High blood pressure ups the risk of health problems, including stroke. Home remedies for high blood pressure can help control and prevent hypertension.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means the pressure of blood flowing through your blood vessels is higher than it should be. Over time, this excessive pressure can damage your blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs.
About 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, but many are unaware of their condition because they have no obvious symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s why it’s called the “silent killer” and why you need to know your blood pressure to see if it’s in normal range (less than 120/80 for adults) or too high.
If your blood pressure is consistently elevated, don’t panic. There’s good news: High blood pressure can be brought under control. What’s more, treatment doesn’t necessary mean prescription drug therapy. There are natural remedies for high blood pressure, too.
Although medication may be necessary, research has shown home remedies for high blood pressure can go far to treat hypertension. In fact, for many people, lifestyle and other do-it-yourself remedies can lower high blood pressure without drugs.
DASH tops the list of home remedies for high blood pressure
What if you could lower your high blood pressure by doing something enjoyable, natural, and healthy? It turns out, you can, thanks to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. And this home remedy’s effectiveness for treating hypertension has been documented by years of research.
Multiple studies funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) found the DASH heart-healthy eating style rates high on any list of treatments for high blood pressure. It lowers cholesterol and helps keep weight at a healthy level, too.
The DASH eating plan doesn’t require buying any packaged “diet” meals or unusual foods. Instead, it provides daily and weekly nutritional goals and healthy meal plans that aim for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet comprised of nutritious foods.
To lower high blood pressure the DASH way:
- Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Include fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils in your diet.
- Restrict foods high in saturated fat (like fatty meats, full-fat dairy products), and tropical oils (including palm kernel and palm oils).
- Limit or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
The NHLBI offers a free guide to menu planning, tips on eating out, and other advice on sticking with the DASH eating plan to lower your blood pressure naturally.
More do-it-yourself natural remedies for high blood pressure
- Practice yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques. Stress causes your body to release hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) that put you into “fight or flight” syndrome. Your heart beats faster, blood vessels constrict, and blood pressure rises — at least, temporarily. Chronic stress may be a factor in hypertension, too. Learning stress management strategies, including relaxation techniques, may reduce too high blood pressure.
- Lower alcohol intake to lower blood pressure. Limiting alcohol consumption can help lower (and prevent) hypertension, according to the American Heart Association. If you are a man, stick to no more than two drinks per day and, if you are a woman, no more than one drink per day. (A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, 4 oz. of wine, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.)
- Use the power of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that lessens the effects of excess sodium and helps reduce tension in blood vessels walls, lowering blood pressure, the American Heart Association explains. However, potassium supplements can be harmful in kidney disease and other conditions — so never take them unless prescribed by your doctor. Instead, include potassium rich foods (including potatoes, apricots, halibut, spinach, and lima beans) in your diet.
- Make magnesium a priority. Research shows magnesium may lower high blood pressure, too. Talk to your doctor before taking a supplement, and always stick to the recommended daily amount (too much magnesium can cause diarrhea). Even better, make sure you eat plenty of magnesium-containing foods such as legumes, avocados, tofu, whole grains, and leafy greens.
- Skip the salt shaker and read labels. Many people are sensitive to excess salt — it increases blood pressure because sodium holds excess fluid in your body and can raise blood pressure. Skipping or reducing table salt can help, and so can reading labels to avoid packaged foods with added sodium. Replace salt heavy fast foods with fresh fruit and other healthy snacks.
- Get moving. Simply getting off the couch and into a regular exercise routine can be a powerful home remedy for high blood pressure. Even moderately intense physical activity, like going for a brisk walk, can lower blood pressure if you stick to it for a total of 30 minutes or longer at least 5 days a week.
- Lose those excess pounds. If you are overweight or obese, get serious about losing those extra pounds. Losing just three to five percent of your weight can lower blood pressure, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Use home remedies for high blood pressure wisely
There is no doubt many natural remedies for high blood pressure can help lower high blood pressure. In fact, lifestyle changes are just as important as medication in treating hypertension according to the CDC — and sometimes they work well enough so medication can be avoided or reduced.
However, always follow your doctor’s instructions, and stay on any prescribed medication until your doctor gives you the go ahead to reduce or stop it.
And don’t risk your health by falling for so-called remedies advertised as natural high blood pressure quick fixes. Instead, use home remedies for high blood pressure backed by science — and always check out any self-help treatment for hypertension with your doctor.
April 29, 2019
Janet O’Dell, RN