diets, diets rich in potassium may be harmful to individuals with kidney disease. So, take advice from your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
Many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
- Low-fat dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt, and fish.
- Fruits, such as bananas, apricots, avocados, and oranges.
- Vegetables, such potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach.
Conclusion of lower blood pressure naturally:
Hypertension is a common problem that people suffer worldwide. So, it’s essential to learn how to lower blood pressure naturally. We hope this writing was useful to you and helped you learn how to lower blood pressure naturally.