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Surprising New Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Lowering high blood pressure without drugs is easier than you think. Emerging research shows that adopting all these seven lifestyle changes increases your pressure-lowering ability.

Heart Health By Ariba Khaliq / Dec 26, 2014

Tactics that Make a Difference

There are a lot of serious health problems associated with high blood pressure that send chills down your spine, such as heart disease, stroke, dementia, and kidney failure. A fact that is even scarier is that hormonal factors could make high blood pressure even more dangerous for women compared with men, according to a recent Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center study. You might sigh in relief to know that the list of natural tools that can help bring your blood pressure down continues to grow. And these tactics can make a big difference. Lifestyle changes are as important, if not more important, than medication for lowering blood pressure. Read on for 10 surprising ideas to keep your blood pressure in check naturally.

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Set Your Phone on Silent

The best excuse to go off the grid for a few hours is to switch off your cellphone. If you really can’t switch it off, set it on silent mode. A ringing cell phone can cause your blood pressure to jump as much as seven points, according to Italian research presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Society of Hypertension. The reasons aren’t fully understood, but experts suspect that the disruption that comes from a call could make some people—particularly those who are less accustomed to using cell phones or don’t receive many calls—momentarily anxious.

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Eat like a Vegetarian

It is really difficult for a hardcore meat-eater to order “vegetables”. But, the next time you’re dining out, opt for a veggie burger instead of meat to tame your spiking blood pressure levels. According to an analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine, sticking to vegetarian fare can lower your blood pressure by up to 7 points—about the same drop you’d get from losing 11 pounds. Plant foods are low in blood pressure-raising sodium and high in blood pressure-lowering potassium.

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Whoosh it Out

Whenever you feel frazzled without doing vigorous tasks, blame it on stress. A research from the Science Journal of Psychology reports that frequent bouts of stress or anxiety could mean you’re more likely to develop hypertension compared with calmer folks. The next time you feel tension rising, try this relaxation technique:Place your tongue gently along the ridge between your teeth and gums. Inhale for a count of four through the nose, hold for a count of seven, and exhale through your mouth for a count of eight while making a whooshing noise.

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Or, Just Lay and Do Nothing

Mindfulness-based stress reduction can help bring your BP numbers down by nearly five points, finds a 2013 Psychosomatic Medicine study. But instead of the usual seated meditation, try body scanning, a meditative exercise that simply involves laying down and focusing on each individual part of your body—starting at the top of your head and ending all the way down at your pinkie toes. How long should you go? Participants in the study meditated for 45 minutes, but shorter sessions can still make a difference too. Remember, any meditation is better than no meditation at all.

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Greet the Sun

How often do you say hello to Mr. Sun? Not often enough? Well, you should. Low levels of vitamin D are thought to contribute to high blood pressure, finds a British analysis of 35 studies. But instead of popping a supplement, get your D plus an extra blood pressure-lowering benefit by soaking up a little bit of sun. In a Journal of Investigative Dermatology study, 20 minutes of UV ray exposure actually helped blood vessels to expand, boosting cardiovascular function and reducing BP independently of vitamin D intake.

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Walk Post-dinner

Even if you exercised in the morning, there’s no excuse to spend the whole evening engaging in passive relaxation in front of the TV. Instead, savour the twilight with a short stroll: Adults—even active ones—who spend the most of their time are at a greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (which can develop in part due to hypertension) compared with those who don’t watch much TV. But, the more moderate exercise you can work into your day, the lower your blood pressure is likely to be, finds a 2013 Hypertension analysis of 13 studies.

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Eat a Really Big Breakfast

Consider reversing the pattern if your morning meal is the smallest of the day. Compared with lighter breakfast eaters, women who polished off a 700-calorie breakfast (and smaller lunches and dinners) lost more weight and had lower blood pressure levels, according to a recent Israeli study. You could try a sweet potato loaded with lentil chilli and chopped tomatoes because all these food items are packed with potassium, or a probiotic-rich yogurt parfait. Having healthy gut bacteria may help keep blood pressure levels in check.

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