As a nurse, I frequently hear, “I don’t want to take medication to lower my blood pressure”. And, I get it!
The side effects of medications can be uncomfortable (especially the impact on libido). Plus, taking medication is inconvenient.
But, I can’t safely suggest that you stop taking your medication — you’re at
However, what I can offer you are some tips to help you change your self-care to lower your blood pressure. Doing so can give you a chance of not needing your blood pressure medication at all, or at least a lower dose, which can reduce the side effects you experience.
Yes, I know, changing your self-care requires learning new information. And it can be overwhelming to see how vital eating differently is to lower your blood pressure.
But, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
This article provides 9 suggestions to help you lower your blood pressure naturally with your self-care.
Self-care can include everything from what eating approach you follow (your diet), how much activity you perform, what supplements you take, and what herbal or natural remedies you take or do to lower your blood pressure.
Consider trying these 9 self-care tips to lower your blood pressure:
1 Follow Your Healthcare Provider’s Recommendations & Monitor Your Blood Pressure
First things first. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations and take prescribed medications as directed. (Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about reducing medications if you desire to reduce the dose or stop using medicine to lower your blood pressure. DO NOT STOP TAKING THEM until your health provider tells you it is safe and appropriate to do so.) If you have hypertension (high blood pressure), your risk of cardiovascular complications is double compared to people with normal blood pressure.
AND, A MUST DO:
You MUST monitor your blood pressure at home – especially if you want to prevent the necessity of taking medications or reduce taking the medications you are currently taking.
If you need a product recommendation:
I like this Blood Pressure Monitor. It’s accurate, reliable, highly rated, and stores historical measurements for two people.
But, if it’s out of stock I like this Blood Pressure Monitor for reliability and accuracy too.
Many times the activity required to go to the doctor’s office, or just being at the clinic, can increase your blood pressure.
Just a quick note, you should not compare your blood pressure readings from one monitor to another. Each monitor will vary from another.
You need to look at the trend over time on one monitor. That’s why having your own blood pressure monitor is so vital – especially if you want to reduce medications.
As the information on the Internet has grown, more unproven – and some even harmful – advice is available. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider all of the natural methods you are using (or want to use) to reduce your blood pressure. Doing so will ensure that what you are doing is safe and effective.
And, if you work with an herbalist, be sure to tell them about your high blood pressure and what medications you are taking. Some herbs and natural supplements may interfere with medications.
Things to Do More:
2 Follow the Dash Diet
Diligently make healthy food choices.
Every. Single. Day.
If changing your diet is a struggle for you, you might consider the value of investing in your future health.
Programs like Noom and Weight-watchers can help you change your eating habits so you can successfully lower your blood pressure.
Vegetable-forward Cookbooks and Cooking Magazines Can Be a Great Help!
I use the following products on a regular basis and love them!
First, Joy’s Simple Food Remedies is one of my favorite Cookbooks.
Eating Well is a monthly cooking magazine I read cover to cover.
The College of Cardiology (COC) recommends the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or the more commonly called Dash Diet.
The DASH Diet is a flexible lifelong approach to healthy eating. Most people can adapt to this lifestyle change, even if they hate eating vegetables.
I like this beginner Dash Diet Cookbook because it has great recipes and offers tips to help stock your pantry and spice cabinet so you can add flavor (and not salt!). But there are many options if you think this is too basic.
The emphasis of the DASH Diet is to:
- Eat a proper portion size
- Reduce the sodium in your diet
- Eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure
For example, foods with potassium, calcium, and magnesium. (Don’t forget to get your free list to help you.)
The Salt & Sodium Connection
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day, for most adults.
For people with high blood pressure, an ideal limit is no more than 1,500 mg per day. Even cutting back 1,000 mg/day has been shown to improve blood pressure and heart health.
If you’re working to lower your blood pressure (or lose weight) you need to understand how much sodium is in salt so you can make changes to control your intake. Sodium chloride or table salt is approximately 40% sodium.
