We all have spikes in blood pressure on occasion, caused by factors like excitement, stress, exertion, anger, fatigue, or being cold.. But over time, high blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, cognitive decline, and premature death.
It’s crucial to keep your blood pressure under control–but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to resort to pharmaceuticals. Read on to learn what high blood pressure is, common symptoms, and 10 natural remedies for lowering blood pressure quickly.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure measures the force of blood pumped by the heart against artery walls, in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). In adults, a normal reading is around 120/80 mmHg.
The first number (systolic) measures when the heart contracts and pushes blood, while the second number (diastolic) measures when the heart rests between beats.
Stage 1 high blood pressure is 130/80, while stage 2 is 140/90 or higher. A “hypertensive crisis” is 180/110 or above, requiring immediate medical attention.
High blood pressure symptoms
In most cases, hypertension has no symptoms and is only discovered during a physical exam. However, if you have very high blood pressure (typically 180/120 or higher), you may experience:
- Intense headaches
- Heart palpitations
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion and/or anxiety
Hypertension is called “the silent killer” for a reason. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
Treatment for hypertension
Historically, treatment for hypertension has involved medication, along with diet and lifestyle tips.
But anti-hypertensive drugs may not be the best option, as they carry potentially serious side effects, such as:
- Digestive issues
- Sexual dysfunction
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Drowsiness, weakness, or a lack of energy
- Kidney damage with long-term use
While medications are effective in the short-term, a natural approach is far more safe and effective in the long run. And some natural treatments can work just as quickly and effectively.
10 Natural remedies for lowering blood pressure quickly
Try these 10 things to lower blood pressure fast. Check your levels, if possible, to see how they affect you.
Practice deep breathing.
This is the fastest-acting natural remedy. In fact, research shows deep breathing exercises work in just a matter of seconds.
A Japanese study conducted on more than 20,000 participants found that taking six deep breaths within 30 seconds significantly reduces blood pressure. It works by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate and widens blood vessels, ultimately leading to decreased blood pressure.
Regularly practicing deep breathing yields even better results, with the potential to reduce systolic blood pressure by 9 mmHg.
To get started, set a 30-second timer, close your eyes, and take six slow breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, with each breath lasting about five seconds.
Repeat as needed, dedicating a few minutes each morning for long-term benefits.
Maintain a healthy weight.
The benefits of weight loss for managing hypertension can’t be overemphasized. In fact, overweight adults have a 50 percent higher chance of having high blood pressure compared to those at healthier weights.
Excess weight places strain on the heart and cardiovascular system, resulting in increased blood pressure. If your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher, shedding just five to 10 pounds can significantly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of other health complications.
Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise every morning may be as effective as hypertensive drugs at lowering blood pressure for the rest of the day. This applies to both aerobic and resistance exercise, with effects lasting up to 24 hours post-workout.
And regular exercise has even more benefits. It strengthens the heart, reduces artery pressure, and lowers blood pressure.
Experts recommend 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week (or 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) for adults, and 1 hour of exercise per day for children and teens.
Find a workout or variety of workouts you enjoy to help you stay motivated, such as walking through your neighborhood park, dancing, or swimming. You can also increase your daily activity levels by incorporating activities like the following into your routine:
- Taking the stairs
- Doing household chores
- Playing sports
Cut back on alcohol.
According to a 2020 review, consuming more than 2.5 alcoholic beverages per day can elevate your heart rate for up to 24 hours. While blood pressure initially drops for 12 hours, it later increases.
While some studies show an association between drinking red wine and better heart health, excessive red wine consumption has the opposite effect. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of two standard drinks per day for males and one per day for females.
Limiting your alcohol consumption is a quick and effective way to lower blood pressure naturally and protect your cardiovascular health.
Smoking is a major risk factor for hypertension, increasing the likelihood of high blood pressure and its associated complications. The chemicals in cigarettes harm blood vessels, constrict arteries, and raise heart rate, elevating blood pressure levels.
The good news is quitting smoking can lead to improvements in blood pressure quite rapidly. Within just twenty minutes, your blood pressure drops and circulation improves. And after one day, your risk of heart attack begins to decrease.
By kicking the smoking habit, you not only take a significant step towards lowering your blood pressure but also improving your overall health and reducing your risk of heart disease.
Eat less salt.
High salt consumption is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, while reducing salt intake has the opposite effect.
While the exact reasons aren’t fully understood, researchers believe reduced salt intake can help minimize water retention and inflammation in blood vessels. By avoiding excess sodium, your body may retain less water, leading to a decrease in blood volume and a subsequent drop in blood pressure.
Adopt a heart-healthy diet.
The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a healthy eating plan aimed at preventing or reducing high blood pressure. It emphasizes potassium, calcium, and magnesium-rich foods while limiting sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.
- 8 to 10 servings of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables each day
- 2 to 3 servings of skim or low-fat dairy foods
- 7 to 8 servings of grains
- Up to 2 servings of lean meat daily
- 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, and beans over the course of the week
- 2-3 servings per day of healthy fats like avocado and olive oil
Research shows that following the DASH diet for just two weeks can reduce your blood pressure by a few points. And over time, you can see a reduction of eight to 14 points. It’s truly an effective, natural treatment for hypertension.
Get plenty of minerals.
Potassium, calcium, and magnesium play crucial roles in reducing blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium and promoting relaxation of blood vessels. You can get these vital minerals through foods and/or supplementation.
Eat plenty of potassium-rich foods such as:
- Dried fruit
- Kidney beans
- Winter squash (butternut or acorn)
- Beet greens
You can also load up on calcium and magnesium by eating:
- Collard greens
Garlic is a fantastic natural treatment for hypertension. Garlic supplements have proven effective in reducing blood pressure, similar to standard medications. They also improve cardiovascular health by reducing arterial stiffness, cholesterol levels, and blood clotting.
Research shows that garlic supplements lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues.
Take a natural garlic supplement, or eat at least one clove of garlic a day. You can also add chopped garlic to stir-fries, sauces, salads, and vegetables.
Studies show that Kyolic aged garlic extract (aged garlic extract powder that’s manufactured from organically-grown garlic bulbs), in particular, is great at lowering central blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
Try herbal remedies like CoQ-10.
Another fantastic natural remedy for lowering blood pressure is CoQ-10. Studies show it can reduce systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg with minimal side effects.
You can also try other herbal supplements to complement your dietary and exercise interventions for hypertension. Some supplements that have been shown to be beneficial for lowering blood pressure quickly include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Green tea extract
- Chinese hawthorn
- Ginger root
Taking steps to control your blood pressure is vital for your health and well-being. By following the natural remedies and lifestyle changes mentioned, you can expect to see positive changes in your blood pressure relatively quickly.
If you continue to notice high blood pressure readings or have any concerns, it’s important to consult with your natural healthcare provider for personalized guidance and support. Your health matters, so take the necessary steps to keep your blood pressure in check and enjoy a healthier life.
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