High blood pressure is incredibly common in Canada. One in five Canadian adults aged 20 to 79 and one in every two above age sixty suffer from it (source). High blood pressure puts extra stress on our heart and blood vessels. As well, it is associated with other conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease (source). If you have been told your blood pressure is inching it’s way up, here are some natural remedies you can use to coax it back down.
1. CUT OUT SUGAR AND REFINED CARBS
Consuming sugar, especially in the form of sugar-sweetened drinks, not only spikes our blood sugar, but also directly affects our blood pressure (source). If you have high blood pressure (and unmanaged blood sugar), cutting out sugar and sugary drinks is a great place to start improving your health. Instead of sugary processed food and sugary drinks, eat healthy whole food carbohydrates such as potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, plantains, and fruit. Your heart and blood vessels will thank you!
2. LOSE WEIGHT
Excess weight, especially abdominal weight, increases blood pressure by compressing our blood vessels. Losing weight, if you are overweight or obese, will lower blood pressure (source). Switching from a standard American diet to a whole-foods Paleo type of diet is a great place to start. If you need help or support losing weight, reach out. There are tons of great resources out there.
3. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Chronic stress is probably the most well-known cause of high blood pressure. Thankfully, we can mitigate the effects of chronic stress by incorporating stress management techniques into our daily lives. Practices such as meditation, deep breathing, biofeedback, and yoga have been shown over and over again to lower blood pressure (source, source).
4. DIAL IN YOUR SLEEP
Improving your quality and length of sleep, and fixing sleep apnea can reduce blood pressure (source, source). The importance of getting deep restful sleep cannot be emphasized enough. Poor sleep will negatively affect all areas of our lives, not just blood pressure.
5. MOVE YOUR BODY
Exercise can lower blood pressure (source). Physical activity strengthens our heart. When our heart is strong, it works less to pump blood through our arteries. It is important to find a form of exercise you enjoy. Plain ol’ walking is an excellent form of exercise, especially if you aren’t used to physical activity. You can make it more enjoyable by listening to music or an interesting podcast. When starting a new exercise program, start slow to prevent injury. If you hurt yourself, you will end up at square one again!
6. EAT POTASSIUM RICH FOODS
Consuming potassium-rich foods can lower blood pressure. Potassium accomplishes this by relaxing the walls of our blood vessels, thus lowering the pressure inside (source, source). Sadly, the average North American Diet is very low in this mineral. Potassium is found in whole foods such as sweet potatoes, squash, beans, potatoes, pasture-raised dairy, carrots, fish, and of course bananas.
7. EAT FATTY FISH
Consuming the omega-3 fatty acid found in cold water fatty fish can lower blood pressure (source). My favorite quick snack are canned bone-in salmon and sardines. When we eat the whole fish, we not only get the omega-3 fats, but also minerals from the bones and protein from the meat. But if eating fish regularly isn’t your thing, you could take a good quality fish oil supplement like this one.
In addition to dietary and lifestyle modifications, adding supplements can help lower blood pressure:
- Magnesium – Magnesium works synergistically with potassium to lower blood pressure (source). Therefore, eating potassium-rich foods and taking magnesium can lower blood pressure. I like magnesium glycinate because it is the most absorbable form of magnesium.
- Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is important for our heart and cardiovascular health. Our CoQ10 levels drop as we age. As well, anyone with chronic inflammation will have less CoQ10. Chronic inflammation is present in nearly every chronic disease, including high blood pressure. As a result, CoQ10 may help mitigate the effects of inflammation and aid in the reduction of blood pressure (source).
- Garlic – Garlic is widely known for its heart-healthy action. The active ingredient in garlic is allicin, and it may help lower high blood pressure (source, source, source).
- Vitamin K2 – Vitamin K2 could be the most important nutrient to prevent cardiovascular disease. K2 is required to move calcium from our blood into our bones. In the absence of Vitamin K2, calcium settles in our blood vessels. When this happens, our arteries harden and lose their elasticity. Stiff and calcified arteries will likely lead to high blood pressure (source). Vitamin K2 can be difficult to find in the diet. The richest food sources include natto, grass-fed dairy, free-range egg yolks, and hard cheeses. I take this supplement to ensure I am getting enough Vitamin K2 because it is such an important nutrient.
9. DRINK BEET JUICE
Beets are a rich source of nitrate. Nitrates turn into nitrous oxide in our bodies, which vasodilates our blood vessels. This means it relaxes our blood vessels, making them wider. When this happens, the pressure in our arteries decreases, resulting in lower blood pressure (source). If you don’t like the thought of drinking beet juice, a beet supplement like this one will have the same effect.
10. GET SOME SUNSHINE
Sunshine mobilizes nitric oxide from our skin into our bloodstream. As with beets, the nitric oxide vasodilates our blood vessels, thus reduces blood pressure (source).
11. USE ESSENTIAL OILS
Lowered blood pressure can be achieved by diffusing essential oils. This study found that inhaling a blend of lavender, ylang-ylang, marjoram and neroli had an immediate and continuous effect of lowering blood pressure as well as salivary cortisol. Synthetic fragrances did not have the same result.
I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Have you tried any of these tips to lower blood pressure? Was it effective?
Lindsay Rusk Health is a dedicated resource for people who are interested in health and improving their health. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links. These links add no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and brands that I personally use for myself or my family. For more information, see my Terms + Disclosure.