Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication

Too often we think that medications are the only way to lower blood pressure – not so. Research shows dietary changes can help bring elevated blood pressures down as well. Find out more about the role diet and lifestyle plays in controlling hypertension.

Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication

Why should you lower your blood pressure? Elevated blood pressure, when untreated, increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney diseases, vision loss and dementia. It’s a common misconception that the only way to reduce high blood pressure is by taking medications. In many cases, lifestyle, especially dietary changes, can have a significant impact on your blood pressure readings. The benefit of lowering your blood pressure through diet is you won’t face the side effects that some people experience with blood pressure medications.

The Role Diet Plays in Lowering Blood Pressure

If you prefer a natural approach to controlling your blood pressure you’re in luck. A growing body of research shows the type of diet you eat can affect your blood pressure. Did you know that the average sodium intake is 4100 mg/day for men and 2750 mg for women? Processed foods are major contributors of sodium in the diet. A number of studies show the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, and low-fat dairy foods, lowers blood pressure can lower blood pressure by a few points in as little as two weeks. With the standard DASH diet, you restrict the amount of sodium in your diet to 2,300 milligrams.

Another form of the DASH diet called the low-sodium DASH limits sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams. Some people with high blood pressure, about 10%, are sodium sensitive, meaning their blood pressure rises when they add more sodium to their diet. Therefore, limiting the amount of sodium you take in may be beneficial if you fall into this category. Don’t forget processed and packaged foods typically have added sodium and other ingredients, like trans-fat and high-fructose corn syrup, linked with high blood pressure and heart disease.

Eating whole foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, is a healthy approach to lowering your blood pressure and risk for heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps with blood pressure control. Potassium helps your body better excrete sodium and that can lower your blood pressure.

Control Your Body Weight

If you’re overweight, losing those extra pounds can help bring your blood pressure down to a healthier range.  According to the American Heart Association, losing as few as 10 pounds can have a significant impact on your blood pressure. One way to get a jump start on losing weight is to start an exercise program. Time to lace up your exercise shoes?

Aerobic exercise, a type of exercise that gets your heart rate up like walking, cycling, or jogging, burns calories, but as research suggests, it can also reduce your blood pressure over time. Studies show aerobic exercise lowers systolic (the upper number) and diastolic (the lower number) blood pressure. The combination of a DASH diet and regular aerobic exercise is a good foundation for controlling your blood pressure naturally.

The Bottom Line

The Austin Diagnostic Clinic Nutrition Services Dietitian Neelu Kohli also reminds us that normal blood pressure range is around 120/80  and that “normal” may vary person to person based on your personal medical history. Individuals with diabetes and kidney diseases should strive for a goal of 130/80. Do you have questions about lowering your blood pressure? We’re here to talk to you and help you make the lifestyle changes that can positively impact your blood pressure and health. Let us know how we can help you meet your blood pressure goals.


  • American Heart Association. “Weight Management and Blood Pressure”
  • Ann Intern Med. 2002 Apr 2;136(7):493-503.
  • Mayo Clinic. “Nutrition and Healthy Eating”
  • CDC – High Blood Pressure
  • National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute
  • Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention


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  3. Anonymous says:

    This is great information. I weighed 201lbs when I found out that my blood pressure was 140/100. I threw out every packaged food item I had and started walking/jogging. I lost 30lbs and my blood pressure now is 120/80 on the dot. The proof is in the numbers. It really just takes the knowledge and determination.