Do you dread getting your blood pressure taken?
Why? You don’t want to be judged by numbers out of your control.
You feel frustrated, embarrassed, and powerless because you don’t feel like you have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is the leading risk factor in the world (1). But you don’t want medication because of the side-effects. You want to know how to lower blood pressure naturally.
In this article, you’ll learn 21 natural blood pressure remedies that treat the cause.
Unlike most articles, you’ll learn why they work and how to make them a habit. Keep reading to learn how your blood pressure can decrease as you get older.Learn how your blood pressure can decrease as you get older. What makes your heart skip a beat?
How To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
If you’re having trouble lowering blood pressure, most likely you have an unidentified physical, chemical, or emotional stress. Until you deal with each one, your blood pressure will remain high. These remedies can help you reduce or eliminate each type of stress.
In the first two sections, you’ll learn how to reduce both physical and chemical stress. In the last section, you’ll learn how to deal with emotional stress.
1. Do One Of These Exercises Five Minutes A Day
What’s the easiest way to lower your blood pressure?
Move your body by doing something you enjoy.
How does exercise lower blood pressure?
Your body adapts to your environment and activity to give you what you need. If you are inactive most days, your blood vessels will become stiff. If you’re active, your arteries stay flexible.
Aerobic exercise keeps your blood vessels flexible by forcing them to expand and contract. Flexibility allows your blood vessels to expand and contract easier putting less stress on your arteries.
Exercise also promotes the formation of new blood vessels. With more room to flow and flexible blood vessel walls, your blood pressure lowers.
How long should you exercise to reduce blood pressure?
The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, three to four times a week (2). You may also get similar benefits with three or four 15 minute workouts throughout the day (3)
Don’t worry about how long you exercise at the beginning, focus on creating a habit instead.
Commit to a minimum of five minutes of exercise a day until it becomes a habit. It takes about 66 days to build a habit.
Five minutes is short enough to trick your brain into giving you willpower, but it’s long enough for you to want to keep going. Don’t break the chain, on days you don’t have five minutes, do one minute.
Also, set a maximum exercise length for days you feel motivated. If you start exercising an hour a day you’ll burn out and need a break. And if you are not consistent, your blood pressure could rise again.
Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that works for you.
Fun exercise ideas for blood pressure
- Walking with friends
- Strength training
- Using a rebounder
Using a rebounder (mini-trampoline) for 10 minutes is like 30 minutes at the gym.
High Blood Pressure Cause: Stiff arteries, weakened circulatory system
- Choose a few fun exercises (in case one isn’t available every day)
- Plan to exercise for at least five minutes a day
Further Reading: 30 Benefits of Walking Every Day
2. Lose Weight Eating These Nutrient-Dense Foods
Want food that tastes good, you can eat all you want, and it helps lower your blood pressure?
Your best option is nutrient-dense foods that make you feel full and satisfied.
The Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI score) (4) is a food’s vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content relative to its caloric content. The higher the score, the better it is for health and weight loss.
We eat junk food usually because we’re trying to fill two needs, taste and nutrition. Because it lacks nutrients, you can’t stop eating it until you’re full or feel sick.
If you’re not getting enough nutrients, your body resists letting go of fat. You may be starving even if you’re overweight.If you're not getting enough nutrients, your body resists letting go of fat. You may be starving even if you're overweight.
Eat your favorite high nutrient density foods first. These foods provide nutrients and a variety of tastes. You’ll be satisfied enough to resist junk food or eat less of it.
Why does your weight affect blood pressure?
Being overweight can cause hypertension in two ways.
- It puts stress on your heart and arteries.
- It can cause sleep apnea where you stop breathing multiple times throughout the night. Sleep apnea can lead to hypertension and irregular heartbeat.
Losing five percent of your body weight is enough to significantly reduce your blood pressure (5). In general, you may lower your blood pressure by about 1 mm Hg per kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight loss. (6)
When you combine weight loss with exercise, the effect on blood pressure is even better (7). For the best results, eat one of your favorite nutrient-dense foods and do your favorite exercises every day.
