Take Control of Your Health: Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Safely and Effectively.
Today, I’m going to teach you natural ways to lower Blood Pressure . High blood pressure or hypertension is a leading cause of heart disease, strokes, kidney failure. Forty-five percent of adults in America have hypertension, and ninety percent of adults over the age of 65 have hypertension.
Now, there are many, many medications which can effectively lower the blood pressure, but as with most medications, a lot of the blood pressure meds have undesirable side effects. So what does that mean? That means that a lot of patients have been asking me, ‘Is there any way that I can lower my blood pressure naturally?’ As it turns out, yes, there are ways to lower your blood pressure naturally and without medication.
There are many ways to lower the blood pressure without medications and naturally, but you must do so under the supervision of your physician. Every natural remedy is not for everyone. In fact, there is a select group of patients who may need medication as a part of their initial therapy, and I will let you know if you are part of that select group at the end of this lesson.
The definition of high blood pressure or hypertension changed in 2017 according to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association guidelines.
Now, a normal blood pressure is a systolic or a top number of less than 120 and a diastolic blood pressure or a bottom number of less than 80. So, if you have a systolic blood pressure of 130 or greater consistently, you have hypertension, and if you have a diastolic blood pressure of 80 or greater consistently, you have hypertension. So, what can you do about it? Let’s talk about ways to lower this blood pressure naturally.
1. Deep breathing
Slow, deep breathing, that’s all. When you take in deep, slow breaths, this causes the heart rate to slow down, it causes the blood vessels to dilate, and it causes the blood pressure to decrease. You just do slow inhalations for about 4 seconds, hold your breath for about 4 seconds, and then exhale slowly, and you repeat this for about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Low salt intake (low sodium intake)
So, I really want you to become a label watcher. I want you to look at the back of the labels on the foods you eat and see how much sodium you’re taking in. No one should be taking in more than 2400 milligrams of sodium in 24 hours. And if you are African-American, if you have hypertension, if you have diabetes, if you have kidney disease, and if you’re older than the age of 50, you should be taking in 1,500 milligrams of sodium or less.
Does that seem like a lot of sodium? It’s really not. So, here we have some table salt, which I think most of us have heard at this point that doing too much table salt is bad. But I want you to really pay attention. A lot of my patients say, ‘Oh yeah, I don’t do regular table salt. I do sea salt,’ and they think they can do all the sea salt they want. Or when they’re really fancy, they do the pink Himalayan salt, and they think they can just have a salt party with that. But if you are a label watcher, you will see that the sodium content is actually not that different in these salts.
In this regular table salt, in a quarter teaspoon of salt, you have 590 milligrams of sodium. So, think about it. You’re really pushing that upper limit of your sodium in 24 hours already with just a quarter teaspoon.
In this sea salt, whoo, that sounds healthy, sea salt. In a quarter teaspoon of sea salt, you have 160 milligrams of sodium. Not that much of a difference.
So then, how about this fancy pink Himalayan sea salt?
This looks so attractive. Well, in a quarter teaspoon of this pink Himalayan salt, also you have 560 milligrams of sodium. So remember, be a label watcher and make sure you know how much sodium you’re taking in because most people should be taking in 1500 milligrams of sodium or less.
Well, let’s look at some food choices because I know a lot of my patients say, ‘Hey, all these different salts you mentioned, they don’t affect me because I don’t add salt to my food.’ Well, a lot of times you can have a high salt intake even without picking up a salt shaker.
How many of you out there like ketchup? I know I do. In just one tablespoon of ketchup, there are 160 milligrams of sodium. That’s just one tablespoon, and I bet most of you like a whole lot more ketchup than that. So make sure, again, you’re watching the labels.
What do you think about turkey? Smoked deli turkey. That’s pretty healthy, right? Seems healthy. Well, in about two ounces of smoked deli turkey, that’s one serving, there are 500 milligrams of sodium. So if you have a sandwich with only two ounces of turkey, you’ve already used up a third of your maximum sodium intake for a day. So even with things that aren’t seemingly unhealthy, there can be a lot of sodium. Watch the sodium.
And here’s my favorite. If you’re on a vegetarian kick, really trying to get the animal fat and the animal meat out of your diet, if you do vegetarian sausage, here we have two vegetarian sausage links. Sounds healthy, right? Well, in these two sausage links, there are 300 milligrams of sodium.
What’s my point? In order to reduce your blood pressure naturally, you must have a low-salt diet. So be a label watcher and pay attention to your sodium intake.
3. Eat certain foods that help promote low blood pressure.
For most people, potassium can assist in lowering blood pressure, and you should be taking in about 4.7 grams of potassium a day. When you’re lowering your blood pressure naturally, you must do it under the supervision of a physician. Everyone does not need a high potassium diet. In fact, if you have kidney disease or if you are a person who has potassium that is too high, then you don’t need a high potassium diet. In fact, you should have a low potassium diet, about two grams per day. But for most people who metabolize potassium normally, you should be getting about 4.7 grams of potassium a day. Consult your physician.
So, which foods are high in potassium? Alright, so some foods that can help to lower the blood pressure naturally:
- Bananas, which are a high potassium source, as well as strawberries. Who doesn’t love their strawberries? That’s a potassium source.
- Other foods, such as spinach, can help to lower the blood pressure.
- Garlic is another food that can help to lower the blood pressure. Sorry, it gets pretty neat. It actually helps by decreasing the hardening of the blood vessels. Garlic has vitamin C. It also has vitamin B6. So, it’s another food that can help to lower the blood pressure.
