Natural ways to lower blood pressure


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It’s a great pleasure today to speak with you about natural ways to lowerour blood preasure. when  Doctors see patients in clinic, patient always ask in well, how can I try and avoid medicine as much as possible? What can I do naturally to lower my blood pressure? And they come in with all kinds of ideas and thing they’ve read on the internet about lowering blood pressure. Does this special supliment help, etc, The majority of them, no they don’t really tend to lower blood presure, or at least there’s not good data to back up a veriety of lifestyle measures that we can actually use to naturally lower blood pressure and they actually become the cornerstone of hypertantion management. As Doctors always say to patients, 70% is lifestyle, 30% is medications. Doctors can give you six, seven eight blood pressure medicines if you’re not doing the lifestyle components. you’re really not going to be effectively lowering your blood pressure. So these are generally things that people think about, but we have to be we have to be diligent in doing them.

The first one that we think about is weight loss. It’s very clear from the most recent hypertension guidelines and from a variety of data that weight loss helps lower blood pressure. The standard rule of thumb that we see is getting to your ideal body weight lowers blood pressure by about six millimeters of mercury in the studies that have looked at it. However, another rule of thumb that we can use is for every kilogram that an individual loses, their blood pressure is decreased by one millimeter of mercury. So definitely powerful stuff, something to consider when you’re getting on the scale in the morning. Other things that we think about are nutritional or dietary patterns. The most well studied natural intervention for blood pressure is introduction or the use of a dash diet. Now, the dash diet is an acronym. It stands for dietary approaches to stopping hypertension. And the specifics are that it’s essentially a well balanced diet of moderation, plenty of fruits and vegetables. It tends to more towards a Mediterranean dietary pattern, but it’s also low sodium. And that really brings us to the next component that I would say from a lifestyle perspective, is the most important part of blood pressure management, and that’s making sure that an individual is on a low sodium diet. Now, there’s different levels of sodium out there that different organizations suggest as the maximum of sodium during a day. The American Heart Association recommends 1500 milligrams of sodium. We know that people can generally get away with a maximum of 2300 milligrams of sodium throughout the day. The difference in blood pressure between 1500 milligrams a day and 2300 milligrams a day is only about two or three millimeters of mercury. So it’s important to understand that and really try and stay below 2300 milligrams of sodium throughout the day. It’s also important to understand that when I say sodium, I’m talking about salt for those of you that aren’t aware of that and that all salt is created equal. So sea salt is the same as table salt is the same as Himalayan salt, is the same as the pink salt, which I think is Himalayan salt as well. But they all increased blood pressure. So it’s very important. When they look back when they were doing the initial studies on sodium intake and blood pressure, low sodium diet was worth about one and a half to two blood pressure medicines.

So really powerful, natural way to lower one’s blood pressure. On that line of electrolytes, we also really focus on potassium intake in individuals with hypertension. And it’s the inverse of sodium. So too much sodium intake increases blood pressure. Too little potassium intake or too low of potassium values also increased blood pressure. So it’s important to understand that and make sure that your diet is replete with potassium. Now, of course, if someone has other compelling indications for a low potassium diet like chronic kidney disease, which means our bodies ultimately hold on to potassium a little bit more than the normal individual. But in the person with normal kidneys, it’s important that we’re having plenty of fruits and vegetables and making sure our potassium levels are normal when we check. The other natural things that we think about lowering blood pressure are physical activity. It’s very important. And there’s a couple of different types that I often times speak to my patients about. The first is moderate aerobic physical activity. So when I may say moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, that essentially means a brisk walk or a light jog. And the guideline recommendations suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week.

Now, we know individuals do better from a cardiovascular perspective, the more that they do. But really at least a minimum of 150 is how we should be or how much we should be trying to get on a weekly basis. Once you’ve achieved that amount of aerobic physical activity, another nice addition and another way to lower blood pressure is with light resistance activities. So some light weights, some light bands. These can be very effective at lowering blood pressure. And it doesn’t have to be five, six times a week. Really, the sweet spot for cardiovascular disease is 2-3 times a week, 20 to 30 minutes. And it’s important because we know that as individuals age, we actually have to do more physical activity every year just to keep the muscle mass we have. And this can be really helpful in terms of lowering blood pressure. Finally, only one of the things that we oftentimes think about in terms of elevating blood pressure is alcohol intake. So the most recent blood pressure guidelines recommend no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two alcoholic drinks per day perminute for men to maintain normal blood pressures.

Those are just a few ways that we can naturally lower our blood pressure and try and avoid taking medicines as much as possible. Thanks very much.

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