6 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure By Changing Your Diet | Chris Kresser

6 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure By Changing Your Diet

by Chris Kresser

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This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for ChrisKresser.com. You can learn more about Laura by checking out her blog or visiting her on Facebook.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious and common condition that can lead to life-threatening diseases such as heart attack, stroke, heart or kidney failure, and more. While 1 in 3 American adults have high blood pressure, this condition only affects 3% or less of hunter-gatherer populations that are following a traditional diet and lifestyle. (1, 2) This would suggest that hypertension is a disease of poor lifestyle choices, and one that can be effectively treated using simple diet and behavior changes, as well as strategic use of herbal remedies.

Blood pressure is measured by two numbers: the top number is the systolic pressure (when the heart is pumping blood) and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure (when the heart is at rest).  A normal blood pressure number is below 120/80, prehypertension is diagnosed between 120/80 – 139/89, Stage 1 hypertension is between 140/90 – 159/99, and Stage 2 hypertension is blood pressure above 160/100.

While most doctors prescribe drug treatment when a patient has reached the prehypertension stage, there is no evidence to support pharmaceutical treatment in these patients. (3) But this doesn’t mean hypertension shouldn’t be addressed. Much like high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure (even in the prehypertension stage) is a sure sign of other problems going on in the body.

By addressing underlying issues with diet and lifestyle changes, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure without resorting to drug treatment. This article will address six dietary changes you can make to help lower your blood pressure naturally. (That said, medication should always be considered if these changes are unable to lower your blood pressure adequately. Please defer to your doctor’s advice here!)

These 6 simple diet changes can help lower your blood pressure without using drugs. Tweet This

1. Reduce excessive carbohydrate intake, especially refined carbs and sugars.

One of the most significant contributors to high blood pressure is high blood sugar and insulin resistance. (PDF) Some evidence suggests that pathological changes in glucose and insulin metabolism significantly affect the development and clinical course of hypertension, and thus should be primary targets for dietary intervention. Chronically high blood sugar, hyperinsulinemia, and high triglycerides are far more common in individuals with hypertension than those with normal blood pressure, and one of the major contributors to all three of these conditions is an excess intake of carbohydrate, particularly refined grains and sugars. (4, 5, 6)

Additionally, excess intake of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks has been shown to directly influence blood pressure. (7, 8) Cutting out these beverages should be the first step in any hypertension treatment, and can also help with shedding excess weight and reducing high blood sugar – both issues that further contribute to hypertension. And don’t think switching to Diet will help either, since artificially-sweetened beverages also contribute to hypertension. (9)

While some research has suggested that high fructose intake may increase blood pressure, other research shows that fructose itself is not the problem; rather, it is the consumption of excess total carbohydrate that is the major issue. (10, 11, 12, 13) This means you shouldn’t be concerned with eating modest levels of naturally-occurring fructose, like that from fruit and honey, as these foods are healthy in the context of a moderate carbohydrate diet. Be sure to adjust your carbohydrate intake to your needs and health goals, and get your carbohydrates from nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits and starchy vegetables.

2. Increase intake of beneficial minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

While most conventional medical professionals will recommend sodium restriction as the primary method for blood pressure reduction, it appears that focusing on eating foods rich in other macrominerals is more beneficial than strictly focusing on avoiding sodium. (14, 15, 16, 17) More important than overall sodium intake is the sodium-to-potassium ratio; thus, eating a high-potassium diet is a better strategy than eating a low-sodium diet. Further, as Chris has shown in his series on the salt myth, restricting sodium to the levels recommended by the American Heart Association may actually be causing more harm than good.

potassium in food
Click to expand table

I’ve included a chart of the Paleo foods richest in potassium to help guide you in increasing potassium intake (this chart is from the bonus chapter on hypertension from Chris’s new book, Your Personal Paleo Code; published in paperback as The Paleo Cure in December 2014). Those with hypertension should aim to get at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day. If you have hypertension and are unsure about the adequacy of your potassium intake, I recommend using a food diary for 3 days and analyzing your average potassium intake.

