Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Medication
Maybe your goal is to cut back on or come off of medication, or maybe you just want to be healthier. Either way, here are some things to do! (If your blood pressure is over 140/90 you should see your doctor)
- •Get to a healthy weightWeight loss is the most effective non-medication way to lower blood pressure. A healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18-25, but BMI is not accurate for people with high muscle volume. You can calculate your BMI using an online calculator.
- •Exercise regularlyStrengthen your cardiovascular system with exercise like running, jogging, biking or swimming. You should get some form of exercise most days, and 20-30 minutes of that exercise should be hard enough that you break a sweat and can't carry a conversation.
- •Cut back on saltThe western diet is high in salt due to processed foods, pre-prepared meals and restaurant food. Not all peoples blood pressures respond to cutting back on salt. The goal if you decide to try this is 2 grams (2000mg) of sodium a day—you may have to get creative with food choices, it's hard to cut back on salt on a western diet!
- •Cut back or quit drinkingYour blood pressure goes up when you binge drink, and if you regularly drink more than 2-3 drinks in a day it can lead to persistent high blood pressure
- •RelaxWe live in a fast-paced world. The chronic stress of deadlines, long work hours, broken sleep, etc. puts our bodies into survival mode, which strains our cardiovascular system and can raise our blood pressure. Take time to meditate, be mindful, journal, read (for fun!), work on an art project, whatever it is that lets you relax and put all the things you need to do out of your mind
- •Quit smokingQuitting smoking is the best thing a person can do for their health. Everyone knows about lung disease with smoking, but many people don't know it also raises your blood pressure
- •Talk to your doctorThe lifestyle changes that lower blood pressure are hard to do! Losing weight, eating healthy, exercising...your doctor is on your team! They can help you come up with a plan that fits your life. Also, know that sometimes high blood pressure isn't totally in our control—it tends to run in families. So if your blood pressure can't be controlled by lifestyle, it doesn't mean you've failed. Medications are safe and effective, and the important thing is keeping your blood pressure at a safe level!