Can I Lower Blood Pressure Naturally?
Yes, you can lower blood pressure naturally. There are many effective natural treatments for lowering high blood pressure in the areas of diet, exercise, mindfulness, and fasting. According to the CDC, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range by living a healthy lifestyle. If you or a loved one suffer from elevated blood pressure (hypertension) — you may be wondering how to lower blood pressure without medication. Although blood pressure medication may be necessary and unavoidable in some cases, many hypertension patients are able to reduce blood pressure naturally, and eventually stop taking medication or reduce their dosage. It is important to discuss medications and lifestyle changes with your healthcare provider. Many patients reach out to our holistic cardiology practice in southern California after they have been diagnosed with hypertension and prescribed blood pressure medication for long-term use. The Holistic Healing Heart Center in Burbank and Valencia California, offers multiple options for patients with a preference for non-pharmaceutical blood pressure treatments. We offer alternative approaches to stop hypertension under the care of holistic cardiologist, Dr. Cynthia Thaik.
Is Hypertension Dangerous?
Yes, elevated blood pressure or hypertension is the risk factor for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. High blood pressure is very common. It affects 47% of adults in the U.S. This equals about 116 million people. Of those, 37 million have a blood pressure of at least 140/90 mmHg. According to the World Health Organization, over 1.2 billion people ages 30 to 79 have hypertension. Medications for lowering blood pressure are some of the most prescribed in the country. There are many modifiable risk factors that improve cardiovascular health including stopping smoking, making dietary changes and reducing body weight. Below are some evidence-based, natural remedies that may help you to reduce your blood pressure medication.
4 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
1. Lower Blood Pressure With Mindfulness
Elevated blood pressure is associated with high levels of cortisol, which is the hormone that our body produces when we are under stress. While it is normal and part of normal physiology to have short bursts of cortisol in response to stressors, it becomes problematic when we are stressed for prolonged periods of time or are operating with chronically elevated levels of cortisol. There are a number of ways to reduce stress; however, practicing mindfulness is one that has been well studied. It has been shown that individuals who undergo mindfulness-based stress-reduction training are able to lower blood pressure naturally by reducing reactivity to stress.
2. Lower Blood Pressure With Exercise
Exercise has long been recognized as an important aspect of cardiovascular health and lowering blood pressure; however, recent research has shown that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been more effective at reducing blood pressure, improving vascular health and insulin sensitivity than sustained moderate intensity training. HIIT consists of short bursts of exercise where the heart rate reaches 85-95% of the maximum for 1-4 minutes followed by rest or active recovery. It is important to check with your doctor before starting a HIIT program; however, if you are healthy enough for moderate exercise, 30 minutes of HIIT three times per week may be enough to reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.(4) Additionally, not enough time to exercise is often cited as the most common reasons people avoid working out. HIIT can help solve this problem by creating huge cardiovascular benefits in a shorter amount of time.
3. Lower Blood Pressure With The Mediterranean Diet
Regardless of whether or not you are experimenting with fasting, the food you put in your body has a profound impact on your cardiovascular health. While there are a number of different opinions on the “best diet” for cardiovascular health, one thing that most people are in agreement of is that we all should be eating more vegetables. At the Holistic Healing Heart Center, we recommend eating 5-7 servings of vegetables per day to ensure you are supporting your body’s natural detoxification process as well as ensure you are getting enough fiber and reduce overall inflammation in the body. One of the diet’s that has been the most studied and shown to have benefits on blood pressure is the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes vegetables and fresh fruit, whole grains, fish and seafood, legumes, nuts and extra virgin olive oil. Processed foods, red meat and dairy are consumed in moderation.(3)
4. How Fasting Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a very popular term in the health and wellness industry and refers to a form of time-restricted eating. It can be beneficial for a number of health markers including weight loss and reducing inflammation, and lowering blood pressure. There are several different approaches to IF with the most popular being eating within a time restricted window of either 8 hours, 6 hours or 4 hours. The remaining time during the day is spent fasting. Another popular form is referred to as alternate day fasting (ADF) with fasting and feeding days alternating. Some people will limit caloric intake to 500 or fewer calories on feeding days. Both forms of IF have been shown to reduce weight while maintaining muscle mass. Another benefit of IF is improved insulin sensitivity, which is helpful in type II diabetes and cardiovascular health.(2) When we engage in IF, we force our bodies to rely on stored energy from our liver and fat cells for fuel.(2) This has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve blood lipid values and reduce blood pressure.(2)
At the Holistic Healing Heart Center, we are well equipped to discuss many ways to address your hypertension as well as overall health. We take an integrative approach to health care and will help come up with a customized treatment approach for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more.
5 Surprising Facts About High Blood Pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published May 27, 2016. Accessed February 24, 2020.
Malinowski B, Zalewska K, Węsierska A, et al. Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders—An Overview. Nutrients. 2019;11(3):673. doi:10.3390/nu11030673
Pergola GD, D’Alessandro A. Influence of Mediterranean Diet on Blood Pressure. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1700. doi:10.3390/nu10111700
Wisløff, Ulrik, et al. “High-Intensity Interval Training to Maximize Cardiac Benefits of Exercise Training?” Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, vol. 37, no. 3, 2009, pp. 139–146., doi:10.1097/jes.0b013e3181aa65fc.
Parswani, Manishj, et al. “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program in Coronary Heart Disease: A Randomized Control Trial.” International Journal of Yoga, vol. 6, no. 2, 2013, p. 111., doi:10.4103/0973-6131.113405.