High Blood Pressure Cause: Stress on heart and arteries, sleep apnea
- Try several nutrient-dense foods and find your favorites
- Eat all of your favorite whole plant foods that you can eat (check with your doctor to see if they are safe for you first)
Further Reading: How To Lose Weight Without Exercise
What’s The Best Diet For Blood Pressure?
Firstly, we’ll look at what’s considered the best diet for blood pressure. Secondly, we’ll look at a diet that’s even better. Lastly, we’ll look at individual foods that reduce blood pressure.
3. Try the DASH Diet
The DASH Diet is a flexible and balanced diet designed to support heart health (8). It’s meant to be a balanced diet that you can adapt to your lifestyle.
The DASH diet includes the following:
- Whole grains
- Low fat or fat-free dairy
- Vegetable oils
The DASH diet recommends limiting the following:
- Foods high in saturated fat
- Fatty meat
- High-fat dairy
- High-fat coconut and palm oils
- Foods and beverages with added sugar
The DASH is considered one of the best non-pharmaceutical treatments for hypertension (9). And it can help lower systolic blood pressure up to 11 mmHg.
So why isn’t the DASH Diet the best diet for heart health?
4. Try The Diet Even Better Than the DASH Diet
The Dash Diet is not designed to be the best diet for heart health. Its goal is to get the health-promoting benefits of a vegetarian diet, yet include enough animal products to appeal to the general population (9).
Dr. Sacks was the Chair of the Design Committee that created the DASH diet. Research by Dr. Sacks found that the additional plant foods, not the changes in oil, carbs, or dairy appear to be responsible for the benefits of the DASH diet (10).
Even though Dr. Sacks found that the more dairy people ate, the higher their blood pressure, he still recommends dairy to make the diet appealing.
Studies show that the more meat and dairy you eat, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure.
A study of 89,000 people compared non-vegetarians to semi-vegetarians (occasional meat), compared to pescovegetarians (no meat except fish), compared to vegetarians (no meat), compared to vegans (no eat meat, eggs, or dairy (11).
“There was a significant drop in hypertension rates as people ate more and more plant-based”
Hypertension: Plant-based diet vs a non-vegetarian diet
- Semi-vegetarians were about 23% less likely to have hypertension compared to non-vegetarians
- Pescovegetarians were about 38% less likely
- Vegetarians were about 55% less likely
- Vegans were about 75% less likely
The good news is It doesn’t take long to see a difference.
Seven days on a vegan diet is enough to lower systolic blood pressure 8 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure 4 mmHg (12). Why not try a vegan diet for seven days before your next blood pressure test?
Did you know that blood pressure does not have to increase with age?
Rural populations in China and Africa have a blood pressure of about 110 over 70 their whole lives! What’s their secret? They eat mostly a wholefood plant-based diet and save meat for special occasions.
- Add at least one wholefood plant-based food to your diet a day
- Cut out one animal-based food from your diet a day
- Try a vegan diet for seven days
Now that you know how animal products raise your blood pressure, how can you find what food manufacturers are hiding in your food?
5. Check Food Labels For These Hidden Clues
Food manufacturers spend millions of dollars to hide how bad their food is for you, but they leave clues. Read the label and watch out for the following clues:
- Small listed serving sizes. The smaller the serving size, the less they can put on the label. For example, the amount of sodium per serving appears low with a small serving size. How many servings do you eat?
- Low fat. Low fat usually means it contains more sodium or sugar to make up for its taste.
- Low Sodium. Low sodium is good, but make sure they didn’t add more saturated fat or sugar to make up for it.
- Sodium Listing. The FDA warns that a sodium listing of 20% or more is high, and 5% or less is low (13).
