Eating heart-healthy foods and taking blood pressure medication may help lower your overall blood pressure over time, including your diastolic blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, a doctor or other healthcare professional can recommend many useful measures for reducing it. We’ll look at some of these here. But it’s almost impossible to reduce your diastolic blood pressure alone.

Read on to learn some of the many ways you can lower your blood pressure and to learn more about hypertension.

Follow the 20 tips below to help lower your overall blood pressure, including your diastolic blood pressure.

Focus on heart-healthy foods

Foods that are part of a heart-healthy diet include:

  • vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and carrots
  • fruits, such as apples, oranges, and bananas
  • fish, particularly those rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • lean cuts of beef or pork
  • skinless chicken or turkey
  • eggs
  • fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt
  • whole grains, such as brown rice and whole grain bread
  • nuts and beans

Limit saturated and trans fats

Try not to eat foods that are high in saturated or trans fats. Examples include fast food, hot dogs, and frozen food.

Instead, try to focus on consuming healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can be found in things like avocados, olive or canola oil, and nuts.

Reduce sodium in your diet

Sodium can increase your blood pressure, so limit your intake to 1,500 milligrams or less per day.

Eat more potassium

Potassium can counteract the effect that sodium has on your blood pressure.

Try boosting your consumption of foods rich in potassium, such as:

  • bananas
  • spinach
  • tomatoes

Lay off the caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that may raise your blood pressure. If you have hypertension, try to limit your intake, particularly before activities that can raise your blood pressure, such as exercise.

Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol can raise some people’s blood pressure. But its effect on someone’s blood pressure depends on how much the person consumes and how long afterward they wait to measure their blood pressure.

Alcohol can affect many body systems, and its effects can be complex. Current guidelines recommend that women consume no more than one alcoholic drink per day and men no more than two.

Ditch sugar

Foods with added sugars can add calories to your diet that you don’t need. Adding sugar can increase your risk of obesity, which has a direct effect on your blood pressure.

Avoid foods and drinks that contain added sugars or sweeteners, such as soft drinks, cakes, and candies.

Switch to dark chocolate

A 2010 analysis of 15 studies suggests that dark chocolate may slightly reduce blood pressure due to the presence of substances called flavonoids.

But the sugar and fat content in chocolate may counter these effects. The American Heart Association says the amount you can eat healthily is probably not enough to benefit your health.

Eat chocolate in moderation, and make sure it’s at least 70% cocoa. Also, choose brands with less sugar and fat.

Try the DASH eating plan

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help you practice a heart-healthy diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, following the DASH plan may help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Be sure to check labels

Sometimes, you can consume foods with too many calories, sodium, or fat without knowing it. You can avoid this by carefully reading food labels, noting things such as calories per serving, sodium, and fat content.

Manage weight

People with a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to have high blood pressure. In those who carry extra weight, experts have linked weight loss directly with a reduction in blood pressure. Losing even 10 pounds may have an effect.

Watch your waistline

Research suggests that having a larger waistline can increase your risk of high blood pressure, regardless of your BMI.

Males can reduce their risk by aiming for a waistline of 40 inches or less and females by aiming for below 35 inches.

Stay active

Research shows that regular, moderate exercise can reduce your blood pressure and the risks associated with it. Current guidelines recommend doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Aerobic activities and exercises help you maintain a moderate weight, and they can also help you lower your blood pressure. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week.

Examples of some aerobic activities include:

  • walking
  • running or jogging
  • swimming
  • cycling
  • using an elliptical machine

Reduce stress

Stress can have both short- and long-term effects on your blood pressure.

Tips for managing stress include:

Avoid or quit smoking

The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant that can increase your blood pressure around the time of smoking. It can also cause long-term damage to the walls of your blood vessels.

Quitting smoking can help lower your blood pressure, among other benefits.

Garlic supplements

Although more research may be needed, some research suggests that garlic supplements can help lower your blood pressure.

Use probiotics

Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial to your digestion. A 2016 review article suggests that taking probiotics may help lower blood pressure.

But more studies are needed to understand if this is true and, if so, how probiotics affect your blood pressure.

Give acupuncture a try

Research has indicated that traditional Chinese acupuncture can help lower your blood pressure if you use it alongside other lifestyle measures and, if necessary, medication.

Monitor blood pressure at home

Monitoring your blood pressure at home not only helps you know if your treatment is working, but it can also alert you if your hypertension is worsening.

Tips for getting a reliable reading include:

  • Sit still and calmly while you take your blood pressure.
  • Check blood pressure at the same time each day.
  • Take multiple readings, as your blood pressure can fluctuate.

Consider prescription medications

A doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure.

Common blood pressure medications include:

Blood pressure readings measure the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when these readings become too high.

The following chart shows how doctors diagnose high blood pressure:

DiagnosisSystolic (mm Hg)Diastolic (mm Hg)
Normalunder 120andunder 80
Elevated120–129andunder 80
High (stage 1)130–139or80–89
Very high (stage 2)140 or aboveor90 or above
Hypertensive crisis
(needs immediate medical attention)
more than 180and/ormore than 120

Your systolic blood pressure is the pressure on the walls of your arteries when your heart beats.

Your diastolic blood pressure is the pressure on the walls of your arteries between heartbeats.

Both numbers are equally important.

Why would your diastolic pressure be high?

As with systolic blood pressure, the reasons for high diastolic blood pressure include stress, smoking, caffeine consumption, a lack of exercise, and obesity. High blood pressure often occurs with other conditions, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. It can also increase your risk of a stroke, heart attack, and other diseases.

How can I lower my diastolic pressure naturally?

Lifestyle choices relating to diet, exercise, quitting smoking, and avoiding high levels of alcohol and caffeine can help. You might also try alternative remedies such as tai chi, garlic supplements, and acupuncture, although more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of many such remedies.

What should I do if my diastolic blood pressure is high?

Follow any instructions from a doctor regarding your overall blood pressure, and opt for lifestyle measures that help manage your blood pressure. If you haven’t received a diagnosis of high blood pressure, consider speaking with a doctor.

Can drinking water lower diastolic pressure?

Drinking water is good for your overall health, and a 2020 study suggested it might reduce your systolic blood pressure, although not your diastolic. More research is needed to confirm this, but any action that can lower your blood pressure will benefit you if you have high blood pressure.

There are many ways to lower your blood pressure, including diastolic blood pressure. These include lifestyle choices and medications.

It’s important to remember that you can’t just target your diastolic blood pressure alone. You’ll have to lower your blood pressure as a whole.

If you have high diastolic blood pressure, it’s important to talk with a doctor and work with them to find a treatment plan that’s right for you.