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How to Reduce Your Blood Pressure without Medication

This past November, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new guidelines for when high blood pressure should be treated. For the first time in 14 years, there’s no more “prehypertension”. If your blood pressure is running over 130/80, you officially have high blood pressure.

How to Reduce Your Blood Pressure Without Medication|Craving Something Healthy

I never gave much thought to my blood pressure. It’s always been spot on at 120/80 or a little bit lower (normal). But like the rest of the world, I’m getting a bit older, and I’ve been dealing with some stressful stuff in my life recently, and apparently, it’s starting to affect my blood pressure. Not quite enough to require medication, but I do need to keep an eye on it.

Needless to say, I’m pretty upset, because I’m one of those people who eats well, exercises most days, I’m not overweight, and I do all the right things to stay healthy. Unfortunately, I’m also very much of a “type A” personality, so I get stressed easily, and I let too many things bother me.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Damage to your blood vessels occurs every time your pressure is elevated. The new guidelines are meant to make people more aware of that earlier.  It’s their hope that more awareness earlier can help prevent the damage that would occur if you waited for a later diagnosis.

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Learn the risk factors for hypertension, which include:

  • Age – blood pressure starts to increase in your mid to late 40s, and tends to increase as you get older
  • Race – African Americans tend to develop high blood pressure more frequently than people of other racial backgrounds
  • Family history
  • Individuals who are under chronic stress – long-term release of stress hormones can increase blood pressure
  • An unhealthy diet – too many fast foods and processed foods contain lots of salt and unhealthy fats which contribute to high blood pressure
  • Other health conditions like kidney disease, diabetes and heart disease – they’re all associated with increased risk of hypertension

 

As a dietitian, I’m all about lifestyle changes first, and medication only if necessary. Like all meds, blood pressure medications come with their side effects, so it’s always worth it to work on diet, exercise and stress management first. Even if you only get a partial benefit from these things, it may mean less medication or one with fewer side effects is necessary.

 

Lifestyle changes can reduce your blood pressure naturally

These are a few of my favorite recommendations:

  • Eat a plant-based diet. Research on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet shows that eating at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day can reduce blood pressure about as much as medication. Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium which helps to balance sodium in your cells, and reduces the pressure in your blood vessel. Try to incorporate at least one piece or serving of a fruit or vegetable (or both) into each snack, and include about ½ plate of fruits and vegetables into all your meals

 

  • Take 3,000 mg of an omega-3 fish oil supplement each day, especially if you don’t eat fatty fish like salmon or sardines twice each week. That’s probably more fish than most of us consistently eat, so the supplement can cover you. The Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA found in fish can reduce inflammation along with your blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, and lots of other inflammation-related diseases.

 

  • Limit salt or sodium. If you’re eating more fruits and vegetables, you’re already taking a positive step toward reducing salt, because they’re naturally low in sodium. Sodium is found mainly in processed foods – anything that comes in a package, can, or especially from a fast food restaurant. If you’re over 50, or at higher risk, aim for no more than 1,500 mg/day. Check your food labels for sodium content, and use an app like CalorieKing, or MyFitnessPal when you’re eating out. If you see that afood has more than 400-500 mg in a serving, see if there’s a better option.

 

  • Take an adrenal support supplement. I love this stress response herbal supplement by Gaia Herbs. It’s a blend of Holy Basil, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and Schisandra which helps to support a healthy response to stress.

 

  • Exercise at least a little bit every day. Aim for a good 45 -60-minute cardio workout most days of the week, along with 2-3 days of strength training. On days when you can’t fit that in (because life happens), try to build more activity into your day by parking further away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or even just doing a quick sprint or two up and down the block. Every little bit helps.

 

  • Get plenty of sleep. It goes without saying that when you don’t sleep well, you don’t feel well, and your body just doesn’t work well. Check out this post for my tips on getting a good night’s sleep.

