While there is a pill for blood pressure, and you might have been prescribed it for the right reasons by your doctor, hypertension is no longer a condition where medicine is all you need to manage it. Each of us should try to work in parallel with the ongoing medicines. This is necessary because high blood pressure medication comes with side effects like extreme fatigue, low libido, drowsiness, kidney complications, and so on. Then, you are prescribed more medications to handle these side effects, leading to an ever-growing prescription list.
The good news is that there are numerous natural ways to potentially reduce blood pressure levels, allowing doctors to consider reducing medication dosages or even discontinuing pills based on the patient’s progress.
Regular Exercise and Walking:
Forget the gym for a moment. Less is more when it comes to exercising for blood pressure, but be consistent. Even a 30–45-minute walk daily is good enough to prevent high blood pressure or initiate the healing process. A sedentary lifestyle makes you a candidate for high blood pressure, and there is no way you can ever curtail your medications. Just get up and walk!
Yoga and Relaxation Techniques:
Engaging in slow, relaxing yoga practices can also contribute to blood pressure management. Practices like Baddha Konasana, Balasana, Sukhasana, and Shavasana, along with pranayama techniques like Left nostril breathing and Bhramari, can be beneficial. It is essential to practice yoga under expert guidance, especially for beginners.
Reduce Outside & Packaged Foods:
All processed food, chips, and biscuits have more sodium than our body needs. Such foods are designed to trick your taste buds and get you addicted. From our experience, we have seen a drop in people’s blood pressure by simply cutting down on their outside meals. From 10 outside meals a week, they came down to 1 outside meal a week. Do not go no-sodium too! Sodium is a super essential mineral, and a complete lack of it can also hurt your kidney. Prefer going low-sodium (and not no-sodium).
This is basic. Even a 1% drop in hydration levels can become stressful for the body, leading to a change in blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar levels, inflammation, and everything else.
Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Consumption:
We all know the impact of smoking and intemperate alcohol on high blood pressure levels. Yet, some people continue to do this, thinking that their doctor will handle their blood pressure. Indeed, they will, but realize that just because you are on a pill and your blood pressure is in control does not mean you are healthy. It still means there is an issue with your heart and body.
Bump Up Magnesium Levels:
Most people who have low magnesium also suffer from blood pressure problems at the same time. So, if you have high blood pressure, you want to make sure your magnesium levels are excellent. Magnesium is found in simple foods like nuts, seeds, grains, raw cacao, green leafy vegetables, and lentils. So, if you are sticking to a natural, wholesome, balanced diet, you should undoubtedly get the right amount of potassium and magnesium.
Get Enough Sleep:
There is enough evidence from medical science talking about sleep deprivation and its connection with stress hormones and increased blood pressure. You can pop all the pills in the world, but if you do not sleep right at night, your blood pressure will rise more and more. Sleep is free. It is a cycle of nature. It is built into every cell of ours. If we sleep more, we can lower our blood pressure over time. Sleep relates to stress. If you sleep better, you also gain the ability to manage your anxiety the next day.
Connect with Nature:
Spending time in nature, walking barefoot on the ground, and immersing oneself in natural surroundings can have a calming effect, which may positively impact blood pressure.
Release Suppressed Emotions:
We have had patients in our office, and we have checked their high blood pressure while we make them speak about a stressful event in their life. We observed their systolic and diastolic shoot right up. After ten minutes, when we made them do six counts of deep breathing, their systolic as well as diastolic came right back down. We do not need more evidence to show us that there is a connection between stress and high blood pressure.
You can test this right now. Check your systolic and diastolic before and after 6-8 counts of deep breathing – the diaphragmatic deep belly breathing. You will see your systolic and diastolic come down. This is because when we breathe, we trick the body into shifting from a state of fight or flight to rest and digest, i.e., from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. When your body moves into the parasympathetic nervous system, blood sugar levels drop, cholesterol improves, and blood pressure decreases. It is very difficult to have high blood pressure when the body is in a complete state of relaxation – which is why sleep, deep breathing, and meditation become the most potent drugs for managing your high blood pressure.
In conclusion, hypertension management goes beyond relying solely on medication. By integrating lifestyle changes like exercise, yoga, mindful eating, hydration, stress reduction, and healthy habits, individuals can significantly contribute to their blood pressure control.
However, it is crucial to remember that any lifestyle changes should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional and not as a replacement for prescribed medications. The combination of medication and lifestyle modifications can pave the way for a healthier life with well-managed blood pressure.
- Luke is a Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of You Care – All About You by Luke Coutinho.