Also, don’t go too low carb when reducing your carbohydrate intake – many of the best sources of potassium and magnesium are starchy vegetables like white and sweet potatoes, or fruits like plantains and bananas. White potatoes are especially good sources of blood pressure-lowering minerals like potassium and magnesium; hypothetically you could eat three large baked potatoes per day to easily meet your potassium needs while only consuming around 180 grams of carbohydrate. While eating a potato at each meal isn’t necessary to get adequate potassium, I do think those who eat “strict” Paleo should consider reintroducing white potatoes if tolerated.

Also, those eating “strict” Paleo may be missing out on significant sources of calcium from dairy products, and calcium intake is another important predictor of high blood pressure and cardiovascular events. (18, 19) If you’re not eating dairy products, be sure to eat plenty of bone-in fish, leafy greens, bone broth, and nuts to make sure you’re getting adequate calcium. Keep a 3-day food diary to check on your intake; if you’re falling short of the minimum 600 milligrams per day, you can try adding bone meal to soups or stews to boost your calcium intake.

3. Eat grass-fed dairy products like ghee, butter, and cheese.

Beyond being a good source of calcium, full-fat grass-fed dairy has another contribution to the treatment of hypertension: vitamin K2. While this nutrient is hardly discussed by conventional medical professionals, preliminary data suggests K2 may be one of the most important nutrients to include in a disease-preventing diet. (20, 21, 22) Vitamin K2 may be protective against osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and more, so it’s definitely a nutrient you should be looking to get enough of no matter what your health situation.

Vitamin K2 may also be protective against hypertension. While there haven’t yet been any studies directly measuring K2’s effects on blood pressure, logic would suggest that this nutrient could help prevent high blood pressure by reducing vascular stiffness and arterial calcification. (23, 24, 25, 26, 27) High serum calcium levels are related to hypertension, and vitamin K2 (along with adequate vitamin D) is crucial to ensure that calcium is deposited in the bone where it belongs, and not in the arteries where it can cause vascular stiffness and calcification, leading to hypertension and heart disease. (28, 29, 30)

One of the most well-tolerated foods high in vitamin K2 is grass-fed ghee. Pure Indian Foods is my favorite brand of ghee, but you can also eat butter, cheese, and full-fat yogurt or kefir from grass-fed cows to get adequate K2. (Fermented dairy may actually have independent effects on hypertension as well. All the more reason to drink full-fat kefir!)

If you’re completely dairy intolerant or allergic, you can supplement with vitamin K2. My favorite supplement is one that contains the three fat soluble nutrients, A, D, and K2, in balanced form, which is the way these vitamins must be taken to support optimal health. If isolated nutrients aren’t your style, you can also take the Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil from Rosita.

4. Eat at least one pound of fatty fish per week.

Fatty fish is high in essential omega-3 fats, and these fats have been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular events in multiple studies. (31, 32, 33, 34) A meta-analysis demonstrated that fish oil supplementation may significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (35)  However, taking fish oil supplements to get your omega-3 fats is not an ideal strategy, since some studies suggest that high doses of fish oil may increase cardiovascular and total mortality, especially when used for more than four years. (36, 37)

The many benefits of fatty fish for promoting overall health are hard to argue against, and those with high blood pressure may especially benefit from including more fish in their diet. Also, certain fatty fish like halibut and wild salmon are high in potassium, as seen in the chart above. This demonstrates the benefit of choosing whole-foods over supplements when it comes to preventing disease; many foods have multiple and possibly synergistic effects that can provide significant health benefits over supplements containing their individual components. Eating one pound (16 ounces) a week of fatty fish like salmon, sardines, halibut, and mackerel is an important dietary strategy for reducing both high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 5. Drink tea.