- “Natural flavors.” Legally, natural flavors can mean almost anything. If they don’t list all the ingredients, they could be hiding something.
- Hydrogenated oils.
- Added sugar.
- Artificial sweeteners.
If you see something on a food label you don’t know, don’t assume it’s safe, Google it.If you see something on a food label you don't know, don't assume it's safe, Google it.
- Read the ingredients on the food label of everything you buy.
- Forget food labels and buy whole vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices and prepare all your own food.
6. Get Motivated to Eat Less Salt By the Yanomamo People
The Yanomamo people, a no-salt culture, have the lowest salt intake ever recorded (14).
What’s their blood pressure?
They maintain a blood pressure of 100 over 60 throughout their lifetime. Not only do they have zero cases of hypertension, but those in their 50s have the same blood pressure as a 20-year-old! (15)
Why does sodium (salt) raise your blood pressure?
High blood pressure appears to be how your body removes excess sodium from your system.
Dozens of studies show that the more you reduce your salt intake, the lower you can reduce your blood pressure (16). And reducing your salt intake helps you lower blood pressure whether you’re eating a healthy diet or not, (17).
The Intersalt study covered 32 centers from 32 countries, each with hundreds of participants (18). Four of the centers were in countries that comply with the American Heart Association guidelines for sodium intake.
How many cases of high blood pressure did these four centers have? Zero.
Less than 1% of Americans comply with the American Heart Association guidelines for less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.! The average American eats 3,500 mg of sodium per day, more than twice the American Heart Association’s recommendation (19).Less than 1% of Americans comply with the American Heart Association guidelines for less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
Action Plan: Three Simple Ways To Reduce Sodium
- Eat less processed foods. “Nearly 80 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods” says AHA president Dr. Mark Creager (20). Wholefood plants contain just the right amount of sodium.
- Don’t add Salt. Try many different spices and use your favorites to flavor your meals
- Be patient.“It takes about 10 to 14 days to adjust to a low-sodium diet; then some foods will begin to taste salty,” says Dr. Laffin
If you’re eating a whole food plant-based diet, eat minimal salt, and you still have hypertension, keep reading to learn which foods have blood pressure-lowering benefits.
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
Even if you already eat these foods, you’ll benefit from the placebo effect. When you learn the benefits of something, and you’re optimistic, your subconscious mind will try to create your expectations.
7. Nutrealize Sodium With These Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium is a mineral that can help lower your blood pressure in two different ways.
- Potassium helps flush excess sodium out of your body (21)
- Potassium eases tension on your blood vessel walls
Warning: If you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to eliminate potassium (22). Talk to your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
Foods Rich In Potassium
The best source of potassium is whole-food plants because all the nutrients work in synergy.
- Sweet potatoes
- White Beans
- Black Beans
- Eat at least one extra food high in potassium
8. Try The Nitrate Rich Foods That Make Exercise Easier
What if it was easier to exercise and you could think clearer?
Sounds like a job for dietary nitrates.
Your body converts nitrates into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate your blood vessels and increase blood flow. Not only can it help lower blood pressure (23), it can improve your exercise performance and brain function.
A study funded by the British Heart Foundation tested dietary nitrates for sustained blood pressure reduction. They gave 68 hypertensive patients either 250 mL (about 8.5 oz) of beet juice with nitrates daily or a nitrate-free beetroot juice (23).
Those in the beetroot juice with nitrates group lowered their blood pressure about 7.7/2.4mmHg. Unlike medications, there weren’t any negative side effects. Those in the nitrate-free beetroot juice group had no change in blood pressure.
Beetroot juice is one of many foods that offer affordable medication-free treatment for blood pressure.
Which Foods Have the Most Nitrates?
Plants are the best sources of dietary nitrates because your body can convert them into nitric oxide. Animal products do not contain nitrates naturally. The meat industry adds nitrites to keep the meat pink. Nitrites are classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (24).
