How to lower your high blood pressure naturally
High blood pressure is a growing problem, which now affects 1 in 4 adults in the UK. Nicknamed a ‘silent killer’ by health professionals, high blood pressure has few symptoms but can cause deadly health issues such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it can be a big wakeup call that you need to make some lifestyle changes. If you can successfully lower your blood pressure naturally, you will reduce your risk of health problems and the need for blood pressure medication.
The good news is, there are many ways you can lower your high blood pressure naturally. Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower and maintain your blood pressure.
Lose weight & maintain your waistline
Blood pressure usually increases as your weight increases. Even more troubling, being overweight can also cause disturbed breathing when you sleep (sleep apnea), which can raise your blood pressure even more.
Therefore, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most effective changes you can make for reducing your blood pressure. If you’re classed as ‘overweight’ on the BMI scale, losing as little as 5-10 pounds can significantly reduce your blood pressure.
Increase your activity levels
You might be inclined to think that working your heart too hard can cause more issues. While it’s true that exercise raises your blood pressure for a short period of time, it lowers your blood pressure long term and increases your heart and breathing rate over time.
If you can’t find time to commit to the gym or exercise, then light activity such as using the stairs instead of taking the lift, walking somewhere instead of driving and cleaning and household chores all count as physical activity and can help reduce your blood pressure long term.
Eat less processed food, salt & sugar
Most salt, sugar and saturated fat comes from processed foods, which can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket. Cut out any takeaways and meals at restaurants to begin with and start to familiarise yourself with labels. Some foods will pose as good for you, but a lot of low-fat items overcompensate with an increased level of salt and sugar.
Eat foods that are naturally high in potassium, rather than sodium, so for example:
- Fruit like bananas, oranges and avocados
- Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes and spinach
- Fish such as salmon, cod and mackerel
- Whole grains like whole-wheat pasta and brown rice
Fill your diet with protein
In addition to cutting down processed foods, swap out anything considered unhealthy for a high-protein alternative. Foods rich in protein include:
- Chicken and turkey
- Beans and legumes
- Fish such as salmon and canned tuna
- Nuts or nut butter such as peanut butter
Eating protein will keep you fuller for longer, which will reduce the temptation for snacks and unhealthy food and help reduce your blood pressure.
Drink less alcohol
Cutting down on alcohol can have a significant effect on your blood pressure. Even if you’re healthy, alcohol can raise your blood pressure by 1mm Hg for every 10 grams consumed. Considering a standard drink contains 14 grams of alcohol, it’s very important to drink in moderation.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine also raises your blood pressure temporarily when you drink it. The effects can last up to an hour, but for those who already have high blood pressure, caffeine can add to the problem. If you know you already have a high blood pressure, it’s best to skip that morning coffee.
Get a good quality night’s sleep
Your blood pressure typically drops when you’re sleeping, so it’s important to get a good quality night’s sleep. For many of us, this can be difficult, but try and get into a routine and relax before bed to help lower your blood pressure. Check out our free online sleep support programme, which is packed full of tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Reduce stress levels
Stress is a part of everyday life but finding ways to reduce your own stress is really important for your blood pressure. Find ways to relax outside of work by taking a walk, reading a book, deep breathing and more. Read more ways to reduce your stress levels
Ask your doctor
As always, we recommend speaking to your doctor to discuss lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your blood pressure naturally before using medication.
If you would like extra support and guidance, we have created a free online well-being support programme, which covers a range of health topics such as heart health and diet.
Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.
Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 14 January 2020
Next review: 14 January 2023