Blood pressure gets a bad rap nowadays. It is understandable for chronic, excessive high blood pressure may lead to kidney damage, heart disease, aneurysm, and more. But we need a certain amount of blood pressure for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Think about it. Blood needs to go against gravity to get to the brain. Like porridge in the Goldilocks story, blood pressure shouldn’t be too high or too low. Just right…. So let’s cover some natural ways to lower your blood pressure.
Natural Ways To Lower Your Blood Pressure
120/80 is the standard number deemed to be healthy by the healthcare industry. The first number is your systolic, the pressure when the heart contracts; the second number is your diastolic, the pressure when it relaxes. Now, “healthy” blood pressure used to be 140/90, but the industry has lowered the number to 120/80. Why?
The idealist would say we have better research and technology showing that the 140/90 number was too high. The cynic would say that Big Pharma has wrapped their tentacles around the American Medical Association (AMA) and the movers and shakers of public policy to affect this number reduction. I’m of the latter.
I check my students blood pressures all the time. We have to teach them to do vital signs. Here is the thing….most healthy Americans, much less high school students don’t have a blood pressure of 120/80 or lower. It is almost untenable.
This is where Big Pharma comes in. If John Doe goes into his doctor’s office and his doctor tells him his blood pressure is 141/92, he might prescribe him atenolol or Diovan or some high blood pressure drug. And John might be on this drug for the next 40 years.
There is never a discussion about naturopathic ways to lower his blood pressure (if in fact 141/92 is unhealthy). We pop a pill and we are good to go. But hypertension (the medical term for high blood pressure) medications have a myriad of side effects. Recently, I had a Occult Health News episode on 17 Medications That May Make You Fat. Hypertensive drugs were on that list.
Big Pharma loves the reduction of normal blood pressure to 120/80 because it guarantees more future patients. More future patients equals billions of dollars. So with all things here at Naturopathic Earth let’s see medications as the LAST resort. Let’s look at some things found in your house that naturally lower high blood pressure.
Dark chocolate is a mainstay at the Luna workplace and home. I have eaten it daily for years. 90% dark chocolate. Cacao is such a superfood I’ve probably devoted 8-10 articles or podcasts on its salutary effects. Vis-à-vis blood pressure, dark chocolate contains phenols. Phenols have been proven to naturally lower blood pressure. Aside from the high fat, fiber, and nutrient-dense qualities of chocolate, here is yet another reason to indulge. ¼ of a bar a day is all you need. Click HERE to buy one of the best, affordable dark chocolate bars around.
Read our Review of dark chocolate bars.
Another mainstay here at NPE. Garlic contains allicin, a natural ingredients known to relax blood vessels which provides them more elasticity. This results in less blood pressure in the arteries since now that have more leeway. Try to incorporate garlic daily. Just nibble on a piece, put it in your foods, or take oral supplements. Click HERE to purchase some on Amazon.
Read our article on the benefits of garlic.
Magnesium is crucial for electrical conduction in the body. Unfortunately, ¾ of Americans are deficient in this mineral. We have discussed magnesium before as a natural anti-anxiety and insomnia remedy. Regarding blood pressure, magnesium relaxes blood vessels as well. So either take Magnesium supplements (supplements with a variety of different types of magnesium are the ideal, such as THIS one) and/or eat the following foods.
Basil contains eugenol, an active ingredient which in rodent studies has been shown to relax blood vessels. Put a little fresh basil on your meals or Click HERE to buy supplements.
Ginger is strong and an acquired taste. I love ginger turmeric tea and on occasion, put a little ginger in my blueberry banana smoothies. (Click HERE to see my super nutrient-dense recipe.) I also love South Asian foods which prominently feature this root. In non-human studies ginger has also been shown to relax blood vessels which lowers blood sugar.
Click HERE to buy some ginger tea online or HERE for supplements
I pretty much put cinnamon in everything. (If you don’t believe me go to the Recipes section of the site.) It is a natural sweetener which does NOT raise blood sugar levels. Plus it taste great! Don’t just put it on desserts and yogurt bowls but stews and curries. Studies have shown that intravenous use of high dose cinnamon has been shown to lower extremely high blood pressure. (Studies are inconclusive regarding oral ingestion). Either way, at the worst it is ineffectual; at the best it works well, plus it taste great. Purchase cinnamon supplements HERE.
Read our article on the Benefits of Cinnamon.
Read our Review of non-Sugar Sweeteners.
Unlike the aforementioned, I’m not the biggest fan of cardamom. Found mostly in South Asian cuisine, soups, stews and alike, small scale studies have shown that ingesting cardamom as little as 1.5 grams a day for a few weeks may reduce acute high blood pressure. Click HERE to purchase supplements.
Another seed which I personally don’t like the taste and texture, flax seed is a super food. Along with my favored seed, the Mesoamerican chia seed, flax is a chameleon that can be sprinkled on a variety of foods. Both seeds are known to be a keto-lovers dream, for they are high in Omega 3 fats and fiber, but low in carbs. Studies show that flax seed lowers not just blood pressure but LDL cholesterol levels and helps regulate blood sugar. Great for the diabetes-averse. Opt for the whole ground flax seed, more nutrient-dense. Click HERE to purchase online.
On the flip side, we won’t to avoid foods that increase blood pressure. Some of those include:
High-salt foods (processed foods, soups, pickles, olives, most canned goods)
Trans Fats-Laden foods (found in fried foods, cake icing, processed meats/foods)
These are just a few of the common pantry foods that naturally lower blood pressure. In addition to incorporating these foods, increase your exercise, eat a more Paleo-aligned diet and reduce stress. Being diagnosed with hypertension does not mean a life-long relationship with medications.