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Healthy You

15 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Thursday, September 22, 2022 10:31 AM

Low section of doctor checking senior woman blood pressure while sitting on sofa at homeKeeping your blood pressure in check is extremely important but can seem like an overwhelming task.

High blood pressure is when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high.

Normal blood pressure for most adults is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80, according to the American Heart Association.

No matter your age, you can take natural steps to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Here, Emily LeuVoy, MD, a family medicine physician with Swedish Hospital, Part of NorthShore, shares her tips to naturally reduce blood pressure:

  • Decrease weight to a BMI of 18.5-24.9. For every kilogram of body weight loss, you can expect a 1 point drop in blood pressure.
  • Following a DASH diet can lower blood pressure by 11 points. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
  • Increase consumption of dairy, fruits, polyunsaturated fats, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Increase consumption of foods high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium (avocados, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu).
  • Increase consumption of vegetables high in nitrates (leafy greens, beetroot).
  • Consider hibiscus tea, pomegranate juice, beetroot juice.
  • Reduce consumption of foods high in sugar and saturated or trans fats (most processed foods).
  • Moderate consumption of coffee and green or black tea.
  • Daily intake of 100 grams of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate has been found to be associated with a 3 point reduction in systolic blood pressure.
  • Limit salt to less than 2.4 grams per day. This could reduce blood pressure by 5-6 points. Avoid adding salt when cooking, use herbs instead. Watch for processed foods including breads and cereals that are surprisingly high in salt.
  • Limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. This can reduce your blood pressure by up to 4 points.
  • Stop smoking if you smoke. Consider cessations programs.
  • Add strength or resistance training 2-3 days a week.
  • Moderate intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week (walking, jogging, cycling, swimming), will lead to reductions of 5-8 points.
  • Stress reduction. Daily mindfulness or meditation appears to improve blood pressure measurements.

 

Dr. LeuVoy is a board-certified Family Medicine physician with clinical interests in Women's Health, Behavioral Health, Lifestyle Medicine, Weight Loss and Nutrition, Wellness and Preventive Care. To make an appointment, click on The Clark.