On the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945, his blood pressure was over 300/190. The 32nd president died of a sudden brain bleed after suffering from uncontrolled high blood pressure for much of his adult life.
Unfortunately for President Roosevelt, he and his doctors ignored his high blood pressure—it was even thought to be normal for someone his age.
Today, high blood pressure is one of the most common diseases in the country affecting nearly 85 million Americans.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you might think the next step in managing the condition is to take medication.
While medication can help, there are ways you can naturally lower high blood pressure:
According to the American Heart Association, aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts and beans, and limit saturated fats, red meat and sugar.
Also, stop yourself before you pick up that salt shaker. Most people need only 1,500 mg of sodium per day, but a teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.
The DASH diet incorporates the above dietary recommendations into a daily diet plan. U.S. News & World Report recommends easing into adding healthy staples to your diet.
“Try adding just one vegetable serving to a meal, and a fruit serving to another. Go (sort of) vegetarian by preparing two or more meat-free dishes each week. And start using the herbs and spices hiding in the back of the pantry — they'll make you forget the salt's not on the table,” the site recommends.
Seasonings like basil, cinnamon, chili powder, pepper, dill, cumin and garlic can liven up dishes without the negative health effects of salt.
Your blood pressure usually increases as your weight increases. According to the Mayo Clinic, weight loss is one of the most effective natural remedies to lower blood pressure. Even losing just 10 pounds can help decrease your numbers. If you’re a male, aim for a waist measurement that’s less than 40 inches and if you’re a female, aim for a waist measurement less than 35 inches.
At least 30 minutes of regular physical activity most days of the week can help bring down your blood pressure — and if you have prehypertension, regular exercise can help prevent you from developing hypertension.
Try exercises like:
Managing — and preventing — high blood pressure doesn’t have to take a lot of work. By slowly incorporating healthier choices into your diet, watching and reducing your salt intake, losing weight and staying active, you can take control of your health without medication.