Lower Your Blood Pressure With These Helpful Tips

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one third of Americans currently have high blood pressure. The symptoms for high blood pressure often go unnoticed, but can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease or stroke. If you are experiencing high blood pressure, read on to see what you can do to lower it.

Avoid Drinking Caffeine

A young woman samples freshly-brewed cappuccino
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Some people can’t go without their morning cup of coffee, but it may be time to quit. Caffeine is known to raise blood pressure.

While this effect is only temporary, blood pressure will rise for approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Also, people who already have high blood pressure have a greater risk for raising it with caffeine.

Try To Reduce Your Stress

Andy Murray yelling
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Work, school, finances, and more can lead to stress, which is very normal. However, once it becomes chronic stress, it can cause high blood pressure.

Some people turn to unhealthy alternatives to deal with stress such as junk food or harmful substances. Instead, try finding time to relax and discover your stress triggers.

Cut Back On The Sodium

someone pouring salt on a hard surface
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Americans are one of the biggest consumers of processed foods, which typically contain large amounts of sodium. Sodium is one of the the leading causes of high blood pressure and heart conditions.

Those who have high blood pressure should seriously consider cutting back on their salt intake. Instead, try experimenting with other spices and hold off on the prepared food.

Eat More Potassium

a bunch of ripe yellow bananas
Richard Whiting/Getty Images
Richard Whiting/Getty Images

People should be mindful about getting enough potassium in their diet. Not only is it a great health resource, but it can ease the tension in your blood vessels.

Some foods that are high in potassium include low-fat dairy items, fish, fruit, and vegetables. Potassium can also remove salt in your system, which decreases the risk of high blood pressure.

Eating Dark Chocolate Can Help

dark chocolate on a piece of silver wrapping
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A 2010 study found that people who don’t have hypertension and regularly ate dark chocolate had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t eat it.

“It’s likely that a compound in dark chocolate known as flavonoids releases a substance known as nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels,” said Sameer K. Mehta, M.D., a cardiologist at Denver Heart in Lakewood, Colorado.

Find Foods Rich In Protein

slow baked salmon fillet with preserved lemon and herb relish
Clarence Williams/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Clarence Williams/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A study from 2014 found that those who had more protein in their diet lowered their risk for high blood pressure. Also, people who ate 100 grams of protein every day had a 40 percent lower risk of getting high blood pressure than those on a low-protein diet.

Some foods that are a great source of protein include fish, eggs, poultry, beef, beans, nuts, chickpeas, and cheese.

Stay Hydrated

A woman drinks water from a plastic bottle
Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images
Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images

It’s always important for people to stay hydrated and drink lots of water, but it can also help with lowering blood pressure.

“When you’re dehydrated, the body produces stress hormones to maintain blood flow to organs,” said Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist with Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. This can lead to high blood pressure.

Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure

person holding up cloves of garlic
Josh Edelson/Getty Images
Josh Edelson/Getty Images

Garlic and garlic extract are a great source for lowering blood pressure. A study from 2012 found that those who had high blood pressure and consumed garlic were able to lower it.

Garlic increases the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps make smooth muscles relax and blood vessels dilate.

Berries Have Healing Properties

strawberries on individual lining sheets
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Not only are berries juicy and delicious, but they have a lot of health benefits. They contain polyphenols, which are great for heart health.

Polyphenols can reduce the risk of inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart conditions, stroke, and high blood pressure. Other foods that contain polyphenols include vegetables and dark chocolate.

Get Enough Sleep

a woman sleeping
Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images
Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

Humans only need a few basic things to function and one of those is sleep. Your blood pressure naturally lowers when you sleep, so the longer you’re awake, the longer your blood pressure will stay high.

The best thing to do is stick to a schedule where you can go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Avoid screens and food before bed because they can keep you awake.

Give These Herbs A Try

colorful herbs and spices in a market
Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Herbs have been used as medicine going back several centuries, so they can be a useful way to help lower blood pressure.

There are several herbs and plants around the world that are known to regulate blood pressure including cat’s claw, ginger root, river lily, umbrella tree bark, and sesame oil.

Increase Your Exercise Routine

women stretching in an exercise room
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Everyone needs to incorporate some kind of exercise into their weekly schedule. Exercise provides a lot of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association, people should do moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 40 minutes four times a week. Beginners should start with light exercise and work their way up as they get more comfortable.

Start Doing Meditation And Yoga

a zen monk practicing meditation
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

Both yoga and mediation have been proven to reduce high levels of stress, which are one of the leading causes of high blood pressure.

They are also a good tool for breath control, posture, and relaxation. A 2012 study had over 19,000 people practice meditation and mindfulness, which significantly helped reduce their stress.

Reduce Your Sugar And Carb Intake

processed food with soda, bread, cereal, crackers, hot dogs, candy, chips, chicken nuggets, and spaghetti o's
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Unhealthy foods should only be consumed in moderation, especially sugar and carbohydrates. Doing so can help people lose weight and lower their blood pressure.

Those that limit their sugar and carbs are able to feel full longer because they’re eating more fat and protein. Avoiding sugar and carbohydrates can also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Read Food Labels

woman reading the label on some tea
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There’s a lot of information packed into food labels. In order to know exactly what you’re eating, try to read the nutrition facts and ingredients in your food.

Even if something is labeled as vegan or gluten-free doesn’t mean that it can’t contain large amounts of carbs or sodium, which can increase blood pressure.

Ask For Help And Support

close-up of people holding hands
Olivier Laban-Mattei/Getty Images
Olivier Laban-Mattei/Getty Images

It can be really daunting trying to make a huge health change on your own. Those who are too overwhelmed with trying to lower their blood pressure on their own should ask for help.

Friends, family, support groups, and health care workers are some of the greatest people to turn to because they care about your well-being.

Keep An Eye On Your Blood Pressure

a doctor checking a patient's blood pressure
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Those who have high blood pressure should seriously consider monitoring their blood pressure on a regular basis. People have the option of home monitoring, which can alert you if it gets too high.

Also, make regular visits with your doctor, so they can check on it and warn you if things are getting worse.

Take Prescription Medication

a box of colorful pills
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

While some people can get their blood pressure under control through lifestyle changes, others need extra help. This can be done through prescription medication.

First, ask your doctor to make sure this is the right choice for you. It’s important that people don’t cut doses or skip days when on blood pressure medication.

Consider Getting Vitamins And Supplements

A bottle of vitamins B12 pills is displayed
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Vitamins and other supplements can be a beneficial alternative to lowering blood pressure. Before taking any, talk to a doctor or pharmacist to make sure it will help you.

Vitamin C has antioxidants that protect the linings of blood vessels and vitamin D contributes to the production of enzyme renin, which lowers blood pressure.

Think About Losing Weight

a woman weighing herself on a scale
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Losing weight is usually beneficial for someone’s overall health. A peer reviewed study from 2016 found that people who lost weight were able to lower their blood pressure.

This is best done by changing your diet and doing more exercise. There are tons of resources available for those who don’t know where to start.