 

  • Eat lots of nitrate-rich vegetables. Not to be confused with the very unhealthy nitrates and nitrites that are found in processed meats (it’s SO confusing, but this article helps to explain the difference). Nitrates and nitrates from vegetables help to relax and dilate blood vessels throughout your body and increase blood flow. Although it’s a short-term effect, eating more nitrate-rich vegetables like beets, cabbage, leafy greens, and vegetable juices, can reduce blood pressure for a few hours. Eat these foods every day, and you’ll get regular benefits. One of my favorite ways to get a big nitrate boost is with beetroot powder. Add a scoop to vegetable juice or mix it with water and drink up!

 

 

How to Reduce Your Blood Pressure Naturally|Craving Something Healthy

 

I created this vegetable juice recipe, which is full of nitrate-rich veggies and anti-inflammatory ingredients. It actually tastes quite a bit like a bloody Mary (without the vodka, 🙁 unfortunately 🙁 ) and I’ve been drinking it as my afternoon snack each day.

Last time I had my blood pressure checked, it was normal! Give it a try and see if it helps you.

 

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally|Craving Something Healthy

Magic Blood Pressure Reducer Juice

4 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Craving Something Healthy

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon beetroot powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup carrot juice low sodium
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice low sodium
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger fresh minced or dried
  • 1 ounce lime juice about 1/2 lime
  • ice

Instructions

  • Combine the beetroot powder and water in a measuring cup and mix well
  • Add the carrot juice, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery seed and ginger and mix well
  • Add the lime juice, pour the mixture over a glass of ice and serve
Did you make this recipe?Tell me @CravingSomethingHealthy!

Do you like beets? Personally, I think they taste like dirt, but when they’re mixed into this drink they’re totally delish! Here’s an Amazon link to the beetroot powder I like. If you try this recipe, leave a comment below and let me know if you liked it – or tag me on Instagram @CravingSomethingHealthy or #CraveSomethingHealthy!

Eat well!

 

 

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30 Comments

  1. Thank you soo much for sharing this, it was very helpful
    I’m doing it natural to not have to take meds, I have been on 6 different one and they all made me feel horrible, I’m losing weight, eating healthier prayerfully my numbers will get.to be at a healthier range soon I just can’t take the meds.
    Any other advice you can share, I welcome it
    Thanks again

    1. You’re so welcome Sharon! Keep doing what you’re doing! Weight loss, healthy diet, lots of veggies and check out my post on Hibiscus tea. There’s lots of solid research on black, green, and hibiscus tea for reducing blood pressure. Good luck!

  2. Hi
    Thanks for your informative artillery and recipe. I too have had a sudden jump in my BP, but am pretty healthy. I started drinking an organic beet ginger turmeric juice blend but just noticed an 8 oz serving has 190 mg of sodium (I have been drinking about 4 oz each morning). I’m concerned that is has so much sodium. Can you please comment.
    Thanks,
    G

    1. Hi Gerri,
      Thanks so much for reading! I would look at the total amount of sodium in your meal or day. 190 mg isn’t that much if your breakfast is also low (fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, etc). A low sodium diet is about 1,500 mg/day so as long as you’re keeping each meal to <500 mg you should be fine. Sodium occurs naturally in all foods so even if you're eating only whole foods and not adding salt, you'll still get it in your diet. Also, keep in mind the potassium in fruits and vegetables will counteract the effects of sodium to an extent. Hope that helps!

  3. The recent guideline changes are designed to sell more pharmaceuticals. That’s it.

    Please don’t fear monger for Pharma.

    1. Good point John! Too many of the health guidelines are influenced by pharma and food boards. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts!

