Controlling High Blood Pressure Naturally with Diet and Lifestyle Changes

High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is defined as a sustained elevated arterial blood pressure measured indirectly by an inflatable cuff and pressure manometer. 

Hypertension often involves many body organs, including the heart, endocrine system, kidneys, and nervous systems.

Hypertension has a worldwide burden on human quality of life and the healthcare systems. Hypertension increases mortality and raises the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, heart failure, and stroke. 

One of every three adults 20 years of age or older in the US has hypertension.

Hypertension affects over 1 billion people globally.

75 % of those diagnosed with hypertension are managed with antihypertensive medications [1, 2]. However, these medications are successful in reducing blood pressure only in about 53% of patients.[3].

A person’s blood pressure is not constant and varies throughout the day and daily, depending on many factors. Therefore, to be diagnosed with hypertension, you must measure blood pressure on a few separate visits before being diagnosed with the condition. 

The classification used for diagnosing high blood pressure is that of the World Health Organization (WHO, 1978):

  • Normotension: Systolic BP: 140 mmHg and Diastolic BP: 90 mmHg;
  • Borderline hypertension: Systolic BP 141-159 mmHg and Diastolic BP 91-94 mmHg;
  • Hypertension: Systolic BP: 160 mmHg or Diastolic BP: 95 mmHg.

When blood pressure either elevates to severely high levels or is borderline high regularly, you can experience severe headaches, chest pain, vision problems, difficulty breathing, confusion, and even nosebleeds leading to the health risks associated with high blood pressure. 

Even a 2- mmHg reduction in the diastolic blood pressure will have significant health improvements. With this reduction in blood pressure, you may see a 17 % decrease in the risk of heart disease and a 15 % reduction in the risk of stroke [4].

Hypertension is influenced by several risk factors, including age, weight, food choices, environmental and genetic factors, and the interactions of these factors. 

There are ways to control high blood pressure naturally by making better diet and lifestyle choices.

The Best Lifestyle And Dietary Choices To Reduce Blood Pressure: 

Maintain a Healthy Weight 

Maintaining a healthy weight by eating right and exercising regularly is crucial in maintaining healthy blood pressure. 

Avoiding obesity or a body mass index (BMI) over 28 will reduce your risk of high blood pressure. In a study led by the Department of Cardiology, Second People’s Hospital of Chengdu in Chengdu, researchers found that obesity increased the risk of high blood pressure, with the prevalence of obesity-related hypertension exceptionally high in adults aged 40 to 79. [5]  

However, not only overweight people suffer from hypertension. 

Regular Aerobic Exercise 

There is strong evidence that people who are less physically active or live sedentary lifestyles are more prone to hypertension.

Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming, and cycling helps you maintain a healthy weight and improves cardiovascular health, which helps lower the risk of high blood pressure. 

In a study following the responses to aerobic and resistance training in people with high blood pressure, there was a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure for those engaging in regular aerobic exercise, however, there was no change or minimal reduction in resistance training. [6] 

Limit Sodium Intake 

There is a direct relationship between blood pressure values and excessive salt consumption. In a study led by a team from the Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Cardiology Unit in Milan, researchers observed the link between salt intake and hypertension. The research showed that decreasing salt in the diet has a favorable effect on hypertensive people. Limiting salt intake leads to better vascular function, particularly in the large arteries. [7]  

The World Health Organization recommends limiting salt intake to about 2 grams per day.

However, I am not only talking about the salt you may be adding to foods before consumption. This added salt at the table and during cooking only accounts for 11% of sodium intake in the US [8]. In contrast, the majority of salt intake comes from processed foods. 

The daily sodium intake for Americans over the age of 2 years is 3.6g, which is almost double the recommended levels by the World Health Organization [9-11].

Salt restriction is one of the foundations of an antihypertensive diet, with the greatest decrease in blood pressure associated with the lowest salt intake. Studies suggest that managing salt intake is a critical component in managing hypertension. [12-14]

The best way to manage salt intake is by avoiding processed foods that contain added sodium. Prepare your food at home as often as possible and use vegetable salts instead of table salt. Vegetable salts are made from naturally salty vegetables such as celery. These add flavor to foods and also add nutritional value without causing damage to the body. 

