Protect Your Heart: Five Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

Protect Your Heart: Five Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

No one wants to hear that they have high blood pressure. It’s an indicator that things aren’t quite right with your body.

High blood pressure is a problem because it means your heart must work harder to pump blood to muscle and organs. It also leads to changes in the structure and function of the blood vessels, increasing your risk of disease.

If you’re concerned about blood pressure, it’s important to make lifestyle changes to lower it. You might think, oh, it doesn’t really matter, but emerging research shows this is not the case.

A large study that was presented at the 2015 American Heart Association annual meeting found that the lower the blood pressure, the lower the risk of dying during the 3-year study and the better the outcome. In elderly subjects with an average age of 79, those who hit the systolic blood pressure target of 120 had significantly lower rates of death compared to those who kept their blood pressure at 140.

A reading of 120 systolic is considered the cut off for “normal” blood pressure in younger people, however, in people over age 60, “normal” is below 140. This study showed better outcomes from having less repetitive stress on the heart, suggesting the “normal” classification should be lowered to 120 if we want to keep people alive for longer. The difference was significant enough for the investigators to halt the trial nearly two years early.

The study lowered blood pressure with the use of blood pressure lowering medications. But starting to take a medication isn’t something most people want to do if they have an alternative. Fortunately, healthy habits can make a big difference in blood pressure levels. What follows are five powerful ways to lower blood pressure and protect your cardiovascular system:

#1: Get Active

Doing aerobic exercise such as brisk walking or cycling for 30 minutes most day of the week is one of the most powerful ways to lower blood pressure. A consistent workout program has been shown to significantly lower systolic blood pressure by 4 to 9 mmHg with benefits being greatest in people who are at risk for high blood pressure or already have it.

#2: Perform Strength Training

Strength training is often overlooked as a tool for improving cardiovascular function but research shows it can lower blood pressure by improving the blood vessels ability to dilate effectively. The key is to be active during rest periods: A Brazilian study of older women with hypertension found that when they lifted moderate weights for high reps and then took 90-second active rest periods in which they walked around the weight room instead of resting passively they had a significant decrease in blood pressure.

#3: Improve Stress Management With Mind-Body Practices

Chronic stress elevates hormones that increase constriction of blood vessels, raising the load on the heart and the stress experienced by the vasculature. Strategies that help you lower stress hormones can help. For example, one study found that meditation lowered systolic blood pressure by 4.7 mmHg, a clinically meaningful amount. Simply breathing deeply for five minutes or engaging in other mind-body activities like yoga or martial arts also effective.

#4: Eat High-Quality Protein

Eating high-quality protein foods from a variety of sources is associated with lower blood pressure levels. In one analysis, people with the highest protein intake, averaging 102 grams a day, saw the biggest benefit, with a 40 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Scientists recommend eggs, fish, dairy, meat, and plant-based proteins like beans and nuts to improve the overall function of blood vessels for healthier dilation.

#5: Replace Refined Carbs With Whole Carbs

Whole carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and grains contain fiber, which is closely associated with lower risk of high blood pressure. Dietary fiber improves how your cells respond to insulin as well as the health of blood vessels for better blood pressure. Eating a diet high in refined carbs (bread, sweets, pasta, soda and juice, granola bars, chips etc.) has the opposite effect, increasing cardiovascular inflammation and risk of hypertension.

Final Words: Do you notice what all of these suggestions have in common?

They all have the potential to help lower your risk obesity. The more body fat you have, the harder the heart must work to circulate blood to your organs and tissues. In the process, blood vessels take a beating. Achieving a healthy body composition is one of the most powerful ways to maintain a healthy blood pressure while also lowering risk of other diseases associated with aging.


Anderson, J., et al. Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension. 2008. 21(3):310-6.

Appel, L. The effects of protein intake on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Current Opinion in Lipidology. 2003. 14(1):55-9.

Buendia, J., et al. Diets higher in protein predict lower high blood pressure risk in Framingham Offspring Study adults. American Journal of Hypertension. 2015. 28(3):372-9

Dickinson, H., et al. Lifestyle interventions to reduce raised blood pressure: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Hypertension. 2006. 24(2):215-33.

Mota, M., et al. Acute and Chronic Effects of Resistive Exercise on Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Elderly Women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013.

Te Morenga, L., et al. Dietary sugars and cardiometabolic risk: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of the effects on blood pressure and lipids. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014. 100(1):65-79.

Tielemans, S., et al. Intake of total protein, plant protein and animal protein in relation to blood pressure: a meta-analysis of observational and intervention studies. Journal of Human Hypertension. 2013. 27(9):564-71.

Van der kuil, W., et al. Dietary Protein and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review. PLoS One. 2010. 5(8):e12102.

Williamson, J., et al. Intensive vs Standard Blood Pressure Control and Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes in Adults Aged ≥75 Years: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2016. 315(24):2673-82.