How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Drugs?

Understanding high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a health condition that develops when the flow of blood puts pressure on your arteries as the heart pumps blood to the body.

A blood pressure test is carried out using a blood pressure monitor and the result is shown as two sets of numbers.

Systolic blood pressure

This indicates how much pressure your blood puts on the walls of your artery as the heart beats while pumping blood. The systolic blood pressure is the number shown on top of your blood pressure reading. 

According to the American Heart Association (AHA)1, the normal range for systolic blood pressure is within 90-120 mmHg (If it is below 90, then it shows your blood pressure is low and if it is above 120, it shows you have high blood pressure also known as hypertension).

Diastolic blood pressure

The diastolic blood pressure is the indicator of how much pressure your blood is putting on the walls of your artery when the heart is resting before each beat. 

If your diastolic blood pressure is within the range of 60-80 mmHg, then it is normal. Below 60 indicates low blood pressure while values more than 80 indicate that your blood pressure is high.

Risk factors for high blood pressure

2 According to Medline plus, the risk factors for HBP are categorized as: 

  • Primary (or essential) high blood pressure: Primary hypertension is of two types and gradually builds over several years. Those caused by factors we have no control over,  which include age, sex, race, genetics and family history as listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention3,  and those caused by factors we have control over also known as unhealthy lifestyle habits - stress, tobacco use, obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity etc.
  • Secondary high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure is caused by non-modifiable factors such as lifestyle. It includes certain or extensive use of some medications, drug abuse, birth defect, congenital problem in your blood vessels, or medical conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea,  hormonal issues(eg. thyroid) or kidney problems. Pregnancy may cause high blood pressure in some women2.

Complications of high blood pressure

The American Heart Association1, mentions four stages of high blood pressure. 

The elevated stage is where your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 129/80 mmHg for the systolic pressure and less than 80 for the diastolic blood pressure.

Hypertension stage 1 is when your blood pressure is between 130/80 mmHg and 139/90 mmHg.

Hypertension stage 2 occurs in two stages. It is termed mild hypertension if the reading is 140/90 mmHg or above, and said to be moderate hypertension when it is between 160/100 mmHg to 179/109 mmHg.

During a Hypertensive crisis, your blood pressure is now above 180/120. You may start getting symptoms like headache, chest pain, nausea/vomiting or dizziness. This is a medical emergency and requires medical attention. 

When your blood pressure is high and no treatment measures are undertaken to control the BP, especially in the hypertensive stage, it can cause complications.

These complications arise from the excessive pressure put on the walls of the artery and can cause damage to your blood vessels and your organs. 

The complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure include4,5

  • Heart Attack or Stroke: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause your arteries to thicken and harden leading to restricted blood flow to the heart or brain leading to heart attack or stroke.
  • Aneurysm: This happens when the blood vessels develop a swelling or lump (aneurysm) due to high blood pressure. They may burst and lead to more complications.
  • Heart failure: This happens due to the heart working harder to make sure it gets blood to pass through the vessels to your organs. This thickens the heart muscle over time, reducing its ability to force blood through the blood vessels, causing heart failure. 
  • Kidney disease or failure: High blood pressure can cause a narrowing and weakening of blood vessels in your kidneys, reducing kidney function.
  • Vision loss: High blood pressure can lead to the thickening, narrowing or tearing of blood vessels in your eyes.
  • The trouble with memory or understanding: Uncontrolled hypertension may interfere with your ability to understand, learn, think or remember.  
  • Vascular Dementia: The narrowing or blocking of arteries by high blood pressure can reduce the flow of blood to the brain or cause a stroke that blocks the blood flow to the brain. 
  • Sexual dysfunction: High blood pressure can lead to low libido in women and erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Angina: High blood pressure can lead to microvascular disease, which is characterized by angina.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): When the arteries thicken and harden, it can make the arteries in the head, limbs, and stomach becomes narrow.
  • Complications during pregnancy: Uncontrolled high blood pressure in pregnant women can decrease blood flow to the placenta (and the baby)  or lead to preeclampsia and puts the mother and child at risk. 
  • Metabolic syndrome: High blood pressure puts you at a higher risk of developing life-threatening conditions like decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and increasing low-density lipoprotein (LDP) which decreases the efficiency of the arteries. 

Natural ways to reduce the blood pressure

Some natural remedies to lower your blood pressure are:

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise helps increase blood circulation, strengthen your heart muscles, improve cholesterol and reduce stress levels. It also helps lose weight in moderation. 

You could start with mild aerobic exercises; jogging or stair-walking is a good place to start. Start gradually to ease your body system into it and then work your way up to more intense exercises, depending on your body and health.6

However, as a hypertensive, you should exercise in moderation. You can invest in trackers and health apps which keep track of your heart rate, amount of calories burnt or the number of steps taken, to help you keep track of your progress.

Do not fail to check with your doctor before you start exercising or when you decide to switch up your routine.

Limit sodium intake

When taken in moderation, salt allows the muscles and nerves to function properly and helps keep our fluid levels in check, but if taken in excess, leads to a build-up of excess water in your bloodstream making it difficult for the kidney to function properly. The kidney retains fluid in the body where they get back into the bloodstream and cause stress to the blood vessels. 

The daily dose of salt (sodium) recommended by the AHA7 is about 1,500mg, especially for people who are at risk of high blood pressure. 