Habitual tea drinking may help reduce blood pressure, as demonstrated by research mostly conducted in regions where tea is a significant component of the daily diet. (38) There are some teas that may be more effective at reducing blood pressure than others, however, and caffeinated tea may raise blood pressure in the short term. (39, 40) The following teas are ones I recommend consuming if you need to reduce your blood pressure. (If you are taking prescription medicines, talk to your health care provider before drinking these herbal teas.)

Hibiscus tea has been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. (41, 42) Hibiscus is a small tree with red flowers that are rich in flavonoids, minerals, and other nutrients. (43) Hibiscus tea has a fruity taste that makes it popular as both hot and cold beverage, and experts recommend two to three cups per day to achieve blood pressure reducing effects. I recommend making a large jug of iced, unsweetened hibiscus tea and drinking it in place of water for at least 3 cups of fluid. Add a little honey or stevia if you prefer sweetness, but this tea is delicious on its own.

Hawthorn tea may also be effective as a blood pressure-reducing beverage, and the plant has been used to treat heart disease as far back as the 1st century. (44, 45, 46) The antioxidant-rich tea may help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow. Dosing guidelines have not been established, but three cups a day is recommended by some health professionals.

Gotu kola tea may be another helpful tea in lowering blood pressure, specifically in the case of venous insufficiency. (47, 48) It is believed that gotu kola might assist in the maintenance of connective tissue, which strengthens weakened veins and helps improve circulation. Again, three cups daily is the current recommendation for this tea.

Finally, oolong and green tea may be beneficial for lowering high blood pressure. One study of more than 1,500 subjects showed that drinking one half to two and a half cups of oolong or green tea on a daily basis can lower a person’s risk of hypertension by 46 percent. (49) As you can see, there are many different teas that can benefit those with high blood pressure, so find one or two you like and drink them regularly.

6. Eat more beets.

Some researchers hypothesize that a major reason the DASH diet is beneficial for lowering blood pressure is that the content of inorganic nitrate in certain vegetables and fruits provides a physiologic substrate for reduction to nitrite, nitric oxide, and other metabolic products that produce vasodilation, decrease blood pressure, and support cardiovascular function. (50)

So take a page out of the Dwight Schrute handbook and eat your beets! Beets are high in nitrates, which, as suggested above, may reduce blood pressure by improving vasodilation. Other foods high in nitrates include celeriac, Chinese cabbage, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, leek, parsley, celery, cress, chervil, lettuce, spinach, and rocket. (Ironically, bacon is another source of dietary nitrate…)

Beet juice in particular has been shown to lower blood pressure in multiple studies. (51, 52) So if you have a juicer, try making some fresh beet juice to drink on a regular basis. If you’re looking for an even healthier form of beet juice, you can also drink beet kvass, which provides probiotics in addition to hypertension-fighting nitrates. It’s an acquired taste for sure, but one that might be helpful to acquire if you’re suffering from hypertension that hasn’t responded to a healthier diet and/or weight loss.

Of course, there are many more recommendations for how to lower blood pressure, including strategic exercise, restful sleep, sun exposure, and meditation, yoga, or other stress management practices. There are also several different supplements that can aid in further lowering blood pressure once these dietary and lifestyle strategies have been made.

Chris has written a great bonus chapter on high blood pressure in his new book, Your Personal Paleo Code (published in paperback as The Paleo Cure in December 2014), which releases at the end of this year. (I’m so excited!) If you’re struggling with high blood pressure or other common but serious health conditions, I strongly recommend checking out this book for more information on how to address your symptoms by making nutritional and lifestyle changes that will greatly improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Now tell me – have any of you made any changes that helped reduce your blood pressure? Share your story in the comments below!


Join the conversation

  1. I did not have a lot of dietary changes to make but I began drinking Hawthorn and
    Hibiscus tea. There has been a change and most of the time I experience low bp readings; but, two hours before rising my bp spikes after a reading of 110 / 69. I sleep well but can not enjoy a leisurely late morning. Also my body is very regemated
    And doesn’t respond well to change of meds. I lost 20lbs and weigh 137. I eat fish
    And seldom eat red meat. I use Himalayan salt sparingly and drink very little caffeine.
    Do not drink sodas on a Reg bases but do drink organic beet juice and beets.
    Any suggestions? One other questions about dandelion tea helping and the greens of da dandelion?
    Thank you in advance for your input.