- 1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
- 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
- 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
On a food label, the values reported are ‘per serving’. If you eat an entire can of soup and it contains two servings, you have double the sodium intake listed.
Watch out for the ‘Salty 6’ – the top six common foods that add the most salt to your diet. Read food labels so you can use products or brands that contain the lowest sodium for these items:
- Breads and Rolls
- Cold cuts and cured meats
3 Be Active
Regular exercise is necessary.
Walking counts as an exercise, and it works!
Just focus on activities you enjoy. Hate to exercise? Try this!
Things to Do Less:
4 Stop smoking
According to the Mayo Clinic,
But, according to the Mayo Clinic, a self-care activity that quickly reduces your blood pressure is smoking cessation.
In fact, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike within 20 minutes of quitting.
Therefore, if you don’t smoke, never start!
Many workplaces, insurance companies, and state or local governments have smoking cessation programs (and coverage). Don’t let cost detour you – research coverage options or scholarships for smoking cessation programs.
The programs with the most successful outcomes offer some kind of accountability coaching, or ongoing support and encouragement.
5 Reduce your stress
Stress management will look different to all of us, but the point is that a reduction in your stress level can help lower your blood pressure level.
Ongoing stress is harmful to your health.
It can lead to life-threatening diseases. This doesn’t exactly mean get a massage every other day.
It means taking a critical look at your stressors and looking for possibilities to manage the impact, lessen, or even eliminating them as needed. Make choices that eliminate stressors in your life and deal with ongoing stress to avoid burnout.
6 Limit Your Alcohol Intake
7 Cut Back on Caffeine
Monitor the amount of caffeine you drink and eat. Caffeine is in food too. Caffeine
8 Lose a Little Weight
Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline regularly.
Losing just 10% of your current weight can have a positive impact on your blood pressure!
Most Importantly – Take One Step at a Time!
All of these self-care tips to lower your blood pressure are important to do on an ongoing basis.
While it may seem overwhelming, it’s important to realize that none of these self-care tips are impossible to do, especially if you have are determined to take better care of yourself or reduce the medications you have to take to manage your blood pressure.
The most important thing to do is to START. Start small–just pick one thing to do at a time.
But, even changing one part of your self-care can be overwhelming or can create anxiety. That’s okay.
We all can feel overwhelmed making a lifestyle change and that’s why I’ve got one last self-care tip.
9 Start Meditating
Meditation has been shown in research to reduce anxiety and stress.
If you are a person of faith, engaging in prayer is a form of meditation. And, worship and regular church attendance have also been found as a way to reduce anxiety and manage stress.
If your faith is important to you, I want to encourage you to utilize the truth of God, shared in the Bible. You can use scripture to help you find the courage to start taking better care of yourself, and the motivation to continue good self-care.
It is likely you are not just trying to take better care of yourself. You may take care of others too. Whether you care for your children, support your spouse, care for aging parents, serve in a ministry, or maybe even all of the above, it takes motivation to make your self-care a priority when you are caring for others. So consider taking care of yourself as a way to worship and honor the Lord. Find more information here.
Finally, in closing, take the time to identify your personal needs so you can give yourself the proper care needed to lower your blood pressure.
Follow your health provider’s medical advice and implement these 9 self-care tips to lower your blood pressure.
Self-care with the specific intent to reduce your blood pressure may help you decrease your dose or possibly even the need for your medication (with your healthcare provider’s direction).
And, you never know, you might find you feel better and enjoy taking better care of yourself!
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Hi, I’m Lisa! Thanks for visiting My Life Nurse, where we provide busy caregivers like you with easy, customized self-care plans, wellness strategies, and scripture-based encouragement so you can stay happy, healthy, and rejuvenated. I’ve found that many women struggle with caring for themselves when they’re busy serving and taking care of others, but they feel called to caring for others, so they keep working even when they’re stressed and exhausted. That’s why I combine my nursing knowledge and experience with Scripture-based teaching. Our readers love learning how to walk closer to the Lord to improve their self-care and find contentment. I’d love for you to take a look @ Mylifenurse.com