The best source of dietary nitrates include:
- Dark Chocolate
- Leafy Greens
- Eat some of your favorite nitrate-rich wholefood plants every day
9. Eat The Seed That Lowers Blood Pressure Better Than Exercise
Imagine a seed that’s better at lowering blood pressure than exercise or medication?
Sound too good to be true?
One study found that eating a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day was two to three times more powerful than starting an aerobic endurance exercise program (25).
Another study found that those who ate ground flaxseed had a greater blood pressure decrease than those on a standard dose of blood pressure medication (26).
Not only is flaxseed cheap, but it also has good side effects besides blood pressure.
Each component of flaxseed contributes to lowering blood pressure. Flaxseeds are excellent sources of the following:
- Cancer-fighting lignans
- Soluble fiber
- Plant protein
Remember, you need to grind flaxseed to get its benefits. The fresher the better.
Flaxseed < Flaxseed oil < Ground Flaxseed < Freshly ground flaxseed
- Buy ground flaxseed or grind your own in a coffee grinder.
- Be creative, add ground flaxseed to almost any recipe.
10. Eat Blueberries, But Not With This Popular Food
Blueberries can help lower your blood pressure dramatically, but they have no benefit if you eat them with dairy.
Two studies found that blueberries were effective, and three found no significant benefit. The two studies that had a significant effect prepared blueberry powder with water. But the studies that found no significant effect were prepared with yogurt and milk-based smoothies (27).
How many blueberries do you need to eat?
One study found that those who ate one cup of blueberries a day for eight weeks lowered their blood pressure from 138/80 to 131/75 (28).
Another study found that eating 2 cups of blueberries a day had the same effect as 1 cup a day (29).
Eating more than 1 cup a day doesn’t seem to work any better. You may get the same benefits with less, it hasn’t been tested,
- Eat a few or up to a cup of blueberries a day
- Don’t eat dairy (milk or yogurt) with your blueberries
11. Eat Enough Garlic To Double Your Artery Function
How’d you like to double your artery function, lower blood pressure, and ward off vampires for less than a penny a day?
The following study was not funded by vampires (drug companies).
Researchers randomized heart disease patients to receive either garlic powder or a placebo twice daily for three months. Those in the garlic group increased their artery function by 50%. That’s just a quarter-teaspoon (about 800 mg) of garlic powder a day for less than a penny a day (30).
Improved artery function means lower blood pressure, but how much lower?
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials found that garlic can significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (31). Garlic reduced:
- Systolic blood pressure (top number) by about 7
- Diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) by about 5
How good Is that?
Reducing diastolic blood pressure by five points can reduce your risk of stroke by about a third, and heart disease by a quarter (32).
Which is better, garlic powder or supplements?
The previous studies show that garlic powder works. But another study found that time-release garlic extract can work even better than regular garlic powder tablets (33).
- Consider eating or taking up to a quarter teaspoon (about 800 mg) of garlic a day
12. Eat More Dark Chocolate Than Your Neighbor
Are people who eat more dark chocolate healthier than those who eat less?
When it comes to blood pressure, yes.
A study of 14,310 people found that those who ate more dark chocolate had lower blood pressure than those who ate less (34).
How does dark chocolate lower blood pressure?
Dark chocolate, or cocoa, is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant compounds that help dilate or widen your blood vessels. Wider blood vessels allow the same amount of blood to flow with less pressure on your blood vessel walls.
How much dark chocolate should you eat?
Another study found that two squares a day of dark chocolate are enough to get the benefit of the flavonoids (35). You can eat more, but make sure it is real dark chocolate.
For lowering blood pressure, dark chocolate should:
- Be at least 60 to 70% cocoa
- Be non-alkalized
- Have no added sugar or milk
- Eat two squares of real dark chocolate a day
Avoid These Blood Pressure Triggers
In this section, you’ll learn science-based blood pressure triggers.