  2. I’ve been doing low carb for 10 months. I’ve lost 22 lbs, my diabetic numbers have improved a bit, and my blood pressure has gone through the roof. *confused* Some years ago I was on a raw food diet. I felt great, but my blood sugar went through the roof and damaged my kidneys so that they can’t flush out potassium. So now I’m eating low potassium and low carb. This is very strict and difficult, but I don’t cheat, since I want to survive. So now what? Everything I do is wrong and causes more damage.

    • I am having the same problem! I been doing gluten free, sugar free and lost 30 lbs over a year but my blood pressure remains high.

      • How is you sodium? Make sure you are eating sea salt and not the regular table salt. Also, gluten free is still carbs. It just doesn’t have the wheat flour in it. Just other gluten free flours.

  3. A Week Ago I Got Dizzy And Went To The Hospital With Blood Pressure At 175 Over 112..It Is Always Around 150 Over 90..So I Made A Change..No Coffee..No Sugar..Low Salt..No Processed Foods..In 10 Days My Pressure Is 116 Over 64 With No Meds..Potatos And Eggs For Breakfast..Broccoli and Macaroni For Lunch..White Rice And Chicken For Dinner..6 Glasses Of Water A Day.. 2 Hours After A Meal And 1 Hour Before A Meal..I Am 58 And About 30 Pounds Over Weight..Lost 6 Pounds Already..I Went Out For The Day And Had A Burger With No Fries And A Few Beers ..When I Got Home My Pressure Was 124 Over 72..Not Bad For A Day Out..

  4. Hello,
    I had never had high blood pressure before but at 17 weeks of my last pregnancy it spiked and then normalized at 21 weeks without any changes and remained normal throughout the rest of my pregnancy. However, at 2 days postpartum it spiked again and they kept me at the hospital an extra night to monitor me and put me on HBP medication. 1 week later my BP was still high on the meds so they doubled my dosage. After a 2 week follow up it was still slightly above normal but told me to keep with this dose until 6 wks postpartum and at that time of it’s still high they will recommend me to my PCP to go on a long term med. I obviously want to avoid this. I wondered if there were any additional recommendations you had for me since pregnancy\delivery seemed to have triggered it. Thank you!

  5. I’ve been doing to AIP of Paleo for about a month now and my blood pressure which has always been ‘normal’ has dropped to about 25 points– my bottom number 58 this morning. I am considering stopping the diet — any recommendations? Perhaps I should reintroduce something I have eliminated….

      • 58 for diastolic is nothing to be too, too concerned about, but it is generally not considered “normal.” Normal for most people is somewhere need 80. In fact, the accepted norm for blood pressure is 120/80. 120 = systolic, and 80 = diastolic. But, I agree that 58 is nothing to be concerned about. I would kill to have diastolic pressure of 58.

  6. I’m almost 55 years old. And my blood pressure has always been extremly high. I have been on HBP medications for 25 years. A month ago, I went on very low carbs and eliminated sugar and any processed food. My blood pressure is now reading 102/66. Unbelievable!

    • That is fabulous. Can you give me an idea of which foods you eating? I too have HBP and am on meds since past August. Are you still on your meds too?

      • I also have had high blood pressure problems. I added 1 1/2 cups of soaked chia to my diet. (I soak 1/4 – 1/2 cup chia seed to 1 to 1/2 cups water. I add them to my drink all day long) I have went a little over board and my bo is 107/64 quit my lasinaprol lady month.
        But definitely don’t do it like I did. Consult your Dr.first.

