High blood pressure problems can stem from a combination of issues. Anything from underlying health problems related to your cardiovascular health to hormone problems involving your thyroid and stress hormones to the amount of stress you feel on a daily basis. You may be surprised how drastically lifestyle factors can affect blood pressure…
But while your doctor may spend time checking your lab results and prescribing medications, far too often the emotional and physical stress your body is under gets ignored, leaving you with uncontrolled blood pressure problems that even the strongest medicines can’t fully control.
That’s why I’m breaking down the natural options you can use at home to lower stress, along with blood pressure-reducing lifestyle interventions you can put to work to help get your numbers down…
Practice mind over blood pressure
When you get angry, scared or stressed, the smooth muscle tone or tightness of arterial blood vessels goes up…way up. On the other hand, when you lower your stress levels, the nerves to your arterial wall muscles relax.
That’s why stress-reducing techniques are a vital part of treating high blood pressure — for anyone, male or female, young or not-so-young.
It can be as simple as practicing slow, deep-breathing exercises or using any other relaxation technique that works for you. Here are a few ideas to help start you off:
- Take a walk. A study published in the journal Hypertension found frequent walking breaks could help keep blood pressure down as effectively as medication
- Get a massage.
- Visit a sauna. One of the five scientifically-supported health benefits of visiting a sauna regularly is lower blood pressure.
- Read a book
- Listen to music to experience the Mozart effect —120 people did in a study and it lowered their blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels.
- Try yoga.
- Spend an evening with someone you love.
- Have sex. Studies have shown that both men and women who engage in regular sexual activity can enjoy better blood pressure.
- Journal about your stress while listening to soft music.
- Drink calming herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, kava kava, passionflower and valerian.
- Use essential oils, like a proven effective blend of lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli (in a 6:2:0.5 ratio).
Practice preventative care
Along with addressing the stress that’s raising your blood pressure, you should also take steps to combat the lifestyle factors that can send it into outer space as well…
- Maintain an optimal body weight — Some of the biggest contributors to becoming overweight or obese include refined sugars, wheat products, hormone-mimickers in foods, environmental chemicals, a sedentary lifestyle, hormone imbalances and stress. Watch for these at work in your life in order to keep your weight at a healthy level.
- Optimize your salt intake — A large 16-year study published in 2017 found that while eating too much salt could lead to high blood pressure, so could eating too little. For healthy blood pressure, you should aim for a salt intake of 2,300 and 2,500 mg of salt per day and choose a sea salt high in electrolyte minerals rather than ordinary table salt. You can also offset the hypertensive effect of the sodium in your diet by eating foods high in potassium. These include potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, apricots, bananas, beans and plain yogurt as well as fresh juices, like prune, carrot, tomato and orange.
- Avoid excess alcohol — Try to limit yourself to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
- Get your rest — Shoot for plenty of good quality sleep and stick to a regular sleep/wake schedule.
- Maintain a healthy gut microbiome — Autoimmune inflammation due to problems in your intestinal microbiome can drive up high blood pressure. Be sure to take probiotics as well as digestive enzymes to keep your gut healthy. For this same reason, you should limit prescription medications to only those that are absolutely necessary since they can have a xenobiotic effect and lead to a leaky gut.
- Eat nutrient-rich foods — Because high fiber is directly associated with lowered blood pressure, at least 50 percent or more of your diet should come from raw food. This includes fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and sprouted grains.
- Consume healthy oils — The DASH diet (specifically designed for supporting healthy blood pressure) recommends getting plenty of healthy oils from olive oil and fish/fish oils.
- Limit foods that drive high blood pressure — Limit or avoid trans-fats and hydrogenated oils found in cookies, crackers, cakes, doughnuts, processed foods, french fries, onion rings and margarine. Also skip the white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white bread, white rice, pasta and all other refined simple carbohydrates.
- Try acupuncture — Although your doctor will probably never mention it, acupuncture and other traditional Chinese medicine interventions, such as moxibustion, can help you control your blood pressure and stay in the healthy range. Qigong and tai chi have also been shown in studies to be safe and effective.
And remember, even if you aren’t already living with high blood pressure, the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is just as true now as ever. So, start using the steps above right away to address the underlying stress and lifestyle issues that could cause you to develop blood pressure problems.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
Alter your lifestyle to naturally shrink blood pressure — Easy Health Options
A Prospective Study of Nutritional Factors and Hypertension Among US Men — National Library of Medicine
The Effects of Acupuncture on the Levels of Blood Pressure and Nitric Oxide in Hypertensive Patients — National Library of Medicine
The Effect of Acupuncture on High Blood Pressure of Patients Using Antihypertensive Drugs — National Library of Medicine
DASH diet: Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure — Mayo Clinic
Stress and high blood pressure: What’s the connection? — Mayo Clinic