  4. Hello Anne,
    What is a great alternative to Worcestershire sauce? And for the ginger can I use powder or a ginger tea? Just looking for alternatives. I am a student nurse and under on a lot of stress. Also can I use lemon instead of lime? Is there any difference. Do you have other juice for lowering bp? Or any food? Fruit? As a busy student it is very hard to have everything ready, but I will try and take care of myself more. Because now my bp is compensating from all the stressors that I am experiencing. I am being honest about not eating healthy all the time. I also want to start taking less sugar as well. I do not sleep much but its pretty much like my routine. (Accelerated Nursing Program). Please assist me on this journey.
    Thank you so much,
    N

    1. Hi there N!
      If you don’t want to use, or you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, you can skip it altogether, or maybe add a splash of soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos. It really just adds a pop of umami flavor so any of those can do the same. And yes, you can substitute powdered ginger. I always keep a jar of minced ginger from the grocery in my fridge and it works well here. To reduce blood pressure, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They’re all rich in potassium which reduces BP. Also, leafy greens, especially arugula are great sources of nitrates just like beets or beet juice. School is super stressful so make sure you make time for a walk and do some yoga or meditation in the evening to help you unwind and get to sleep!

  5. THX for sharing this recipe!

    Why not using fresh slow juiced beet root instead of beet root powder?

  6. Thank you for this great inspiration. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure last week and put on BP medication. So totally new to this life changing event , I have a strong determination to get off of this pill. My question is.. is it safe to get on a stick diet and additives while being on BP med.? Thank you for any information.

    1. Hi Dee – definitely get on a good, clean diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole, unprocessed foods and try the beet powder. All will help to reduce your blood pressure, so have it checked periodically (or monitor it yourself at home). It shouldn’t come down drastically, but if you notice it’s coming down below 120/80, talk to your doctor about reducing your meds. Lifestyle changes should be your first line of defense! Good luck and feel free to send me a message if you need any help 🙂

    2. I too recently got a high reading when messing with my mums monitor, and the worry of this out of the blue measurement got me stressing which sent it north, doc put me on low dose meds while they investigate. Otherwise healthy, exercise, weights eating good food not overweight all a bit strange. Hopefully nothing serious feeing a bit gutted

  7. Am John Chedi and MA wife is 4 month pregnant, the problem is she has a Low blood pressure. What can I do to her natural fruits or food to maintain Normal?

    1. Hi John,
      Lower blood pressure is actually pretty normal in the first half of pregnancy. It usually comes up on its own in the third trimester. I would say make sure she’s getting enough fluid, but other than that, it doesn’t have to be treated unless it’s really low or causing her to be dizzy or faint. In that case, check with the doctor! For some people, adding more salt raises blood pressure but it’s not healthy to do that and high blood pressure is much more dangerous in pregnancy than low blood pressure. Hope that helps!

  8. What a fantastic piece on what we can do to help keep our BP in check. Your juice looks delicious and even without the vodka, I can only imagine what a refreshing beverage you have created here; great job!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment Dan! I so appreciate you reading and glad it was helpful 🙂

  9. My doctor has me on blood pressure medicine and It makes me feel awful . Would like to know what kind of juice I can drink to lower my blood pressure .

    1. Hi Pam,

      I use a tablespoon of dried beet root powder mixed in with low sodium V-8, or plain carrot or tomato juice and it works for me! Just make sure the juice is low in sodium.

      1. Hi Pam,
        Thanks for your site & all the info! Regarding your Magic Blood Pressure Reducer Juice recipe, is the beet root powder better than using fresh beets or is the powder just for the sake of convenience? Are the celery seeds in the recipe powdered or crushed? I have whole celery seed in the spice drawer.
        Thank you,
        Scott

      2. Hi Scott,
        The beet root powder is for convenience, but I also feel like it’s a more concentrated source of beets (I don’t know that for a fact though!) I’m sure you can use fresh beets and juice them or roast them and puree them if you like. I use whole celery seeds but either will work. It’s just a pinch for some flavor. Thanks for visiting!

      3. Hi Jesse,
        I can’t say I’ve ever seen a specific recommendation but I think 2-3 times would probably be OK. The effects last for just a few hours. Keep in mind that you can also eat beets, and there are nitrates in lots of other vegetables – arugula is another good source so mix lots of veggies in too!

    2. If you have a juicer you can make a blood pressure reducing juice consisting of two stalks of celery, one cucumber, a handful of spinach, one clove of garlic,. As one teaspoon of beetroot powder to the mix after juicing and mix well. Until this juice at least once a day. Keep your sodium levels low. Good luck!

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