If you reduce these blood pressure triggers, you can reduce their harmful effects. And you’ll benefit from the placebo effect because you’ll expect to get healthier.
But if you do not reduce them, they’ll continue to harm your physical health. And you’ll experience the nocebo effect, fI you believe it’s bad for you, it will have negative effects. Align your actions with your beliefs and your blood pressure should improve.
13. Reduce Carbs, But Only From These Foods
Want to get the benefits of a low carb diet without counting carbs?
First, what are carbs?
Carbs, or carbohydrates, are sugars, starches, or fibers found naturally in food (36).
What’s the benefit of cutting carbs?
One study found that a low carb diet can lower diastolic blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg and systolic blood pressure by 5.9 mm Hg (37). Participants ate less than 20 g of carbohydrate daily for 48 weeks.
But these results aren’t as impressive as just seven days on a vegan diet.
Carbs are vital macronutrients like fat and protein. So why do low-carb diets work?
Most of the benefits of a low carb diet come from cutting out refined carbs, mainly flour and sugar. All refined carbs convert into sugar in your bloodstream and cause damage. And research is finding that highly refined carbs could be worse for blood pressure than salt (38).
Follow these rules for counting carbs:
- Cutting carbs is perfect for reducing bread, added sugar, pasta, and other processed foods. Processed foods have carbs, added sugar, salt, and preservatives. But they have little nutritional value.
- Carb counting fails when you avoid fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Wholefood plants have carbs but no added sugar, salt, or preservatives. And they also have vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients.
People in the Blue Zones eat mostly carbohydrates. You won’t find many people with hypertension in these regions because the carbs they eat come from whole plant foods.
- Use carb counting only for reducing added sugar, bread, and pasta
- Don’t avoid eating healthy wholefoods just because of their carbs
14. Don’t Believe This Dangerous Blood Pressure Mythe
Do the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption outweigh the risks?
The alcohol industry spends millions to make you believe that alcohol good for your heart. Many population studies even show a slight benefit to drinking alcohol in moderation.
But these population studies misclassify those who quit drinking because of health problems as non-drinkers. It’s a perfect example of reverse causation. Instead of abstaining from alcohol causing poor health, poor health may have lead to abstaining.
One study of 24,029 individuals controlled for health conditions and several other factors.
They found that moderate alcohol consumption, such as a glass of wine a day, does not appear to increase your life expectancy (39).
“The immediate implication from this [new research] is that clinicians need to be highly sceptical about the hypothesized health benefits of alcohol consumption and should not advise their patients to drink to improve their life expectancy. This is especially important given increasing awareness of cancer risks from even moderate alcohol use.” (40)
If you’re going to drink, at least follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than two drinks a day for men, and no more than one drink for women (41).
A standard drink includes the following: (42)
- One 12-ounce beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits
Alcohol also contains a significant amount of sugar and calories. These calories contribute to weight gain, another cause of high blood pressure. Lastly, alcohol can counteract blood pressure medications.
Because of alcohol’s cancer risk, and only harm without benefit, the ideal amount of alcohol for a daily basis is zero.
- Save alcohol for special occasions (Like they do in the Blue zones)
- If you drink, drink in moderation
15. Stop Making Tobacco Companies Rich
Tobacco companies have been one of the best investments for decades. Why?
Few people are greedy enough to invest in tobacco companies. But millions of people are willing to pay them to ruin their health. The choice is yours.
Nicotine raises your blood pressure both immediately and in the long-term. Although the immediate increase is temporary, the damage is long-term.
How does nicotine raise your blood pressure?
Nicotine raises your blood pressure by damaging blood vessel walls, causing inflammation, and narrowing arteries (43).
Even secondhand smoke can damage your arteries and raise your blood pressure.
One study found that children exposed to secondhand smoke at home had higher blood pressure than children from nonsmoking homes (44).