- Onions. Onions are also helpful in lowering blood pressure. They have essential oils, they have vitamin B complex, vitamin E, vitamin C. Onions also have potassium.
Another thing about some of these foods on this table is that they help to intensify the taste of sodium. So, if you’re decreasing the sodium in your diet, as you should be, but if you cook with things like garlic, spinach, even putting lemons in your food, that can help you to still have very zesty, very tasteful food, and you will miss the taste of sodium less.
So, these are some foods that can be helpful in lowering the blood pressure. What else can help to lower the blood pressure? Celery. And some of you may have heard of that celery challenge. Celery is another food that can help to lower the blood pressure naturally. Celery contains coumarins, and it can help to improve vascular flow. It can help to decrease blood pressure. Celery has vitamins D, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It has some alkaline properties as well, and studies suggest that celery has some anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s even been shown in some studies, some anecdotal studies, that celery can help to purify the skin. It can help hair grow, so it actually is a nice little secret weapon here, this celery. And yes, it’s another way to lower blood pressure naturally.
4. Low alcohol intake.
If you are a person who drinks excessively, if you have too much alcohol, then that will increase your risk of having high blood pressure. So if you are a man, you should have no more than two drinks a day. If you are a lady, you should have no more than one drink a day. And if you are a man who is over the age of 65, you should have no more than one drink a day.
What is a drink?
I know a whole lot of people have different definitions of what one drink is. I’ve seen people pour 12 ounces of hard whiskey and call that one drink. That’s not a drink. There are very specific guidelines as to what one drink of alcohol is. It is 12 grams of ethanol. So, how does that translate? Beer, for example. One drink of beer is 12 ounces. One drink of wine is eight ounces. An eight-ounce glass of wine constitutes one drink. And when you’re dealing with stronger alcohol, like an 80-proof liquor, then only 1.5 ounces is one drink.
Let me show you. Here are a couple of samples of what constitutes one drink of alcohol. Here we have some red wine. This is exactly 8 ounces of red wine. That is one drink. If you’re at a restaurant and someone gives you a great big huge goblet, a 32-ouncer of wine, that is not one drink. One drink is 8 ounces of wine. And then, this thing, you happen to have a martini or something with some vodka, and your vodka is 80-proof. This is exactly 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. That is one drink.
If you have a bartender who is heavy-handed and decides to fill it to the rim with vodka and put a little splash of something else in there, that is not one drink. One drink of 80-proof liquor is 1.5 ounces. So, again, in order to lower your blood pressure naturally, you want to have a lower alcohol intake: two drinks a day for men or less, one drink a day for women or less, and for men greater than 65 years of age. One drink a day. Now, I do want to touch on supplements as another way to lower blood pressure naturally. Remember, every supplement is not for everyone, so if you’re using supplements, you must, again, do it under the supervision of your physician.
One supplement is fish oil. Now, there have been trials to show that fish oil can help to lower blood pressure. In fact, there was one meta-analysis of 70 randomized trials, and it demonstrated that fish oil actually can reduce the blood pressure, both in the diastolic in people who have normal blood pressure and in people who do have a diagnosis of hypertension. They actually got the best results in people who were untreated. So, fish oil is a supplement that can reduce blood pressure naturally.
5. Another supplement which may help to lower blood pressure naturally is CoQ12 or coenzyme Q12.
Now, there have been some studies to support this, but there also have been some mixed results. So, let me just touch on it. CoQ12 is like a vitamin. It’s found in the mitochondria of cells in the heart, the liver, the kidney, and it’s believed to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. So, it helps to fight free radicals, and it potentially can help to relax the walls of blood vessels, which would lower blood pressure. So, CoQ12 is a supplement which can possibly lower blood pressure.
Hawthorn extract is an herb that is found in Hawthorn plants, and there are some studies to show that it may help in heart failure, and it may also help to lower blood pressure naturally, especially in conjunction with CoQ12. Again, there are no definitive, widely accepted randomized controlled trials, but there are some anecdotal studies and some case reports to suggest that CoQ12 and Hawthorn can help to reduce blood pressure. Again, make sure you consult your physician. Don’t do these supplements unless you are under the supervision of your physician.
6. Get enough sleep
Most people should be getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. If you don’t have enough sleep, you will increase your chances of having high blood pressure.
Having at least 30 minutes of exercise, cardiovascular resistance training, do at least 30 minutes most days of the week, and that can help to reduce the blood pressure. In fact, it can help to decrease that blood pressure by as much as 5 to 15 millimeters of mercury. So, exercise is another natural way to decrease blood pressure.
Doing yoga and doing meditation can also decrease blood pressure. When you are stressed, you send up your hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline. You tighten the blood vessels; the blood pressure goes up. So, reduce your stress. And if people are running you ragged, if they’re putting too much on you, you have to learn how to tell people no. If you don’t know the art of telling people no, blame it on me. No in order to improve my blood pressure.
Oh, I mentioned earlier, that there is a select group of patients which may very likely need medications as a part of their initial therapy. Are you in this group? Here’s the group: if you have kidney disease already, if you have had a stroke, if you have had heart disease, then you must, must, must consult your physician, and you may actually need medications as the initial part of your therapy. Again, any lowering of blood pressure you’re doing, do it under the supervision of a physician.
This ends my overview on ways to lower blood pressure naturally, how to lower blood pressure without medications.