Six Natural Remedies to Reduce High Blood Pressure

If you suffer from high blood pressure, these lifestyle changes could make a big difference

Credit: Flickr/ladybugbkt

Limiting the amount of salt in your diet can reduce high blood pressure

Modern life can be a pressure cooker, so it’s no wonder one out of three Canadian adults has high blood pressure

The good news? Healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent or treat high blood pressure.

Recent stats suggest that one out of every three adult Canadians has high blood pressure.
 About 40 per cent of all high blood pressure is thought to be inherited, and in the majority of other cases, the cause is “idiopathic” or not known.

Fortunately, for many, making healthy lifestyle changes can help prevent or treat high blood pressure. The news abounds with natural remedies, including the latest report that drinking a daily cup of beetroot juice can help lower blood pressure. Although there is some suggestion that the juice’s nitrate content may be responsible for this effect, it warrants more research.

6 Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure

  1. The DASH Diet: This stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet was first published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. In a groundbreaking control trial, researchers found that after 12 weeks, a diet high in fruits, veggies and low in saturated and total fat could help reduce systolic (top number) blood pressure by about 11mmHg points and the diastolic (low number) by 5.5 points, respectively, even after taking into consideration body weight and salt intake.

  2. Low Sodium: Limit the amount of salt in your diet. Taking only small amounts of sodium (the limit is equivalent to ½ tsp. salt a day) can reduce systolic blood pressure by about 5 mmHg. Track your dietary intake: eat fewer processed foods, read food labels and don’t add salt to your foods.

  3. Low Alcohol: Limit your alcohol intake. Consuming more than one drink a day for women and two for men can raise blood pressure.

  4. Weight Loss: Lose those extra pounds. Blood pressure often increases with weight gain. Losing just five to 10 pounds can have a beneficial effect on your blood pressure.

  5. Regular Exercise: At least 30 minutes most days of the week can help lower your blood pressure by four to nine mmHg within a few weeks of getting active.

  6. Reduce Stress: Learn to cope in a healthier way. The hormonal factors associated with stress can temporarily increase blood pressure, and over the long term, can affect your cardiovascular system.

Reduce Your Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

For those with mild to moderate hypertension, results from incorporating these changes can be comparable to those achieved by taking blood pressure medications. While the blood pressure reductions may not seem like much, it makes a big difference.

It’s estimated that just a three mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure could lead to an 8% reduction in stroke deaths and five per cent reduction in deaths from coronary heart disease. In my practice, some folks who have adopted a few of these lifestyle measures have been able to avoid taking prescription anti-hypertensive medications and others were able to discontinue drugs when their blood pressures normalized.

If your blood pressure isn’t dangerously high, it’s worth making these lifestyle changes before considering medications; you only have your health to gain.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.