Also, drink plenty of water to help flush salt from your kidneys. 

Consume fruits, especially those rich in potassium

The mechanisms by which fruits and vegetables can help manage blood pressure vary according to their potassium, magnesium, flavonoid, polyphenol, and fiber content. Higher blood potassium levels are associated with lower blood pressure since they lead to an improved sodium-potassium ratio in the diet [15-18].

Furthermore, when taking potassium as a supplement with magnesium-rich foods, there is a synergistic effect in blood pressure reduction. 

High magnesium foods include leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and legumes.

“Smart Salt” was produced with this in mind. It is composed of 50% sodium, 25% potassium, and 25% magnesium. This salt is a better alternative for hypertensive people than ordinary table salt, but

I recommend vegetable salt as the best alternative. It takes only three days to get used to lower salt levels and vegetable salts also have magnesium and potassium in small amounts. 

Drink Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice is rich in phytochemicals and polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. Moreover, many studies show that pomegranate juice may prevent the development of high blood pressure. [19-22].

Consume a high fiber diet

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop hypertension) is an eating plan to lower or control high blood pressure, emphasizing foods lower in sodium and fruits and vegetables rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. [23]

The DASH diet is not ideal, but it is hundreds of times more healthy than the average Western diet.

However, the Optimal Macro-Nutrient Intake to Prevent Heart Disease study demonstrated that within a DASH-like dietary approach, substituting protein for carbohydrates or substituting fat for carbohydrates additionally lowered blood pressure [24]. 

For health and lowered blood pressure, your diet should be rich in fiber.

In an analysis involving five trials conducted among hypertensive people, fiber intake was found to significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5.95 and 4.20 mmHg, respectively [25].

The US Dietary Guidelines recommend 25–30 g of fiber a day from foods.

Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation

Omega-3 fatty acids regulate inflammation by reducing inflammatory mediators and the level of oxylipins which lower blood pressure. The evidence of the beneficial effects of omega-3 fats in research studies is very consistent. [26-33] I recommend supplementing with plant-based omega 3 fatty acid supplements 5 times a week.

Consume Garlic 

Garlic has antioxidant and antihypertensive effects due to its allicin content. Allicin is a sulfur compound found in garlic that promotes a decrease in blood pressure. Many studies on garlic and hypertension show a significant reduction in blood pressure. Although the form of garlic varies in different research studies, the two best ways to get the most benefit from garlic is by:

1. supplementation with garlic extract that has 1.2 mg S-allyl cysteine 5 times a week while changing your diet.

2. and adding garlic to your cooking to enhance flavor instead of using salt as a seasoning [34-36]

Drink Green Tea

Green tea is rich in polyphenols, known as catechins, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG stimulates nitric oxide synthesis. Nitric oxide is used as a medication to reduce blood pressure. It causes blood vessels to relax and dilate, lowering blood pressure. This effect is also achieved with green tea consumption. However, another beneficial effect of EGCG is that it not only reduces blood pressure, which is basically a symptom, but it also has an anti-inflammatory effect that protects against blood vessel damage. EGCG also stops fluid retention. [37-40].

Green tea consumption is a great way to add flavor to water for those who do not like to drink plain water, so long as sugar is not added to the tea. Stevia leaves can be used as a natural sweetener if necessary.

Reduce alcohol consumption:

It is well established that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with elevated blood pressure and the development of hypertension [41-43].

A 2008 study showed that even low alcohol consumption of one drink a day increased the risk of hypertension in men. For women, alcohol consumption of four or more drinks a day was associated with hypertension. [44]


It’s important to know that high blood pressure or hypertension doesn’t always have symptoms. However, since untreated hypertension can lead to severe diseases, you should check your blood pressure regularly if you are at a high-risk age, are drinking regularly, and have unhealthy body weight.  

The consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and low consumption of salt, meat, sweets, processed foods, and alcohol has been proven to lead to significant reductions in blood pressure. Supplementation with garlic and omega 3 while drinking green tea and pomegranate juice were found to support health and reduce high blood pressure and the risk of developing high blood pressure in the future. 

Incorporating regular exercise in addition to a healthy diet also has a major beneficial effect in lowering blood pressure.

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