Medications may help lower your blood pressure. However, many other dietary and lifestyle changes could also help, such as exercising more, improving your sleep, and limiting your sugar and alcohol intake.
High blood pressure (hypertension) often has no symptoms but is a major risk of heart disease and stroke.
A reading of 120–129 over less than 80 is elevated blood pressure. This means you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend some lifestyle tips for managing your blood pressure so that it doesn’t become too high.
Here are 18 effective ways to lower your blood pressure levels.
Regular exercise means you regularly increase your heart and breathing rates. Over time your heart gets stronger and pumps with less effort. This puts less pressure on your arteries and lowers your blood pressure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend doing at least
Tips for increasing your activity levels include:
- using the stairs
- walking instead of driving
- doing household chores
- going for a bike ride
- playing a team sport
Having additional body weight puts a strain on the heart and the cardiovascular system. This can raise blood pressure.
If your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or over, losing
The three key ways of doing this are to:
- move more
- eat less
- eat healthily
People with overweight or obesity who followed low carb and low fat diets saw their diastolic blood pressure fall by an average of about 5 mm Hg and their systolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg after 6 months.
Best foods for high blood pressure
Increasing your potassium intake and cutting back on salt can help lower your blood pressure.
A high salt intake can
High potassium foods include:
- dried fruit, such as apricots and prunes
- milk and yogurt
- lentils and kidney beans
- vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach
However, a high potassium intake may be harmful to people with kidney disease, so talk with your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
The DASH diet emphasizes:
- eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- consuming low or zero-fat dairy products
- eating fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- limiting foods that are high in saturated fats and added sugars
- processed meats
- many fast or fried foods
- processed snacks
Foods labeled low fat may be high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food taste and makes you feel full.
Eating less processed food will help you eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this can result in lower blood pressure.
Smoking can affect your all-around health, including your blood pressure.
In the long term, the chemicals in tobacco can increase your blood pressure by:
- damaging your blood vessel walls
- causing inflammation
- narrowing your arteries
The hardened arteries cause higher blood pressure.
The chemicals in tobacco can affect your blood vessels even if you’re around secondhand smoke.
Finding ways to manage stress is important for your health and your blood pressure.
Ways of relieving stress depend on the individual but can include:
Cacao contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that may help lower blood pressure. These flavonoids may help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels.
However, the American Heart Association notes that while eating a little dark chocolate is unlikely to be harmful, the amount a person is likely to eat per day will probably not provide enough flavonoids to produce health benefits.
Chocolate that is high in sugar, fat, or calories may not be beneficial.
Some herbal medicines may help lower blood pressure. However, more research is needed to identify the doses and components in the herbs that are most useful.
Some plants and herbs that people use to lower blood pressure include:
- black bean (Castanospermum australe)
- cat’s claw (Uncaria rhynchophylla)
- celery juice (Apium graveolens)
- Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
- ginger root
- giant dodder (Cuscuta reflexa)
- Indian plantago (blond psyllium)
- maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster)
- river lily (Crinum glaucum)
- roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
- sesame oil (Sesamum indicum)
- tomato extract (Lycopersicon esculentum)
- tea (Camellia sinensis), especially green tea and oolong tea
- umbrella tree bark (Musanga cecropioides)
There is not enough evidence to confirm that herbal remedies can help manage blood pressure.
Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal supplements. They may interfere with your prescription medications.
One reason may be that your blood pressure typically dips when you’re sleeping. If you don’t sleep well, you may not experience this phase.
Tips for sleeping well
- setting a regular sleep schedule
- exercising during the day but not too close to bedtime
- sleeping in a cool, darkened room
- leaving devices outside the sleeping room
- not eating or drinking caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime
Fresh garlic or garlic extract may help lower blood pressure.
This was true whether the protein was animal or plant based.
Previous studies had already suggested that consuming protein may lower blood pressure in the short term.
High-protein foods include:
- fish, such as salmon or canned tuna in water
- poultry, such as chicken breast
- lean beef
- beans and legumes, such as kidney beans and lentils
- nuts or nut butter, such as peanut butter
- low fat cheese and other dairy products
Anyone considering switching to a high protein diet should first speak with a doctor, as it may not be suitable for everyone. It is also essential to balance different types of protein and to balance protein foods with other items.
Supplements that may help manage blood pressure include:
However, there is not enough evidence to confirm that most supplements can manage blood pressure.
Always check with a doctor before using a supplement, as not all supplements are safe for everyone. They may worsen other conditions or interact with existing drugs.
A standard drink contains around
Despite the hype, drinking a lot of red wine is not beneficial for heart health, according to the
They suggest limiting alcohol intake to two standard drinks per day for males and one per day for females.
A drink is:
- one 12-ounce beer
- 4 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits
- 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits
People who usually consume
However, your blood pressure might go up if you consume a lot of coffee or even a small amount when you are not used to it.
In contrast, high-caffeine energy drinks
If you find that caffeine is affecting how you feel, you might want to try decaffeinated coffee.
Water can boost overall health and may have many other benefits.
If your blood pressure is very high or doesn’t decrease after making these lifestyle changes, your doctor
Talk with your doctor about possible medications and what might work best for you.
What will bring blood pressure down quickly?
This will depend on the cause and any existing diagnoses you have. Sitting quietly and doing breathing exercises might help. A person with an existing diagnosis may need to take their prescribed medication. If your blood pressure is
What are 7 ways to lower high blood pressure?
Apart from medication, there are many natural ways to lower blood pressure.
- exercising regularly
- managing your weight
- eating a healthy and varied diet
- limiting alcohol intake
- quitting or avoiding smoking
- getting quality sleep
- managing stress
What is the number one food that causes high blood pressure?
There is a
High blood pressure increases the risk for a number of health conditions. People can often prevent it or manage it at home through exercise, dietary choices, stress management, and other strategies.
If home remedies do not help, or your blood pressure is very high, it’s best to see a doctor.