Limiting sodium intake (especially eating too much salty food) can improve your heart health and kidney function.

Eat more potassium-rich foods

Foods like avocados, apricots, mushrooms and potatoes are rich in potassium and reduce the effects of sodium. The higher your potassium intake, the more sodium your body releases through urine. The recommended daily dose for potassium is 4,700mg. Potassium may be harmful to people with kidney disease, so speak to your healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter supplements.8

Maintain your body weight

Losing weight if you are overweight or maintaining a healthy weight, can help control your high blood pressure and in turn, lower your risk of related health problems.9 The pressure on your heart reduces when you shed as little as 2 to 4 kilograms.10

Eat a healthy diet

You can adopt the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, an eating plan created to help lower or control high blood pressure. This diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, and foods that are lower in sodium and rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium. This article by Mayo Clinic provided sample menus11 and Harvard Medical School created this shopping list12 to help you get started.

Eat less processed food

Processed food contains a high amount of sodium. They may also contain a high amount of saturated and trans-fat that would increase your cholesterol level or processed sugar which makes the blood vessels narrow.7

Limit your alcohol intake

Alcohol increases your blood pressure by increasing cholesterol levels and causing the blood vessels to become narrow over time, reducing blood flow. Limit your alcohol intake to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.13

Quit smoking

Smoking can leave deposits of plaque14 in the arteries and injure your blood vessels by reducing the production of nitric oxide which helps to expand the blood vessels and increase blood flow. 

Cut back on caffeine

Caffeine causes a short and instant increase in blood pressure. This increase lasts up to three hours and the reason for this increase is not yet known.15

Eat some dark chocolates

Cocoa has an abundance of plant chemicals called flavanols that may be helpful in protecting the heart by producing nitric oxide. The darker the chocolate, the higher the flavanols present. Dark chocolates 70% and above are the best in this case.16

Monitor blood pressure at home

Monitoring your blood pressure at home helps you keep your blood pressure in check. Once you notice an increase in your readings, you can take precautions to lower your blood pressure.

Try medicinal herbs

Some herbs have antihypertensive properties and help lower blood pressure. These herbs include parsley, basil, flaxseed, pomegranate, celery, garlic and blueberry juice.

Reduce your stress

Stress is a big factor in blood pressure elevation. Your blood pressure increases by hormones released while you are stressed making your blood vessels narrower.17 Listening to calming music, speaking to a loved one or doing a hobby helps ease stress.

Practice yoga and meditation

Research18 found yoga to have a positive effect on the blood pressure of hypertensive women who have PreMenstrual Syndrome (PMS) by reducing their diastolic blood pressure. The results of research by Mayo Clinic19 show that yoga is more effective when combined with meditation and breathing techniques.

Why is a change in lifestyle important to reduce high blood pressure?

A healthy heart lifestyle is a lifelong commitment. It is important you listen to, and work with your doctor. To do this effectively, you need to keep yourself informed and educated about high blood pressure, and also monitor your blood pressure yourself. 

Making lifestyle changes enables you to delay or prevent high blood pressure from developing, manage and lower high blood pressure, increase the effectiveness of your prescribed blood pressure medications and lower your chances of having complications that come with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure in older people 

As we age, our blood vessels become stiffer leading to elevated blood pressure. This is normal even for people who have a healthy heart. 

The authors in a journal20 by AHA  recommend that older people should be treated for high blood pressure, not according to their ages but according to how their organs function and risk factors. 

Trying out natural remedies may help to reduce high blood pressure in older people only when their systolic blood pressure is below 180 mmHg21. The higher your blood pressure, the more likely you are to benefit from taking blood pressure medication, which is prescribed according to your risk factor and hypertensive stage.22, 23

If you have symptoms of a hypertensive crisis, you should remain calm, lie down and seek help. 

When to seek medical help

  • When you have tried a combination of natural remedies for a while, without seeing any changes. 
  • When you are experiencing two or more symptoms like headache, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, breathlessness, 
  • During a hypertensive crisis - blood pressure of 180/120 and above. Do not wait it out or self-medicate.


You can lower your blood pressure without drugs when your blood pressure is slightly high through lifestyle changes. Monitoring your blood pressure at home also helps you keep an eye on your blood pressure.

Seek medical attention once you start having symptoms indicating a hypertensive crisis as it can be life-threatening.

Combining potassium intake, a healthy diet and exercise will aid in the reduction of your blood pressure. A combination of lifestyle changes and drugs helps to lower and control high blood pressure although lifestyle change must not replace medication, especially in severe cases.


  1. Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  2. High Blood Pressure [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  3. CDC. Know Your Risk for High Blood Pressure | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  4. Health Threats from High Blood Pressure. [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  5. High blood pressure (hypertension) - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  6. Getting Active to Control High Blood Pressure. [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  7. Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure. [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  8. How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure. [Internet]. [cited 2022 Aug 22]. Available from:
  9. Abdulle A, Al-Junaibi A, Nagelkerke N. High Blood Pressure and Its Association with Body Weight among Children and Adolescents in the United Arab Emirates. PLoS ONE [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2022 Aug 22]; 9(1):e85129. 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Chimezirim Ozonyiri

Bachelor of Science - BS, Microbiology, General, Tansian University, Nigeria

Chimezirim has several years of experience in the healthcare, non-profit, and education sectors. She is passionate about health promotion and began her journey into health and lifestyle writing over two years ago.

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