    • I was glad to see your comment! My BP has been high for two years, starting with pre hyp and then stage one but my PCP wouldn’t prescribe meds until I monitored qith 7 consecutive day readings 3x a day. With my schedule, I couldn’t always get consecutive readings so she wouldn’t prescribe, even though my BP was always elevated at visits. This past weekend, I ended up in the ER with pretty high readings on both numbers and the ER Dr prescribed a 30 day med and orders to follow up. I am looking at ways I can take charge with my diet and beginning some exercise. I am almost 56. I was also diagnosed with Hyperglycemia and told to get the numbers down.

    • W hat do you eat on a Low Carb Diet, my blood pressure is up and I don’t eat no salt and I try to stay away from sodas and sugar

      • Do you exercise, and meditate too? Also, rooibos tea can significantly help reduce blood pressure, plus it’s good for a whole host of other ailments!

      • No processed (boxed) foods of any kind. Limit pasta or find a good substitute. Watch rice, even brown. Brown rice over White rice but watch your serving size. Check with your Dr to find out what your total daily carb limit is and then know that you have to split that between 3 meals and snacks. I’ve had to learn that read labels. Yes, it’s a little extra time but my health is worth it and so is yours. I do a lot of protein and veggies and then look for “good” carbs and fats to add but stay inside my limits.I only take Amlodipine and my BP is now normal since my last post due to diet changes. I think I can eventually get off the BP med. I’m still borderline to being diabetic but that’s newly diagnosed and I can get that down too. In 3 weeks I have lost 5 lbs. by knocking out refined sugars in almost everything and eating healthier. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive either. I budget 40.00 a week for two of us. 35.00-40.00 goes to meat (poultry) and another 20.00 for veggies etc. that leaves enough for basic pantry spices if needed and a few things to make diabetic friendly sweets. I have an extra 10.00 cushion on my budget if I need to use it. It’s having a plan and then working it. ???

        • Sorry, I was typing my reply on my phone and it auto corrected and I didn’t proof it before submitting. I wanted to clarify on my grocery budget. I do budget around 80.00 for two weeks. I try to spend 35.00 to 50.00 for meat that will go for 13-14 meals, including enough to have lunch left overs the next day. The remaining 40.00-45.00 I spend on veggies, spices etc and plain yogurt, skim milk, eggs etc to round out healthy meals for the two weeks. If I can hit sales, it helps of course. Hope that helps!

          • I have had hbp for over 5 years, am 40, eat well and exercise by being outdoors. Today I was 172/110. I am 5’6″ and weigh 132. I am so frustrated because I try to get healthy and the doctors freak me out to the point where my bp rises when they are talking to me. I obviously need to fine tune something. What do you feel is the most important thing about diet?

            • Brooke,

              I now take a low dose of Amlodipine once a day which helps but mostly, as far as diet, it’s been more of the typical choices such as avoiding refined sugars and processed foods and eating more plants foods like salads and steamed veggies, staying away from red meat except on occasion and natural sugars in moderation. Excerise helps except I’ve had to start it very slow and in baby steps to build up. There is a lot of good info on food choices that are budget and health friendly. I will say by cutting refined sugars, my BPvis down, a little weight off and my GERD is much better. Almost non existent in fact.

            • My doctor had immediately told me to take medicine when my readings were high. I had asked her if I can first monitor my bp and control it with diet and exercise. She was pretty hesitant. My bp at the doctors was 116/92. She also told me that I was low in vitamin d and iron. I disregarded her recommendation because I wanted to see if o can fix this first in a natural way rather than immediately taking Meds. I am currently taking vitamin d supplements and have been increasing food that contains iron, such as beef, apples and cereal. I was afraid to eat too much food and cereal for a while because I thought my blood sugar will increase ( I had gestational diabetes) but recent blood work said my blood sugar is normal. I have also cut down on sugar, eat more potassium veggies and fruits and drink jasmine green tea and hibiscus tea every morning. I also try to exercise at least 30/40 mins every other day. I am still experimenting, but my bp has gone down to 121/81 -83. I have tried not drinking hibiscus tea for 1 weekend and I noticed my blood pressure went up. Hopefully with these changes my bp can be normal again.

