High blood pressure—hypertension—plays a role in more than 15 percent of deaths in the United States, and people are increasingly seeking methods to lower their blood pressure naturally and quickly. Having this chronic disease increases the risk of developing heart attacks and even strokes: some of the most common reasons for sudden death today. Poorly managed high blood pressure may also lead to aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. The American Heart Association estimates that 28 percent of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.
How to control high blood pressure immediately
High blood pressure used to be a disease that affected only the older population, but now more than one-third of young people between the ages of 16 to 34 suffer from it as well. This has made finding a solution all the more important, with most medical professionals simply relying on pharmaceutical medication to help alleviate this situation (this may introduce more problems and complications, so be careful). Choosing to eat more foods and herbs that naturally lower blood pressure can help mitigate the use of potentially harmful drugs if used correctly. The following are some natural and quick remedies that can help regulate blood pressure:
- Raw almonds: Consuming a handful of raw almonds can make a significant difference in your blood pressure. Almonds are considered a key component of the DASH diet—dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet—as they are rich in monounsaturated fats scientifically proven to lower cholesterol, reduce arterial inflammation, and lower blood pressure. It is important to note that almonds are high in fat and calories, but when eaten as part of a healthy lifestyle, they may actually promote weight loss and muscle growth.
- Cayenne pepper: Considered a very powerful vasodilator that helps expand blood vessels and improve blood flow. Cayenne pepper is considered one of the fastest blood pressure lowering foods out there. Dilating the blood vessels allows for increased blood flow rate throughout the circulatory system and takes pressure off the arterial walls. This can be easily taken by mixing two teaspoons of cayenne pepper in warm water with honey and aloe Vera to make a great tasting hypertension alleviating home remedy. If cayenne pepper is too spicy, it can be found in capsule supplements.
- Coconut water: A great beverage on hot days, coconut water is rich in minerals and nutrients. It contains many electrolytes essential for the body, such as potassium, and has been shown to significantly lower blood pressure in most people who drink it. A study published in West Indian Medical Journal found that drinking coconut water helped 71 percent of participants achieve a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure, and 29 percent of participants achieves a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure
- Raw cacao: Containing flavonoids and other anti-inflammatory properties, this food is known for combating the symptoms of stress, a common contributor to high blood pressure. Many studies involving raw cacao flavonoids demonstrate reduced blood pressure upon consumption, with an average reduction of 4.7/2.8 mmHg for systolic/diastolic respectively.
How to lower blood pressure naturally
- Eat beets: Rich in vitamins and minerals, this root vegetable can help decrease blood pressure. A 2010 study in hypertension found that drinking only 250ml of juice was needed have a positive effect on blood pressure. Many of the participants saw lowered blood pressure within 24 hours. Another study from 2012 saw that beetroot juice helped lower systolic blood pressure.
- Reduce your fat and sugar intake: Maintaining a healthy weight for your body type helps keep blood pressure under control. It has been proven that losing excess weight can drastically lower blood pressure values. When obesity and hypertension are coupled together, it can lead to some dangerous long-term health effects that could eventually be fatal in the long run. It is estimated that about 36.5 Americans are obese, with the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar being the main culprit. It is important to make weight loss a priority when treating your high blood pressure.
- Increase a number of fruits and vegetables you eat: This is a great way to get more natural food into your diet. The DASH diet recommends four to five servings of fruit and four to five servings of vegetables, with a serving size being half a cup. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of potassium and magnesium, making them great natural sources for blood pressure control. You can start by making smaller changes to your diet plan, such as choosing to eat fruit instead of an unhealthy snack.
- Whole grain carbohydrates: Another part of the DASH diet, eating whole grain carbohydrates is recommended. Whole grains contain more nutrients and fiber than processed white flour, meaning you will stay full longer and feel less hungry. A typical serving is a slice of bread or a half cup of cooked pasta.
- Control your meat consumption: While eating meat is not bad for you—in fact, it is a great source of protein—it is important not to overdo it. Lean meats such as poultry and fish are the best kinds of meat to consume. Meat generally has a high amount of fat and cholesterol and may contribute to clogged arteries, so it is important to limit this food to six ounces per day to best help control weight and your blood pressure.
- Evaluate your dairy products: Choosing to consume low-fat dairy products is best. Drinking two to three cups of low-fat milk can be a rich source of calcium and vitamin D. Other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt should be eaten in their low-fat varieties.
- Indulge in dark chocolate: A rich source of flavanols that make blood vessels more elastic and increase the chances of low blood pressure. A previous study found that 18 percent of patients who ate dark chocolate every day saw noticeable blood pressure decreases. Eating a half ounce of dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa is recommended.
- Pick potatoes: Rich in potassium, potatoes can be a great addition to any blood pressure lowing program. Sweet potatoes are a great source.
Weird ways to control high blood pressure
- Seek the sun: A natural source of energy and one that keeps you healthy. A recent study found that people exposed to UV rays for a short duration experienced a significant drop in blood pressure, even before their production for vitamin D activated. This is thought to be because of the sunlight converting nitrate stored in the skin to nitric oxide—a potent vasodilator.
- Visit the zoo: Viewing and being around animals can be very therapeutic, having a positive effect on blood pressure levels. A study in Japan found that when people visited a zoo, their systolic blood pressure dropped by six percent and their diastolic blood pressure dropped by eight percent. It is thought that observing animals simulated the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces blood pressure to help counteract stress-induced adrenaline spikes.
- Volunteer: Those who volunteer at least 200 hours a year, for roughly four hours per week, are 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. Not only is volunteering good to help us stay healthy, but it also provides us the opportunity to make social connections.
- Just dance: Jamming to music can be a great stress reliever, as a recent Japanese study found that people who regularly sang along and moved to music saw a significant decline in their blood pressure. It is possible that listening to awesome tunes may release dopamine—the reward chemical in the brain leading to the pressure drop.
- Get a grip: Performing isometric exercises such as squeezing a spring-loaded hand grip device for two minutes at a time has been shown to help control blood pressure levels, according to the American Heart Association study review. It is thought that this exercise improves blood-vessel function.