1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure (hypertension) — and for some, this means they're considered "high risk" during the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, there are steps you can take at home to lower your blood pressure naturally and reduce your "high risk" status.
A whole food plant-based diet has been proven to lower blood pressure naturally and reduce risk for heart disease.
Not sure where to start with a plant-based diet? Try the MamaSezz Heart Healthy Bundle (no salt) to get ready-made and delicious whole food plant-based meals dropped at your door. No cooking required, just heat and eat!
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The American Heart Association defines high blood pressure, or hypertesnion, as "when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high."
If your blood pressure is 130/80 or higher you are said to have hypertension.
High blood pressure is a dangerous condition because it makes your heart work harder to get blood pumping throughout your body. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to the hardening of arteries, stroke, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction, and heart failure.
Hypertension is often called the silent killer because there are many times no symptoms in a person with high blood pressure. In fact, a third of hypertensive adults don't even know they have high blood pressure.
That said, some people do experience the following signs of high blood pressure, according to WebMD:
There may be some genetic components when it comes to developing high blood pressure, but often times, hypertension risk factors are related to lifestyle. This is good news because it means you can make certain lifestyle changes, if needed, to lower your risk of developing, or even to reverse, hypertension.
These risk factors include:
On of the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally is to up your exercise. You don't need to run a marathon - or even run at all. A 40-minute brisk walk will do just fine. (1)
90% of Americans are eating more sodium than the daily recommended amount (2). The American Heart Association says no more 2,300 mg a day with an ideal limit of 1,500 mg a day.
Too much salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and makes it harder for your kidneys to regulate fluid. All this extra fluid leads to higher blood pressure and puts quite a strain on the blood vessels leading to the kidneys.
(Pro tip for those who don't want to cook: get ready-made no salt meals delivered by MamaSezz. Browse MamaSezz no salt meals here.)
Drinking alcohol can have short-term and long-term effects on blood pressure -- and binge-drinking in particular is especially hard on your blood vessels.
Try cutting back on your alcohol consumption by swapping your cocktails for these 10 vegan mocktail recipes (which also happen to boost your immune system!).
While coffee and caffeine can be heart heathy choices for some, if you're sensitive to caffeine and have high blood pressure, it may be time to ditch coffee. Can't imagine your mornings without a cup of Joe? Keep your morning routine alive and well with these 5 healthy vegan coffee alternatives.
Easier said than done, right? But stress can make high blood pressure worse. So it may be time to learn some stress management techniques to get your hypertension under control. Here are 3 ways to reduce stress and build emotional resilience.
Being overweight ups your chances of developing hypertension. If you are overweight, losing weight can help you reduce your blood pressure (3). Struggling to meet your weight loss goals? Lose weight naturally with a whole food plant-based diet.
Need help getting started? Try the MamaSezz Weight Loss program here to get ready-made and plant-based meals for weight loss delivered to your door.
Smoking ups your chances of heart disease, big time. If you're a smoker with high blood pressure, quitting can help reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Eating too much refined sugar can lead to weight gain, and as we mentioned above, being overweight is a significant contributor to hypertension.
Not sure how to satiate your sweet tooth without refined sugar? Check out our guide to stopping your sugar addiction (don't worry - we cover all our favorite ways to enjoy plant-based dessert and natural sweeteners).
Eating a whole food plant-based diet is a great way to get all the nutrients you need -- while cutting back on the less healthy stuff. Plant-based foods high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium are particularly beneficial for those hoping to lower their blood pressure.
Potassium can help your body get rid of excess sodium and ease pressure on your blood vessels. Plant-based foods high in potassium include:
Magnesium is a mineral that relaxes your blood vessels. Plant-based foods high in magnesium include:
Having low calcium levels is linked with high blood pressure. And contrary to popular belief, you do not need to consume cow's milk to get your recommended intake of calcium. You can get plenty of calcium on a plant-based diet! Plant-based foods high in calcium include:
Get ready-made and heart healthy meals delivered by MamaSezz. Plant-based versions of comfort food classics like Hungarian Mushroom Stew, Gardener's Pie, Millie's Chili, Lazy Lasagna, and more.
Lower your blood pressure naturally with these lifestyle changes:
By Ali Brown
Ali is a mom, wife, and nutrition and lifestyle writer and editor. She has her Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.