High blood pressure is a scary condition. Lots of people want to treat it, but they don’t necessarily want to rely on over the counter medication to do it.
Luckily, there are many ways to treat the lifestyle factors that cause high blood pressure without medication.
If you’re committed and consistent, it’s possible to avoid the need for medication entirely by controlling what you can in your lifestyle.
Of course, talk to your doctor about your treatment options for high blood pressure. Follow your doctor’s recommendations – some people with high blood pressure absolutely need medication.
If you’re interested in managing your high blood pressure through lifestyle changes, here are 10 ways to control your high blood pressure.
How To Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication
1. Cut Down On The Sodium In Your Diet
Sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure in many people. By reducing the amount of sodium in your diet, you can reduce your blood pressure by up to 8mm Hg.
Every person is affected differently by sodium, so a good rule of thumb to follow is to limit the amount of sodium in your diet to less than 2300mg per day.
If you’re more sensitive to sodium’s effects, try to limit your sodium intake to 1400mg per day or less. People who are more sensitive to sodium include those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, or diabetes, and those who are 51 or older and some African-Americans.
There are a few ways you can reduce the sodium in your diet and lower your blood pressure.
Make sure to try to avoid processed foods during your day – they are the worst culprits when it comes to added sodium. Stick to whole foods to lower your sodium intake, and make sure not to add salt during your meals.
Look at the nutritional facts on the foods you’re eating, and try the low-sodium versions if available.
If you like a lot of salt in your food, don’t try going cold turkey all at once. Instead, reduce the amount of sodium in your diet gradually to help create a habit that lasts.
2. Consume Less Caffeine Each Day
The science about the relationship between caffeine and high blood pressure is still unclear.
For those that don’t regularly drink caffeine, it can raise blood pressure by up to 10mm Hg. But in people who regularly consume coffee and other caffeinated drinks, there’s no noticeable rise in caffeine.
To figure out whether your blood pressure is sensitive to caffeine or not, try taking your blood pressure before drinking a cup of coffee and then 30 minutes after.
If your blood pressure goes up by 5mm Hg or more, cutting caffeine out of your diet could help keep your blood pressure lower.
3. Make Regular Exercise A Part Of Your Routine
Exercise has so many health benefits that they’re impossible to count or list entirely, and lowering your blood pressure is one of them.
Just 30 minutes of activity 3 or more days a week can lower your blood pressure by up to 9mm Hg – and keep you healthy in a myriad of other ways.
All forms of exercise help with blood pressure – covering both strength training and cardio. Talk to your doctor about what kind of exercise plan is right for you.
4. Cut Back On Alcohol
Small doses of alcohol have been shown in studies to improve health, but alcohol, like anything else, is bad for you when it’s not consumed in moderation.
If you’re having more than 1 drink a day and you’re a woman or a man 65 and older, or more than 2 drinks per day if you’re a man who’s younger than 65, it can raise your blood pressure and sabotage the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
Try to stay under that limit to help keep your blood pressure in check.
5. De-Stress To Lower Your Blood Pressure
There’s no doubt in the medical community about the link between chronic stress and high blood pressure. And if you deal with stress by smoking, eating unhealthy food, or drinking to excess, even intermittent stress can raise your blood pressure.
A great way to start dealing with stress is to first figure out what’s causing it. If you don’t know the cause, you can’t address the stress and move forward.
Obviously, not every source of stress can be removed from your life. But there are ways to deal with stressors that can’t be avoided.
Try making a plan to deal with a problem that’s stressing you out. Even having a plan can help you feel less stressed about it.
Take the time each day to do the things that you love to do. Try to relax for at least 15 minutes per day and do breathing exercises – it makes a real difference in stress reduction.
Finally, be aware and mindful of the things that trigger your stress and attempt to avoid them as much as you can.
6. Cut Down On Your Belly Fat Around Your Waist
When you gain weight, for every pound you’re overweight you also increase your blood pressure. If you want to control your blood pressure without medication, losing weight might be the most effective method possible.
When your fat is concentrated around your waistline and in your belly, it increases your risk of high blood pressure. Even losing 10 pounds is enough to noticeably lower your blood pressure.
If your waist is greater than 40 inches as a man or 35 inches as a woman, you’re at risk for high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about how to take an accurate waist measurement.
7. Stop Smoking
Cigarettes are terrible for your blood pressure.
Every time you smoke a cigarette, you’re increasing your blood pressure. The good news is, as soon as you quit, your blood pressure goes back down to normal and your life expectancy increases.
There are uncountable reasons to quit smoking – and lowering your blood pressure is just one good one.
8. Check Your Blood Pressure At Home To See What’s Working
When making lifestyle changes, it’s hard to get them to stick unless you see noticeable, measurable results.
That’s why regularly checking your blood pressure at home is such a good idea. When you implement one or more of the methods on this list, seeing the impact that it makes on your blood pressure helps keep you on track.
Make sure to talk to your doctor about how to accurately measure your blood pressure, and continue to see your doctor regularly to check up on how you’re doing and talk about different strategies to lower your blood pressure.
9. Add More Healthy Foods To Your Diet
A healthy diet makes a huge difference in your overall health in a ton of different ways – not least of which being your blood pressure.
You can reduce your blood pressure by up to 14mm Hg by making some changes to your diet and eating more healthily.
Try to stick to whole foods over processed foods. As discussed before, whole foods have less sodium, which helps reduce blood pressure, and they also have more vital nutrients and are much better for you.
Talk to your doctor about adding potassium to your diet. Added potassium can lower the effect of sodium on blood pressure, so see if your doctor thinks it’s right for you.
10. Turn To The People Who Support You
Any plan to reduce your blood pressure relies entirely on you sticking to it and being consistent.
That’s not easy to do alone – which is why these plans are so much more effective when supported by family and friends.
Use the influence of family and friends to steer you towards healthier food, help you quit smoking, cut back on drinking, or keep up with exercising. By encouraging you, your friends and family can strengthen your habits and make it easier for you to stick to blood pressure solutions.
If you’re looking for help outside of friends and family, there are support groups for people who deal with the same issues and problems that you do. Sometimes just having someone to listen to you makes an enormous difference – and talking to people who understand what you’re going through can be a huge support.
How To Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication
- Cut down on the sodium in your diet
- Consume less caffeine each day
- Make regular exercise a part of your routine
- Cut back on alcohol
- De-stress to lower your blood pressure
- Cut down on your belly fat around your waist
- Stop smoking
- Check your blood pressure at home to see what’s working
- Add more healthy foods to your diet
- Turn to the people who support you