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Many people have higher-than-normal blood pressure levels. This could be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, genetics, or a complication of another health problem. The first step to improving your blood pressure is to find the reason for the elevation. However, many people with high blood pressure do not have a clear cause. In this case, it is best to consult a doctor to learn what lifestyle changes or medications they recommend. Sometimes, natural, homeopathic options are enough.

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Exercise

Exercise is the best and cheapest way to lower your blood pressure. Exercise can encompass more than going to the gym, running marathons, or doing sports. Brisk walking, jogging, or cycling that you do at home has benefits, too. Physical activity can make your heart stronger and more efficient. This change can reduce the pressure on your heart and blood vessels. Staying active every day is best if the goal is to keep blood pressure low.

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Dark Chocolate

For some people, a bar of chocolate tastes great. However, the benefits of chocolate do not stop at making you feel good! The right kind of chocolate can also lower blood pressure. You don't have to eat a lot of chocolate to get its benefits. One study found that eating only 30 calories of dark chocolate each day was enough to modestly lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which promote healthy blood flow. This snack should always be combined with a healthy diet, exercise, and weight loss if medically necessary.

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Diet

The best way to improve your health and your blood pressure is by controlling what you eat every day. Food can make your condition better or worse. Leafy greens like kale, turnip greens, spinach, and arugula contain potassium and can play a role in decreasing the levels of sodium in the blood, improving blood pressure control. Frozen vegetables contain the same level of nutritive material as fresh vegetables, but canned vegetables sometimes have a high amount of sodium. Try to buy fresh veggies instead of canned ones to get the most benefit.

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Hibiscus Tea

Drinking tea is a custom in many cultures around the globe. Hibiscus tea tastes good and can help reduce systolic blood pressure due to the phytochemicals it contains. Though it can be consumed hot or cold, the recommended amount of hibiscus tea differs from one person to another according to their weight, age and health status. A physician or dietician can help you determine the right quantity for you.

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Soy

Soycontains isoflavones,estrogen-like compounds that help lower systolic blood pressure, the upper blood pressure reading that represents the force inside the walls of arteries when the heart is contracting. Isoflavones also play a role in the production of enzymes that make nitric oxide. These enzymes are essential for the relaxation of blood vessels and help reduce blood pressure. Ask your doctor whether adding soy to your diet is right for you.

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Less Alcohol

Drinking too much has a significant effect on healthand it can increase blood pressure, as well as weight, as most alcohol contains a lot of calories. Decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed is essential for those with high blood pressure. Ideally, people will drink less than 14 units of alcohol a week. A unit of alcohol is one measure of liquor, half a pint of average-strength beer, or half a standard glass of red wine.

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Reduce Caffeine

For some people, drinking a cup of coffee every morning is an essential part of their morning routine, but caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure. The impact of caffeine on blood pressure readings varies. Some people experience little increase when they consume moderate amounts of caffeine. But, if you have a history of elevated blood pressure, proceed with caution. Ask a physician how much caffeine you can safely consume.

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Manage Stress

Every day, we face stressful situations at work and homeand it's important to learn how to deal with stress. Stress stimulates the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol -- stress hormones that increase heart rate and make the blood vessels narrower, which raises blood pressure. There are many things you can do to reduce stress and identify and manage or avoid stressful situations.

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Quit Smoking

Smoking contributes to many diseases, including hypertension. Nicotine can raise your blood pressure and heart rate, increase the risk of blood clots, and raise the risk of heart attack or stroke. It can also make the arteries narrower and their walls harder and less flexible. Stopping smoking can be very difficult, but it has incredible benefits.

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More Vitamin D

When we hear about vitamin D, we think about its benefits to our bones. However, not everyone knows that vitamin D deficiency could lead to an increase in blood pressure. More research is required to verify this, but the evidence is there. Some foods are rich in vitamin D, such as salmon, sardines, eggs, powdered milk, and fortified breakfast cereals. However, the best source of vitamin D is exposure to the sun. The recommended amount of vitamin D is 600 international units for adults and 800 IU a day for people above 70. Ensuring diet and lifestyle accommodate these quantities can help you stay healthy and naturally lower your blood pressure.

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Increase Potassium

Doctors usually tell people with high blood pressure to eat less salt because sodium may contribute to higher blood pressure readings. Increasing potassium helps a person pass more salt in their urine and is crucial to reducing high blood pressure. Always speak with a doctor before increasing potassium intake because it can be dangerous for people with kidney problems. Foods high in potassium include avocados, fat-free yogurt, greens, and potatoes.

potassium-rich potatoes in a pan Lew Robertson / Getty Images
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Reduce Sugar

Recent studies show that too much sugar may contribute to high blood pressure. It can also lead to weight gain, and overweight people are more likely to have high blood pressure. The recommended daily sugar limits are 25 grams for women and 9 grams for men. The best way to decrease sugar is to cut out soda and other sweetened drinks and eat fewer foods with added sugar.

sugar cubes in a cup Peter Dazeley / Getty Images
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Increase Sleep

Research shows that increasing sleep may contribute to lower blood pressure. Sleep helps regulate stress hormones and contributes to a healthy nervous system. Over time, sleeping less than five hours a day could lead to higher blood pressure. Sleeping for seven to eight hours per night may help treat and prevent high blood pressure.

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Eat Garlic

Garlic shows promise in treating hypertension, according to research studies. It may lower blood pressure nearly as well as prescribed medication, with hardly any reported side effects, though it does not affect blood pressure levels already in the normal range. For best results, use garlic powder or cooked garlic, but supplements are also useful. It's worth noting that these benefits are only noted with particularly high doses of garlic.

garlic on a black background virusowy / Getty Images
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Increase Protein

People who eat a high-protein diet may be at lower risk for high blood pressure. Research shows that those consuming the highest amount of protein cut their hypertension risk by nearly 40 percent. For best results, eat plenty of low-fat, protein-rich foods, like eggs, chicken, cottage cheese, and oats. There are also plant-based foods high in protein, such as lentils, chickpeas, green peas, and tofu.

cooked chicken breasts EasyBuy4u / Getty Images

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.