5 ways to lower blood pressure without anti-hypertensive medications

Medications are available for treating hypertension; however, not many people like taking medicines every time. The good news is you can lower blood pressure without taking medications by using natural methods.

A nurse checking a patient's blood pressure

It sounds easy to just pop pills each time you have mild symptoms like a headache that doesn’t last for long. But, what happens when you have chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Do you live on pills, popping pills every day for the rest of your life? 

Can you reduce your blood pressure without medication? Yes, there are things you can do to help lower blood pressure without medication. In this article, you will learn how to reduce your blood pressure without taking anti-hypertensive medicines.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is also called hypertension. It is a condition that occurs when the force of blood on the arterial walls is too high.

Blood pressure within the range of 120 over 80 (120/80) is within the normal range. The top number is called systolic blood pressure, and the lower number is called diastolic blood pressure. When the systolic pressure is higher than 130, and the diastolic is higher than 80, the blood pressure is considered high. 

There are different causes of high blood pressure, such as:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Too much alcohol
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Genetics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of the adults in the United States (47%) have high blood pressure. Also, only about 24% of the adults with hypertension have their health condition under control.1

High blood pressure is dangerous. If it persists for long, it can cause damage to the arterial walls; thus, putting you at risk of developing heart diseases and stroke. 

How to lower blood pressure without taking medications

Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash

One peculiar thing about high blood pressure is that it often doesn’t come with outward signs. In fact, according to the CDC, about one in five adults with high blood pressure are not aware that they have the condition.

This shows that you can feel fine while your blood pressure is high. This is why it is advisable to check your blood pressure regularly. Also, living a healthy lifestyle helps keep the blood pressure in check. 

Below are ways to control or lower your blood pressure without medication. 

1. Reduce sodium

The effect of sodium on blood pressure is a highly researched topic. Sodium is one of the major components of salt, an essential cooking ingredient. When you consume lots of salt, you are consuming sodium in a high amount which can be detrimental to your health.

Evidence suggests that there is a direct relationship between sodium intake and an increase in blood pressure. According to a study, excess salt consumption caused a significant increase in blood pressure and was linked with the onset of hypertension and other cardiovascular complications.

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But, how does salt increase blood pressure? 

The kidney is in charge of controlling the salt level. It removes excess salt through the urine. Salt is essential for the body's normal functioning, but when it is too much, the kidneys might be unable to keep up with flushing them out of the body. 

A high level of salt causes the body to retain more water. Salt attracts more water to balance its concentration in the blood. Too much water in the blood increases blood volume, which in turn increases blood pressure.

Reducing the amount of salt you consume is one practical way to control and lower your blood pressure without medication. You might be unable to reduce salt intake drastically, but you can cut it down gradually.

2. Avoid stress

While it is almost impossible to totally avoid stress as human life is filled with stressful events, it is possible to reduce its levels.

Stress is one of the common causes of high blood pressure. Stress causes hypertension by triggering the nervous system to produce large amounts of vasoconstricting hormones. Vasoconstricting hormones cause the blood vessels to constrict and the heart to beat faster, causing an increase in blood pressure.

There is not enough evidence to prove that stress directly causes long-term hypertension. However, studies show that stress can affect its development. More studies need to be carried out on how stress affects blood pressure

Eliminating all stressors is one way to reduce blood pressure without medication. The first step to achieving this is to find out your stressors and then work on eliminating or avoiding them.

You should also be able to adapt to changes. Don't always expect that things will go your way. Let go of some things and understand that there are some things you cannot change or control. 

Live a joyful life, always show gratitude and make out time to rest and relax. You can take a walk, go for yoga, sleep, go on vacations, watch a movie, read a book to relax.

3. Drink healthy fluids

The type of fluid you consume matters to your health. Taking drinks like alcohol can increase your blood pressure, especially when taken in high amounts. Alcohol can also interact with blood pressure medications rendering them ineffective.

If you have a risk of developing hypertension (perhaps you have a family history of alcohol), you should avoid caffeinated drinks as well. Not everyone experiences changes in blood pressure after taking caffeine; however, it is best to stay safe or better still talk to your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure. 

Drinking water is the best for your health. A study showed that drinking water decreased the blood pressure of workers working in hot conditions. Also, adding minerals like can magnesium and calcium to water before drinking is another way to lower blood pressure without medication.

Drinks like zobo are also healthy. One of the health benefits of zobo is reduced blood pressure and reduced risk of hypertension. A study showed that zobo drink has antihypertensive and cardioprotective properties

4. Exercise regularly

If you already have high blood pressure, you must be consistent with exercising. Exercising offers one way to lower blood pressure without medications.

People with normal blood pressure are not left out in this. Among other things, exercising helps keep your blood pressure in check. 

A study found that aerobic exercise significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with resistant hypertension. Examples of aerobic exercises you may try to reduce blood pressure include jogging, walking, running, swimming, cycling and dancing.

If you have hypertension, you can lower your blood pressure by 5-8 mmHg by exercising for 30 minutes, four days a week. 

5. Eat healthy meals

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Healthy diets are rich in whole carbs, proteins, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. The macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) make up a more significant part of our diet, and care must be taken to eat from healthy sources. Making dietary changes is one way to lower blood pressure without medications.

Skip refined carbs and foods with added sugar and opt for whole carbs like grains and potatoes. Also, all fats are not the same. While unsaturated fats are good for you, saturated and trans fats are not good. 

An eating plan called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) can help people with hypertension. The DASH diet reduces blood pressure by decreasing the amount of sodium in your diet. 

The DASH diet is based on two research that studies ways of reducing blood pressure through dietary changes. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods and contains less saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat.

Eating a healthy diet also helps keep your weight in check. Studies have shown that obesity predisposes to high blood pressure by elevating arterial pressure and increasing the risk of hypertension-related health conditions, such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

People with mild hypertension may not necessarily need medications to control their blood pressure. As explained in this article, changes in lifestyle and diet can help them lower their blood pressure without anti-hypertensive medicine.

References

  1. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Facts about hypertension.
  2. Dimeo, Fernando et al. (2012). Aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure in resistant hypertension.
  3. Grillo, Andrea et al. (2019). Sodium Intake and Hypertension.
  4. Kulkarni, S et al. (1998). Stress and hypertension.
  5. Lapau, Buchari. (2016). Effect of Drinking Water on the Decrease of Blood Pressure in Hot Working Condition of Prison’s Kitchen.
  6. Re, Richard N. (2019). Obesity-related hypertension.