If you’re serious about your health and/or your children’s health, avoid smoking in all forms. Nicotine includes the following:
A Simple Strategy To Quit Smoking (Or Any Bad Habit)
Smoking is addicting. But it’s not the cigarette or nicotine you’re addicted to, it’s the feeling. You can overcome any addiction by replacing that feeling with healthy habits.
The Tamed Course by Improvement Pill is a free video series to help you “Quit ANY ADDICTION.” This course gives you a strategy to replace bad habits with healthy ones as painlessly as possible.
- Talk with your doctor about smoking and decide to make a change
- Watch the Tamed Course
16. Learn Your Caffeine Tolerance
Most people are caffeine-insensitive, they metabolize caffeine rapidly (45). But some people are caffeine-sensitive, they have certain gene variants in their liver that make them slow metabolizers.
One study found that those with impaired caffeine metabolism genes have a greater risk of becoming hypertensive drinking one to three cups a day, especially four or more (46).
How long does caffeine raise your blood pressure?
Caffeine raises blood pressure for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the individual (47). But there’s little evidence that consuming caffeine regularly can raise your blood pressure long-term (48).
What about rapid caffeine metabolizers?
The more coffee that rapid metabolizers drank, the lower their risk of hypertension! Why?
Besides caffeine, coffee has beneficial polyphenol antioxidants (49). Caffeine can spike adrenaline levels, but only in slow metabolizers. Rapid metabolizers can eliminate caffeine before there’s an increase in adrenaline, even drinking four or more cups a day.
Rapid metabolizers get the healthy polyphenols that lower blood pressure, without the negative effects of caffeine.
How to Tell If You’re Caffeine-sensitive:
- You rarely drink caffeinated coffee, tea, or soda.
- Your systolic blood pressure increases 5 to 10 mm Hg after consuming caffeine
- Reducing caffeine lowers your blood pressure.
- Work with your doctor to test whether caffeine raises or lowers your blood pressure
- Avoid caffeine before blood pressure tests
17. Sleep at the Best Time For Healing
Your body heals when you sleep, but mostly between 10 PM and 2 AM.
Your body releases healing hormones at their highest doses between 10 PM and 2 AM. If you’re still awake at this time, you miss most of your body’s chance to heal. Instead, you get an energy boost that makes it harder to fall asleep.
Your blood pressure drops 10 to 20% during normal sleep, or what is called “nocturnal dipping” (50).
If you don’t get quality sleep, your blood pressure stays higher for longer, causing damage to your arteries. A lack of nocturnal dipping is associated with hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, and sleep apnea.
Each 5% deficiency in the normal decline in sleep blood pressure is associated with about a 20% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.
How long Should You Sleep?
The CDC recommends that adults sleep between 7 and 9 hours (51). The national Sleep Heart Health Study found that regularly sleeping less than 7 hours or longer than 9 hours is associated with an increased risk of hypertension (52).
Find the best time to go to sleep to maximize your sleep cycles with this sleep calculator.
- Wake and go to bed at the same time every day
- Exercise or do yoga in the morning
- Turn off all screens by 9 PM
- Create a nighttime routine of relaxing activities
- Get to bed by 10 PM
- Sleep between 7 and 9 hours
- Sleep in a dark room
- Use a white noise machine
Further reading: How To Fall Asleep Instantly
18. Try The Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule For Blood Pressure
Intermittent fasting, where you eat the same amount of food in a narrow eating window, can drop blood pressure as well as potent blood pressure drugs (53).
What is the best intermittent fasting schedule for blood pressure?
One study found that people who ate between 8 AM and 3 PM dropped their blood pressure from 123/82 down to 112/72 in five weeks (54). The other positive side effects of this schedule were drops in oxidative stress and insulin resistance.
Your blood pressure goes back when you start eating again, but not as high as before.
Intermittent fasting in the evening has negative side effects because you are eating too much before bed.
- Talk to your doctor about intermittent fasting, and consider not eating in the evening.
