With a program that includes diet tips, exercise strategies, and targeted nutritional supplements, get my top tips to lower your blood pressure naturally.
You'll be well on your way to promoting healthy blood pressure levels and feeling really good about your health—and about yourself—after two months on my best blood pressure program. Let's get started with my top secrets to lower your blood pressure naturally.
Week One to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally: Focus on Your Diet
There is no lifestyle modification more powerful for healthy blood pressure than diet. My nutrition recommendations are based on the Pan Asian and Mediterranean ways of eating. It's been shown that people in those areas have 76 percent fewer cardiac events than anywhere else in the world. During your first week on my program, begin by choosing foods high in potassium, calcium and magnesium. Try to choose at least five foods each day from the charts below. Plus, to lower your blood pressure naturally you want to drink plenty of water.
These three nutrients are key for promoting healthy blood pressure levels and maintaining heart health. For that reason, foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium are an integral part of my Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean (PAMM) diet.
Week Two to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally: Get Up and Move!
You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to start exercising, nor do you need to join a health club. Just put on a pair of comfortable shoes and start walking.
New studies show that moderate activities such as regular walking, dancing, swimming, golf and tennis can reduce blood pressure levels significantly. In fact, exercise is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure. No other lifestyle change will provide such immediate and enduring benefits to your health and well-being.
If you haven't been active for a while, start out easy with just 10 minutes a day, then add five minutes a week to your walking regimen, building up to 30 minutes total, five days a week. Make it more enjoyable by walking with friends.
Avoid exercise that is too strenuous, especially if you're just embarking on an exercise program to reduce blood pressure. I advise my patients to never jog or run. Studies have shown a connection between heart attacks and sudden exertion, so talk to your doctor before you engage in more aggressive workouts, such as aerobics.
But don't feel that you must engage in heart-straining exercise to reap big rewards. The Nurses' Health Study found that women who walked briskly at least three hours per week achieved results equivalent to jogging or aerobic dancing.
If you add some regular stretching or yoga exercises, plus light weight training once or twice a week, you'll have a total-body conditioning regimen. Just make sure to be evaluated by a certified exercise specialist or physiologist for muscular strength first. Some of my patients have taken it upon themselves to lift weights on their own, but this is not the best approach. Once you get a baseline evaluation of your muscular strength, then you'll know what amount of weight you can safely lift and how many repetitions to do.
Week Three to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally: Begin Taking Targeted Supplements
Coenzyme Q10: Research shows that 200-300 mg CoQ10 per day can reduce blood pressure. CoQ10 makes cells healthier and less vulnerable to constriction, which can elevate pressure inside blood vessels. Many of my patients who take a water-soluble form of CoQ10 have cut their use of blood pressure drugs in half, while maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Magnesium: It's hard to get sufficient levels of this critical mineral in your diet, which is why you must supplement. Magnesium helps regulate heart health, so it's best to take 400 mg of magnesium every day. **Note: Take magnesium after meals. If you have kidney problems, don't take supplemental magnesium without your doctor's approval.
Fish Oil: A recent study of 11,000 patients shows that fish oil promotes healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels-even better than vitamin E. I'm so thrilled with fish oil that I’ve included it as part of my core program for heart health.
Garlic: The "stinking rose" acts similarly to ACE inhibitors to promote healthy blood pressure levels. A clove a day, chopped or minced in your food, is plenty. I recommend garlic itself, because I'm not convinced that powdered garlic capsules have all the herb's active ingredients. If you really don't like garlic, 500-1,000 mg garlic in softgel form is your best defense.
Hawthorn: Studies show that hawthorn berry promotes blood flow in smaller vessels. It acts to reduce blood pressure much like ACE inhibitors, preventing production of angiotensin 2, a powerful blood vessel constrictor responsible for increasing blood pressure. It also helps to ease angina and relieve congestive heart failure. Take 500 mg 2-3 times a day until you see results.
Week Four to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally: Mental Health and Healthy Blood Pressure
As you begin the fourth week of my blood pressure-lowering program, I want you to introduce an element overlooked by most cardiologists: your emotional and spiritual health.
Does an unresolved conflict eat away at you? Are you often short-tempered with your spouse, children, colleagues or even a driver who cuts you off in traffic? You may be thinking, "Of course I am. Isn't everybody?"
What you may not be aware of is that these responses trigger a whole physiological cascade that culminates in the release of a stress hormone called cortisol into your bloodstream. Cortisol in excessive amounts can signal your body to step up the production of blood platelets, which can then clump together to form dangerous clots.
Basically, repressed anger, frustration, and fear are all hidden risk factors for heart disease and hypertension. You should probably consider psychotherapy if your health is at stake. Without a professional's input, you may not be able to pinpoint what's really going on. I have noticed that it's often difficult for patients to realize that their physical disease may actually be an emotional symptom traveling incognito.
Other helpful action steps to take to lower your blood pressure naturally include:
Seeing a counselor or talking to a friend or spiritual advisor.
Finding creative, healthy ways to release your anger, such as crying at sad movies, hitting tennis or golf balls, writing in a journal, painting or drawing.
Taking up yoga, tai chi, or dancing.
Sitting quietly for 10-15 minutes a day, meditation, prayer, guided visualization, or deep breathing.