The symptoms of high blood pressure are rarely visible. But making these simple changes to your diet could contribute to keeping it in check.
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is often a silent, hidden condition. Many sufferers feel fine even when their readings are soaring. If your blood pressure is high or very high, medication will help. But if you’re looking for other complementary ways to reduce your blood pressure, healthy lifestyle changes could make an important difference.
But before we talk about some natural remedies for high blood pressure, let’s look at what’s happening to cause it.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure describes the pressure of blood in your arteries. A certain amount of pressure is normal and needed to propel your blood around your body. If you find your blood pressure fluctuates during the activities of a day, that’s normal too. What should cause a red flag, however, is if your blood pressure is persistently high even when you’re resting. This suggests your heart is being forced to work too hard to pump blood around your body.
The only way to confirm if your blood pressure is high, is with a doctor. They may diagnose hypertension, which is the medical term for consistently high blood pressure. It’s serious because it can increase the risk of heart problems, kidney disease, stroke and dementia. So, finding ways to reduce high blood pressure and maintain healthy levels is a priority.
When does blood pressure become ‘high’?
Blood pressure is measured in ‘mmHg’ (or millimetres of mercury.) The measurement comes in two numbers that represent the pressure inside your arteries. The bottom number refers to diastolic pressure – when your heart is resting between beats. The top figure is systolic pressure – when your heart beats and pushes blood out into your arteries. As a general guide, high blood pressure is a reading 140/90 mmHg or higher.
Blood pressure readingsHere's a quick guide to blood pressure readings and their meanings:1
- 90/60 mmHg – Low blood pressure
- 149/90 mmHg – Normal
- 140/180 mmHg – Possible hypertension
- 180/110 mmHg – Severe hypertension
Whether you have high blood pressure or not, it’s suggested that you follow a diet and lifestyle that aims to keep you in the healthy range between 90/60 and 120/80. So, what are the ways of lowering blood pressure naturally?
Lowering blood pressure naturally
If your latest blood pressure reading has raised concerns, you’ll be interested in how to lower blood pressure. There are many factors that can cause high blood pressure. Medical conditions definitely contribute, but diet and lifestyle have a significant influence too. For example, drinking too much alcohol, eating too much salt, smoking, being overweight and not doing enough exercise can all increase your risk of getting high blood pressure.
Our natural remedies for high blood pressure, focus on six diet adjustments that can contribute to normal, healthy blood pressure.
Reduce salt intake
Look for foods rich in potassium
Add beetroot to your diet
Unfortunately for vegetarians, finding a proven substitute with the same effect is difficult. Studies suggest that although flaxseed oil and chia seeds are a source of Omega 3, they don’t have the same effect on lowering blood pressure as fish oil. However, the blood pressure reducing potential of algae products (such as spirulina) that’s emerging looks promising. Algae-based Omega-3 supplements containing DPA could be a good alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
Cut out caffeine
Follow a DASH eating plan
- Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Choosing fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
- Avoiding or limiting foods that are high in saturated fat (e.g. fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils)
- Reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and sweet
So, are there foods that reduce blood pressure?
Diet isn’t a treatment for high blood pressure. However, a mindful, balanced diet can contribute to keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range.
Last updated: 15 July 2020