Further reading: The Best Intermittent Schedule For Weight Loss
19. Understand The Risks and Benefits of Medication
Why do less than half of patients keep taking their blood pressure medications (55)?
High blood pressure is asymptomatic, you can’t feel high blood pressure (56).
When people take blood pressure medication they feel worse, not better, because of the negative side effects such as fatigue, erectile dysfunction, and muscle cramps. Then medical providers give them more drugs to counteract the side effects, such as Viagra for erectile dysfunction caused by blood pressure drugs.
Do blood pressure drugs work?
Blood pressure drugs can lower your blood pressure. But because the drugs don’t treat the underlying cause (57) your body raises it again.
Unless you make lifestyle changes to treat the cause, medications will not be effective long-term.
If you don’t make lifestyle changes, don’t bother taking blood pressure medications, because they won’t work effectively” ~Luke Laffin, MD.
Plant-based medicine can help lower blood pressure, with little or no side effects. And they cost less, some as little as a penny a day. But you won’t see commercials for plants because blood pressure medications make over 10 billion dollars a year.
- Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of blood pressure medication.
Emotional Stress And Blood Pressure
Your body regulates blood pressure in real-time to survive in your environment.
Your brain activates the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) when it perceives a threat. The threat can be real or imaginary, for example, what happens when you watch a scary movie? Your sympathetic system raises your heart rate and your blood pressure to prepare for action.
When your brain perceives a safe environment, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic lowers your heart rate and blood pressure for rest, healing, and digestion.
Two people can share a similar experience, but one may perceive it as stressful, while the other as relaxing. Whether your sympathetic or your parasympathetic is active depends on how you perceive your environment.
20. Start The Day With Meditation, Tai Chi, Or Yoga?
Which activity has the greatest effect on blood pressure: meditation, tai chi, or yoga?
Yoga and meditation are the most popular, but Tai chi appears to be the most promising.
Tai chi is a mind-body exercise that involves slow fluid movements, balance, breathing, and meditation.
A review of 1604 patients found that those who practiced tai chi lowered their systolic blood pressure by15.55 mm Hg, and their diastolic blood pressure by 10.66 mm Hg compared to those who didn’t practice (58).
You can take a tai chi class, or learn and practice tai chi at home. Learning tai chi at home can help you feel less self-conscious about making beginner mistakes.
How Does Deep Breathing, Meditation, And Yoga Lower Blood Pressure?
Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga help quiet your mind of all your worries, fears, and anxieties.
When your brain perceives a safe environment, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system lowers your heart rate and blood pressure for rest, healing, and digestion.
The longer your parasympathetic system is active, the longer your blood pressure stays lower.
Exhaling longer than you inhale slows your heart rate and activates your parasympathetic nervous system (59).
One study had participants either take six deep breathes over 30 seconds, or sit still for 30 seconds. They found that deep breathing lowered blood pressure. It worked so well that they also recommended that blood pressure readings should be done without deep breathing for an accurate reading (60).
A review of Yoga studies found that on average it can lower diastolic blood pressure by 3.62 mm Hg and systolic 4.17 mm Hg (61). But they also found that forms of yoga that combined deep breathing, postures, and meditation were twice as effective.
Meditation and deep breathing has an instant effect on blood pressure, but what about the long term?
Are The Benefits of Meditation and Deep Breathing Only Temporary?
Your blood pressure eventually rises after deep breathing or meditation. But during that time, there’s less pressure on your artery walls. You give your body a break from the negative effects of high blood pressure.
And you create a habit when you practice deep breathing and meditation. Your breathing becomes deeper and your mind is calmer.
21. Repeat These Powerful Healing Affirmations
What if you can’t change your circumstances or your environment?
First, understand that people have survived much worse circumstances. Second, you can change how you perceive your circumstances with affirmations.
