I'm going to show how to lower blood pressure naturally and quickly. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of heart disease, strokes, kidney failure. 45% of adults in America have hypertension and 90% of adults over the age of 65 have hypertension. Now there are many, many medications which can effectively lower the blood pressure. But as with most medications, a lot of the blood pressure meds have undesirable side effects. So what does that mean? That means that a lot of patients have been asking me, Dr. Frita, is there any way that I can lower my blood pressure naturally? As it turns out, yes. There are ways to lower your blood pressure naturally and without medication.
There are many ways to lower the blood pressure without medications and naturally, but you must do so under the supervision of your physician. Every natural remedy is not for everyone. In fact, there is a select group of patients who may need medication as a part of their initial therapy, and I will let you know if you are a part of that select group at the end of this article.
High Blood Pressure Definition
The definition of high blood pressure, or hypertension, changed in 2017 according to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association guidelines.
Now, normal blood pressure is a systolic, or a top number, of less than 120 and a diastolic blood pressure, or bottom number, of less than 80. So if you have a systolic blood pressure of 130 or greater consistently, you have hypertension. And if you have a diastolic blood pressure of 80 or greater consistently, you have hypertension.
How To Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally
1. Slow Deep Breathing
One way to lower the blood pressure naturally and quickly is by slow, deep breathing. When you take in deep, slow breaths, this causes the heart rate to slow down. It causes the blood vessels to dilate and it causes the blood pressure to decrease. You just do slow inhalations for about four seconds, hold your breath for about four seconds, and then exhale slowly. And you repeat this for about five to 10 minutes.
2. Reduce Sodium Intake
Another way to lower the blood pressure naturally is by having a low salt intake, or low sodium intake. So I really want you to become a label watcher. I want you to look at the back of the labels on the foods you eat and see how much sodium you're taking in. No one should be taking in more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium in 24 hours. And if you are African American, have hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, or if you're older than the age of 50, you should be taking in 1500 milligrams of sodium or less. Does that seem like a lot of sodium? It's really not.
Types of Salt
Let's examine table salt, which I think most of us have heard at this point that doing too much table salt is bad, but I want you to really pay attention. A lot of my patients say, "Oh yeah, I don't do regular table salt. I do sea salt." And they think they can do all the sea salt they want. Or when they're really fancy, they do the pink Himalayan salt and they think they can just have a salt party with that. But if you are a label watcher, you will see that the sodium content is actually not that different in these salts.
In a quarter teaspoon of regular salt, you have 590 milligrams of sodium. So think about it, you're really pushing that upper limit of your sodium in 24 hours already. With just a quarter teaspoon in this sea salt, ooh that sounds healthy. "Sea salt." In a quarter teaspoon of sea salt, you have 560 milligrams of sodium. Not that much of a difference. So then how about in the fancy pink Himalayan sea salt? Well, in a quarter teaspoon of this pink Himalayan salt, also you have 560 milligrams of sodium. So remember, be a label watcher and make sure you know how much sodium you're taking in because most people should be taking in 1500 milligrams of sodium or less.
Foods High In Sodium
Let's look at some food choices because I know a lot of my patients say, "Hey, all these different salts you mentioned, they don't affect me because I don't add salt to my food." Well, a lot of times you can have a high salt intake even without picking up a salt shaker. How many of you out there like ketchup? I know I do. In just one tablespoon of ketchup, there are 160 milligrams of sodium. That's just one tablespoon. And I know most of you like a whole lot more ketchup than that. So make sure, again, you're watching the labels.
What do you think about turkey? Smoked deli turkey? That's pretty healthy, right? It seems healthy. Well, in about two ounces of smoked deli turkey, that's one serving, there are 500 milligrams of sodium. So if you have a sandwich with only two ounces of turkey, you've already used up a third of your maximum sodium intake for a day. So even with things that aren't seemingly unhealthy, there can be a lot of sodium.
Here's my favorite. If you're on a vegetarian kick, really trying to get the animal fat and the animal meat out of your diet, a lot of people opt for vegetarian sausage. That sounds healthy, right? Well, in just two vegetarian sausage links, there are 300 milligrams of sodium. What's my point? In order to reduce your blood pressure naturally, you must have a low salt diet. So be a label watcher and pay attention to your sodium intake.
3. Eat Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Another way to lower blood pressure naturally is to eat certain foods that help to promote low blood pressure. For most people, potassium can assist in lowering blood pressure and you should be taking in about 4.7 grams of potassium a day. Now, remember what I said at the beginning of this article. When you're lowering your blood pressure naturally, you must do it under the supervision of a physician. Everyone does not need a high potassium diet. In fact, if you have kidney disease or if you are a person who has potassium that is too high, then you don't need a high potassium diet. In fact, you should have a low potassium diet, about 2 grams per day. But for most people who metabolize potassium normally, you should be getting about 4.7 grams of potassium a day. Consult your physician.