  7. I used to have high blood pressure, I started taking bp meds when I was 20, when I became pregnant at 26 I was taken off. I recent lost 100lbs by following a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. I eat egg whites but don’t eat cheese but occasionally. I do taebo 4-5 times a week. Walking also when weather permits, which is never. Well my bp is now 100/55. Today it was 93/55. My heartrate resting is before average. To be honest it actually scared me at first because I get light headed alot. But I was certain it was from low sodium intake now I’m almost 100% sure its from not eating carbs, refined sugar and processed foods!

  8. I was diagnosed with hbp at the age of 12 and have been on medication ever since. I’ve never been overweight. I grew up eating fairly healthy but have become extremely healthy in the last four years after an endometriosis diagnosis. I don’t eat processed sugars. I eat organic/grassfed as much as possible. I’m gluten free. I take cod liver oil twice a day. I eat a lot of vegetables, beets included. I just can’t seem to get the root cause of my hbp. I would love to get off medication, as I’m trying to lead a completely natural lifestyle. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Nicole,

      I can imagine how frustrating it must be to take medication for high blood pressure from such a young age, especially from such a young age!

      In my opinion, some people just have higher blood pressure than others… and you’re probably not doing anything wrong at all. How high was your blood pressure when they started you on medication? Did you have any symptoms?

  9. My dictor put me on baby asprin, 1 per day, because i have diabetes 2 and hypertension.
    After reading about K2 I want to try it, particularly because it decalcifies arteries and the cascular system – but it seems it can’t be taken with a daily regime of baby asprin.
    Please advise.

    • I think that applies to Vitamin K1, which influences the clotting of the blood. Many doctors confuse the two, which have entirely different effects in the body. Personally, I can’t see why K2 would have any contra-indications in conjunction with a small dose of aspirin – after all, people taking a couple of aspirin for a headache won’t be put off doing so just because they supplement with K2 and Vit D3 combo.

  10. I had an appointment with a new Doctor; when I tried to explain to him that I like a more holistic approach and that I have MTHFR gene mutation, gave him the website: http://www.mthfr.net to explain the mthfr gene issue. He pulled it up, glanced at it and told me they just want my money! So he is not going to be my Doctor.
    Does anyone know if my Dad who is maxed out on Nitrate medication levels can add in beets to open his arteries? He has almost 100% blocked arteries but not a candidate for any procedure.

  11. Seriously it is an awesome information. very nice to read and great way to maintain a diet as well as controlling the blood pressure. in today’s trend blood pressure is the most common disease among all age group of peoples. thanks for this blog.

  12. I’m 26 years old and my blood pressure is around 134/80 to 140/90, which is making me worried. I will try this strategy and see how it goes.

    I stopped my high protein diet, heavy weight training (I switched to full body light weight training) and I do practice boxing.

    I’ll update you guys on how it goes.

    • I’m not sure you need to stop lifting heavy weights. Look into kettle bells. Pavel Tsatsouline or Valery Fedorenko are good names to start with in terms of resources to learn.

  13. i was diagnosed with high blood pressure 3 years ago and have not been able to control it. At work it would be 150/102 . I was on meds every day, excercised , am not over weight 5′ 7, 140 lbs) and nothing seemed to help. Four months ago I started a no refined sugar diet! Now my blood pressure at work is 102/82, the only change I made to my lifestyle is cutting out sugar. I am totally amazed and shocked. I still eat all my cheese, all the fruit I want, and veggies and meat. I do limit my carbs, and only eat whole wheat if I am going to have grains. I am shocked and elated at the difference this has made to my health. I highly recommend cutting out refined sugar! It has saved my life. I am hoping to be drug free soon.

  14. I’m SO fed up with this bp medicine nightmare. I WANT to try to eat the way this article says. Problem is, my medicines forbid the use of potassium and magnesium both. In fact, I’m supposed to avoid eating high potassium/magnesium foods. I was on Lisinopril for years. Now Cozaar (can’t take calcium channel blockers). HOW can I transition off of my med and to eating these foods?