1. Be Grateful You’re Not In A Concentration Camp
In Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl shares his experience in the Nazi concentration camps. Frankl and millions of Jews had everything taken from them, except one thing.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
∼Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning
If you’re reading this, I guarantee that your circumstances are better than those who suffered in concentration camps. But how can you change your attitude in any given set of circumstances?
2. Create Powerful Healing Affirmations
How Do Affirmations Work?
You become what you think about. You’re the sum total of all your thoughts up until now.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so shall he be”
― James Allen, As a Man Thinketh
Think of your mind as a garden, and each thought as a seed you plant in your mind. Your thoughts create your reality. If you think of negative thoughts, you will subconsciously attract negative circumstances, or see only the negative.
How Does Positive Thinking and Affirmations Work?
Your Reticular Activating System (RAS) is like the gatekeeper of your brain. It keeps out unimportant information so the important gets through. For example, when you learn a new word you start to see it everywhere.
If most of your thoughts are positive, your RAS will filter out the negative stimuli/information in your environment. Your parasympathetic will stay active most of the time allowing your blood pressure to stay normal.
But if most of your thoughts are negative, your RAS will filter out the positive in your environment. Your sympathetic system will stay active and keep your blood pressure elevated.
Your brain cannot differentiate between real or imaginary, choose your thoughts wisely.
Powerful Positive Affirmations
Your affirmations, the words you repeat to yourself are powerful because you can only become what we think about. Repeat your affirmations when you’re in a relaxed state, in the shower, when you wake up, or just before falling asleep.
- I am enough
- Every day, in every way, I am getting better, better, and better
- Negative thoughts, negative emotions have no influence on my mind at any level
- I am calm and confident in any situation
- I am healthy and I’m healing
- My body is cleansing itself of harmful toxins, viruses, bacteria, and waste
- I am a new person, all past criticism is invalid
- Criticism has no influence on my self-esteem, confidence, or value as a human being
- I’m rejection proof
- Rejection protects me from the wrong people and opportunities
- I forgive everyone
- I forgive myself
- I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
- …Everything is possible for one who believes. Mark 9:23
- …if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
Further Reading: 50 Bible Verses About Healing And Strength
Blood Pressure FAQ
What Is Blood Pressure?
What Is Blood Pressure? Blood pressure (BP) is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels (1). When your heart beats, it creates pressure to push blood through your blood vessels which include arteries, capillaries, and veins. You have two blood pressures, recorded as systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure (the first number) represents the force of blood against your artery walls when your heartbeats. Diastolic pressure (the second number) represents your blood pressure while your heart rests between heartbeats. The American Heart Association recognizes five categories of blood pressure: normal, elevated, Hypertension Stage 1, Hypertension Stage 2, and Hypertensive crisis (2).
What is Normal Blood Pressure?
What is Elevated Blood Pressure?
Elevated blood pressure is when your BP readings consistently range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. If you have elevated blood pressure you are at risk of developing high blood pressure unless you take action to control it.
What Is Hypertension Stage 1?
Hypertension Stage 1 is when your blood pressure consistently ranges between 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. At this stage of high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe lifestyle changes. Your doctor may also consider blood pressure medications based on your risk of heart attack or stroke.
What Is Hypertension Stage 2?
Hypertension Stage 2 is when your blood pressure is consistently at or above 140/90 mm Hg. At this stage of high blood pressure, your doctor is likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and a combination of blood pressure medications.
What Makes Your Heart Skip A Beat?
You felt doomed to blood pressure medication because that’s what’s “normal.”
But you learned about how your blood pressure doesn’t have to increase as you age.
You felt hopeless because all the blood pressure articles share the same obvious tips. But they don’t give you a powerful “why” or even a “how” to change.
But today you’ve learned the physical, chemical, and emotional stresses that cause high blood pressure. Now you have natural remedies that deal with each stress. You know why they work and how to take action.
What is your “why”? What will get you to take action?
Do you want to live long enough to reach your dreams? Is it the business you always wanted to start? Or is it the freedom of being healthy?