If you have high blood pressure, chances are your doctor has told you to lose weight, cut back on salt, and fill a prescription for a blood pressure-lowering medication. What most doctors won’t tell you, however, is that there are many things you can do to help reduce your blood pressure naturally—and to prevent it from rising in the first place.
1. Drink Plenty of Water: Dehydration is one of the most common, yet overlooked, contributors to high blood pressure. When you’re dehydrated, it stresses your capillaries and arteries—raising your pressure. The solution? Drink plenty of pure, clean water. For healthy blood pressure, you want to drink about eight 10-ounce glasses of water daily.
2. Eat Foods that Lower Blood Pressure: To keep your blood pressure in check, I recommend eating a Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean (PAMM) Diet, which includes the best foods from around the world for a healthy heart and healthy blood pressure. On the PAMM diet, you’ll also want to be sure to choose some of the best foods for lowering blood pressure, including onions, garlic, beets, dark chocolate, blueberries, nattokinase, and crushed flaxseed.
3. Get Up and Move: Research shows that moderate exercise—such as walking, dancing, swimming, golf, and tennis—can reduce blood pressure levels significantly. Plus, adding resistance training to your routine can give you even greater blood pressure-lowering benefits than aerobic exercise alone.
4. Take Supplements for Lowering Blood Pressure, including:
- Coenzyme Q10: Research shows 200 to 300 mg of CoQ10 per day can reduce blood pressure. That’s because CoQ10 makes cells healthier and less vulnerable to constriction, which can elevate pressure inside blood vessels. Dosage: 200 to 300 mg daily.
- Magnesium: This vital mineral helps promote heart health, prevent arrhythmias, and lower blood pressure. Yet, many people are magnesium deficient and don’t know it. That’s because things like stress, our modern-day diets, and certain medications can deplete magnesium. Dosage: 200 to 400 mg daily.
- DHA Omega-3s: Omega-s are called “essential” fatty acids because your body can’t manufacture them—so you need to get them from foods and supplements. There are two main types of omega-3s, DHA and EPA, and research shows DHA omega-3s have the most blood pressure-lowering benefits. Dosage: 300 to 800 mg daily.
- Hawthorn: Hawthorn berry promotes blood flow in the smaller vessels. Plus, it reduces blood pressure much like ACE inhibitors do, by preventing production of angiotensin 2, which is a powerful blood vessel constrictor responsible for increasing blood pressure. Hawthorn also helps to ease angina and relieve congestive heart failure. Dosage: 500 mg 2 to 3 times daily.
5. Keep Your Stress in Check: When you’re under stress, your body releases cortisol into your bloodstream. In excessive amounts, cortisol can signal your body to step up the production of blood platelets, which can clump together forming dangerous clots. To de-stress, find healthy ways to release your emotions such as hitting tennis or golf balls, writing in a journal, painting or drawing, yoga, or meditation.
6. Harness the Power of Earthing. As many of you know, one of my cardinal principles of good health is earthing, also known as grounding. I believe that by walking barefoot outside, you allow your body to draw in the earth’s electrons and discharge harmful electro-pollution. The simple act of grounding yourself to the earth decreases inflammation, lowers stress, increases calmness, and helps to relieve pain. But perhaps one of the most powerful benefits of grounding is that it helps reduce blood pressure.
7. Listen to Classical Music: Researchers at Ruhr University Bochum set out to study the effect of different musical genres on the cardiovascular system. They had study participants listen to music by either Mozart, Strauss, or the pop band ABBA. Those who listened to the classical music by either Mozart or Strauss experienced notably lowered blood pressure and heart rates, while those who listened to ABBA experienced no substantial effects.
8. Get Proper Rest: This age-old doctor’s recommendation goes straight to the heart of the issue. The regular fatigue of daily life can be a cause for high blood pressure. Rest includes not only your daily sleep, but adequate relaxation and vacations. I remember years ago reading a study that showed people who took more vacations lived longer.
9. Laugh: Children laugh an average of 400 times a day; adults, only 15. Somewhere on the way to adulthood, we lost the ability to laugh 385 times a day! Up your laughter quotient with comedy videos or playing with your children or grandchildren. In one study, cardiac patients who watched a comedy show on a daily basis had significantly lower stress hormone levels and reduced blood pressure levels, and they needed less medication.
10. Get a Pet: Research confirms what you’ve probably known all along: Animals—especially those with which you’ve had a long-term relationship—can be good for your health! The survival rate of people who suffer a heart attack has been found to be four times greater among those who leave the hospital and go home to a loving pet than those who go home to an empty house or a judgmental spouse.