• Bananas and Strawberries
So which foods are high in potassium? Bananas are a high potassium source, as well as strawberries. Who doesn't love good strawberry? Other foods, such as spinach, can help to lower the blood pressure.
Garlic is another food that can help to lower the blood pressure. Garlic is pretty neat. It actually helps by decreasing the hardening of the blood vessels. Garlic has vitamin C and vitamin B6, so it's another food that can help to lower the blood pressure.
Onions are also helpful in lowering blood pressure. They have essential oils, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Onions also have potassium. And another thing about some of these foods is that they help to intensify the taste of sodium. So if you're decreasing the sodium in your diet as you should be, but if you cook with things like garlic, spinach, onions, even putting lemons in your food, that can help you to still have very zesty, very tasteful food, and you will miss the taste of sodium less.
You may have heard of that celery challenge. Celery is another food that can help to lower the blood pressure naturally. Celery contains coumarin, and it can help to improve vascular flow. It can help to decrease blood pressure. Celery has vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It has some alkaline properties as well. And studies suggest that celery has some anti-inflammatory properties. It's even been shown in some studies, some anecdotal studies, that celery can help to purify the skin and help hair growth. So it's actually is a nice little secret weapon to lower blood pressure naturally.
4. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
If you are a person who drinks excessively, then that will increase your risk of having high blood pressure. So if you are a man, you should have no more than two drinks a day. If you are a lady, you should have no more than one drink a day. And if you are a man who is over the age of 65, you should have no more than one drink a day.
Not so fast. What is a drink? I know a whole lot of people have different definitions of what one drink is. I've seen people pour 12 ounces of hard whiskey and call that one drink. That's not a drink. There are very specific guidelines as to what one drink of alcohol is. It is 12 grams of ethanol. So how does that translate? Beer, for example. One drink of beer is 12 ounces. One drink of wine is 8 ounces, so an 8-ounce glass of wine constitutes one drink. And when you're dealing with stronger alcohol, like an 80 proof liquor, then only 1.5 ounces is one drink.
5. Use Supplements Under Doctor Supervision
• Fish oil
I do want to touch on supplements as another way to lower blood pressure naturally. Remember, every supplement is not for everyone. So if you're using supplements, you must, again, do it under the supervision of your physician. One supplement is fish oil. Now there have been trials to show that fish oil can help to lower blood pressure. In fact, there was one meta-analysis of 70 randomized trials, and it demonstrated that fish oil actually can reduce the blood pressure, both the systolic and the diastolic in people who have normal blood pressure and in people who do have a diagnosis of hypertension. They actually got the best results in people who were untreated. So fish oil is a supplement that can reduce the blood pressure naturally.
• Coq12 Supplement
Another supplement which may help to lower blood pressure naturally is CoQ12 or coenzyme Q12. There have been some studies to support this, but there also have been some mixed results. So let me just touch on it. CoQ12 is like a vitamin. It's found in the mitochondria of cells in the heart, liver, and the kidney, and it's believed to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. So it helps to fight free radicals and it potentially can help to relax the walls of blood vessels which would lower blood pressure.
• Hawthorn Extract
Hawthorn extract is an herb that is found in hawthorn plants, and there are some studies to show that it may help in the prevention of heart failure and it may also help to lower blood pressure naturally, especially in conjunction with CoQ12. Again, there are no definitive widely accepted randomized control trials, but there are some anecdotal studies and some case reports to suggest that CoQ12 and hawthorn can help to reduce blood pressure. Again, make sure you consult your physician. Don't do these supplements unless you are under the supervision of your physician.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Most people should be getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night. If you don't have enough sleep, you will increase your chances of having high blood pressure.
7. Exercise To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Having at least 30 minutes of exercise, cardiovascular, resistance training, and do at least 30 minutes most days of the week. In fact, it can help to decrease that blood pressure by as much as 5 to 15 millimeters of mercury. Yoga and meditation can also decrease blood pressure.
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8. Reduce Stress
Here's a big one. Reduce your stress. When you are stressed, you send up your hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, you tighten the blood vessels and the blood pressure goes up. So, you must find ways to reduce your stress. And if people are running you ragged and they're putting too much on you, you have to learn how to tell people no. If you don't know 'the art of telling people no', blame it on me, Dr. Frita. Say, "My doctor told me to tell you no in order to improve my blood pressure."
Oh, I mentioned at the beginning of this article that there is a select group of patients which may very likely need medications as a part of their initial therapy. Are you in this group? Here's the group. If you have kidney disease already, have had a stroke, or if you have had heart disease, then you must, must, must consult your physician and you may actually need medications, at least as the initial part of your therapy. Again, any lowering of blood pressure you're doing, do it under the supervision of a physician.
This ends my overview on how to lower blood pressure naturally and quickly and how to lower blood pressure without medications. As always, I want you to prioritize yourself, take care of you, and do your best to live your healthiest, happiest life.