You can lower your blood pressure without medication. Try these 10 lifestyle changes. Jul 31, Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient. Foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help you lower blood pressure. So what foods are good for high blood pressure, or hypertension? Foods.
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Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program. Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.
The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. In general, limit sodium to 2, milligrams mg a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1, mg a day or less — is ideal for most adults. Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only in moderation — generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — you can potentially lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg.
One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points.
It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health.
People who quit smoking may live longer than people who never quit smoking. The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated.
Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it. But people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure.
Although the long-term effects of caffeine on blood pressure aren't clear, it's possible blood pressure may slightly increase. To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. Talk to your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure. Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure.
More research is needed to determine the effects of chronic stress on blood pressure. Occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what's causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
If you can't eliminate all of your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way. Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications. Blood pressure monitors are available widely and without a prescription.
Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started. Regular visits with your doctor are also key to controlling your blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is well-controlled, check with your doctor about how often you need to check it. Your doctor may suggest checking it daily or less often. If you're making any changes in your medications or other treatments, your doctor may recommend you check your blood pressure starting two weeks after treatment changes and a week before your next appointment. Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor's office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.
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Free E-newsletter Subscribe to Housecall Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. By Mayo Clinic Staff. Nonpharmacologic prevention and treatment of hypertension. Accessed May 11, Kaplan NM, et al. Diet in the treatment and prevention of hypertension. Obesity and weight reduction in hypertension. What is the optimal therapy in patients with hypertension? Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; Basile J, et al.
Overview of hypertension in adults. Exercise in the treatment and prevention of hypertension. Your guide to lowering your blood pressure with DASH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Salt intake, salt restriction and primary essential hypertension.
Tobacco and blood pressure. Accessed May 12, Harms of cigarette smoking and health benefits of quitting. Cardiovascular effects of caffeine and caffeinated beverage. Stress and blood pressure. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure. If you've ever downed a cup of coffee before you've had your blood pressure taken, you'll know that caffeine causes an instant boost.
However, there's not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, than those who don't 15 , 16 , 17 , Caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don't consume it regularly If you suspect you're caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, although for many people it does not cause a lasting increase.
Stress is a key driver of high blood pressure. When you're chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels.
When you experience stress, you might also be more likely to engage in other behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or eating unhealthy food, that can negatively affect blood pressure. Several studies have explored how reducing stress can help lower blood pressure. Here are two evidence-based tips to try:. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress can help.
That's because dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate A review of studies found that flavonoid-rich cocoa improved several markers of heart health over the short term, including lowering blood pressure For the strongest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is especially high in flavonoids and has no added sugars.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds that help relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. In previous studies, losing 17 pounds 7. The effect is even greater when weight loss is paired with exercise Losing weight can help your blood vessels do a better job of expanding and contracting, making it easier for the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood. Losing weight can significantly lower high blood pressure. This effect is even greater when you exercise.
Among the many reasons to quit smoking is that the habit is a strong risk factor for heart disease. Every puff of cigarette smoke causes a slight, temporary increase in blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco are also known to damage blood vessels.
Surprisingly, studies haven't found a conclusive link between smoking and high blood pressure. Perhaps this is because smokers develop a tolerance over time Still, since both smoking and high blood pressure raise the risk of heart disease, quitting smoking can help reverse that risk.
There's conflicting research about smoking and high blood pressure, but what is clear is that both increase the risk of heart disease. There's a growing body of research showing a link between added sugar and high blood pressure 30 , 31 , In the Framingham Women's Health Study, women who drank even one soda per day had higher levels than those who drank less than one soda per day Another study found that having one less sugar-sweetened beverage per day was linked to lower blood pressure And it's not just sugar - all refined carbs, such as the kind found in white flour, convert rapidly to sugar in your bloodstream and may cause problems.
One study on people undergoing statin therapy found that those who went on a six-week, carb-restricted diet saw a greater improvement in blood pressure and other heart disease markers than people not on a diet Refined carbs, especially sugar, may raise blood pressure. Some studies have shown that low-carb diets may help reduce your levels. Participants experienced improvements in different markers of heart health, including blood pressure Another study assigned people with high blood pressure to a low-polyphenol diet or a high-polyphenol diet containing berries, chocolate, fruits and vegetables Those consuming berries and polyphenol-rich foods experienced improved markers of heart disease risk.
Berries are rich in polyphenols, which can help lower blood pressure and the overall risk of heart disease. While these two behaviors could also fall under "stress reduction techniques," meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention. Both meditation and deep breathing are thought to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. There's quite a bit of research in this area, with studies showing that different styles of meditation appear to have benefits for lowering blood pressure 38 , In one study, participants were asked to either take six deep breaths over the course of 30 seconds or to simply sit still for 30 seconds.
Those who took breaths lowered their blood pressure more than those who just sat Preventative care from an experienced physician is the best way to fend off many health problems, and hypertension is no exception. Find a skilled St. Joseph Health primary care physician or heart specialist using our online provider directory.
Download our health numbers report card to help you track your blood pressure and other common markers that measure heart health. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care.
Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions. Health Calling Stay in touch with our experts for the latest wellness topics and news. Can fasting help you lose weight? Instant Pot tips and recipes for healthy cooking Posted on: Why you shouldn't skimp on your post-workout stretch Posted on: HealthCalling June 5 easy ways to lower your blood pressure without medication.
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6 simple tips to reduce your blood pressure
Apr 24, Lifestyle changes can significantly reduce high blood pressure and even lower your risk for hypertension in the future. Here's 17 ways to lower. High blood pressure (HBP, or hypertension) is a symptomless “silent killer” that Lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney damage, vision loss. Jul 17, Can you eat your way to lower blood pressure? The DASH diet teaches a way of eating to lower hypertension. These food picks can help you.