Updated 10/8/23; Originally posted 10/11/21
High blood pressure is common in the US but not healthy at all. When your blood pressure raises more than you want it to, remember there are many non-pharmaceutical ways you can use to bring it back down!
Some of us are genetically predisposed to have more trouble with our cardiovascular system.
Thank goodness our lifestyle choices give us some control over how our genetics get expressed in every day life and health.
Even if you have a family history of heart disease and high blood pressure, you can still make positive lifestyle changes that will lower blood pressure naturally so you feel better not older!
Way 1: Magnesium to Relax your Heart
The mineral magnesium is more important to your entire body and mind than most people realize. It is used in over 300 body processes and quite a few of those are heart and blood pressure related.
A higher magnesium level in your blood and cells is associated with lower blood pressure and other markers of cardiovascular disease. When you are stressed, you need even more magnesium than when not stressed.
There are 11 forms of magnesium and some are more relevant to your heart than others. Magnesium citrate and taurinate both protect the heart muscle and help it work better. Magnesium bisglycinate helps relax your body and mind so you can get more restorative sleep – including your heart! Magnesium sulfate (epsom salts!) relaxes muscles and helps with detoxification. Read more about the forms of magnesium on Zoa’s Magnesium Post.
Action : Supplement with Magnesium Breakthrough in the morning and before bed
Action : Give yourself an epsom salts foot bath (meet with me for more guidance!)
Way 2: Breathing to Calm your Heart
Breathing keeps you alive but we all develop some poor breathing habits. Fast, shallow breathing is associated with a faster heart, higher blood pressure, and stress! Taking a few minutes or more to slow down your breathing, more fully fill your body with breath, and allow your heart rate and blood pressure to change is well worth the time.
When should you choose to focus on breathing to calm down your body? Anytime including:
- when you are about to yell at your kids
- when you read an annoying email
- before you begin a meeting
- while on a walk in nature
- throughout a yoga practice
- as you get settled into a meditation session
- so many more times!
Action : Work to slow down and deepen your breathing with my help or another breathing expert. We can work in person (if you live near La Plata, MD) or virtually!
Action : Loosen tight fascia throughout the body to allow a deeper breath. My fascial release classes lead you through how to do this!
Way 3: Stay Hydrated with Proper Electrolytes to Reduce Blood Pressure
Dehydration is tied to high blood pressure, headaches, overall body pain, and more. Alcohol and caffeine encourage your body’s water content to be low. Eating and drinking prepared foods with high sodium encourage you to retain water and encourages high blood pressure.
Drinking water (with no sugar!) and maintaining a healthy mineral intake (without excess sodium!) encourage your body’s water content to be optimal.
How do you know when you have the right amount of water and electrolyte intake? If you are drinking lots of water but peeing every hour – not enough of the right minerals! If you only pee a few times a day – more water! If you are holding fluids in your extremities – maybe too much sodium or not enough movement or you are having trouble detoxing. It is of course more complicated than that when you consider your current diet, health conditions, supplementation, etc.
Action : Sip on water throughout the day with electrolytes like LMNT or Ultima (meet with me for more guidance!)
Action : Supplement your trace minerals with liquid BEAM Minerals (meet with me for more guidance!)
Way 4: Move your Whole Body to Improve Blood Flow
Your blood travels out to every cell in your body through the push of your heart (the systolic or top number of your blood pressure). The returning blood has no extra push from the cell back to the heart. Your blood vessels have valves to prevent the blood in your veins from going the wrong way but whole body movement helps ease the return trip of the blood to the heart. Purposeful, planned movement known as exercise is important for your blood flow and pressure. Gentle whole body movements throughout the day known as physical activity is also important and possibly more so!
How can you add physical activity to your day?
- Walking is better than sitting
- Reaching high into the upper cabinet is better than keeping everything in the lower cabinets
- Moving from room to room as you do housework is better than staying in place
- Getting up to go talk to people at work is better than calling them
- Now your turn for an idea!
How can you add whole body exercise to your week?
- Take 3 short walks daily
- Take a long walk or hike weekly or more (with a friend!)
- Add a yoga class in weekly and get your breath work at the same time!
- Follow the exercise videos in my Zen Anytime Monthly Membership whenever you have 10 minutes at home
- Now your turn for an idea!
Action : Add more exercise into your week. My movement classes are available both virtually and in person (in La Plata, MD)
Action : Sit less and move around more throughout the day. Take the long way to the bathroom. Walk out and around the house every hour. Make extra trips downstairs and upstairs on purpose.
Way 5: Meditate your way to lower blood pressure
Meditation is not all in your mind. The mind-body connection enables your meditation practice to change your body as much as to change your mind.
Your focal point for your meditation can be your breath, a flower, your heart beat, a moving cloud, a stone in your hand, the sensations in your feet, a memory, the list is infinite. With meditation, you can slow the racing of your heart, deepen your breath, cool your body, and lower your blood pressure!
When should you meditate? Go for it whenever your stress is high, to get ready for sleep, when you feel your heart racing, or whenever you think you are too busy to make time for it!