    • First of all no one should ever take potassium supplements without a doctor telling you to do so because too much potassium can cause heart issues, etc. You would have to consume alot of potassium rich food to be excessive. Generally speaking you will not consume too much unless you go on quotes binge. Taking supplements tends to give you a much higher dosage at one time and isn’t recommended unless your potassium level is consistently low.

      I take Cozaar as well, but I don’t worry about eating potassium rich foods and I’ve never had a problem.

      On another note, I have cut my blood pressure medication dosage in half just by getting at least 7 hrs of sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep definitely takes a toll on your blood pressure.

    • I started eating low carb for weight loss. 30 grams or less/day. In 3 weeks I was off my B/P meds. Before Labs. B/P average 166/102, after 117/72, Trigylcerides 282, after 145. I continue to eat low carb. I have not lost any weight, but I have gone down one dress size in 6 months, but I am more energetic, my sleep is alot better, my skin looks great. I am now starting to play with portions. at 49 y/o,5’2″ and 195 I need to get the weight off, but at least I am no longer a stroke and heart attack waiting to happen

      • what do you eat daily Marley? I am looking for tips I took my blood pressure today and it was 180/115 &105pluse rate: I am only 5″2 &28 years old with a 3 year old so I need to get my stuff together and get healthy.. any tips are appreciated thanks

        • Jess, I have cut out refined sugar and have cut down on carbs. I have garlic, and cayenne pepper in a supplement. I have a large glass of beetroot juice and pomegranate juice daily. I take a fish oil supplement and another with COQ 10.

          One of the main things you need to do is regular exercise that raises your heart rate for at least 20 mins 4 or 5 times a week.

          I have also been doing single nostril breathing which I supposed to increase the nitric acid

          Hope that helps

  15. Thanks so much for this article. This is exactly the info I was looking for. A b.p. medicine is slowing me down and causing body aches. This will help a lot.

  16. nice meeting u friends on health issue, God bless each an every one of u, am a boy of 24yrs, i have being having issue on HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE that read 200\100+, i have being place on medication of which it seem not working. pls help me out to reduce it back to normal using natural medication.

    • Some other foods that can help if you take it on a daily or day after day basis:
      1. Raw Garlic. Chop a clove into small pieces and swallow with a glass of milk.
      2. Apple Cider Vinegar. Drink a tablespoon (mixed with water or any juice)
      3. Flax Seed. Eat a tablespoon.
      Good luck.

  17. I had BP 160/100 after doc put me in telmisartan 40mg no effect till for a month mu BP was 160/100 the dropped to 150/80 and till date same number. i am also taking statin bcoz my cholesterol 240mg/dl and trigly 172 and HDL 29 and LDL 180.

    Most of the time left arm numbness and chest tingling live with this for past 6 months. ECG normal. EKG normal.

    Any help friends

    • GEt yourself checked out for thorasic outlet syndrome. I had the same numbers and tingling and pain that you’re describing. And turned out To be a c6 nerve compression in the brachial plexus. You can test yourself. Just google it.

    • Easy and best way to bring down cholesterol is make a cup of plain tea, then add two table spoon of honey (good quality) and three teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Mix well and drink early in the morning for three days. You will see your cholesterol dropped significantly. You must cool your tea before you add the honey and cinnamon. Make sure cinnamon is not too much. Take small ice cream spoon to measure cinnamon. This really works. Your total cholesterol will be down soon. You should do it only for three days.

  18. I was scanned 142/95 yesday on my way to office just by chance when I stopped by a drug store to purchase some other medicines, I am 43 of age, 5/9 legnth and 83kg weight. I am greatly interested to lower it without medication and I would love the suggetions from senior members here to recommend me the natural products,only, available easily in Lahore, Pakistan. Just to tell you It ususally stayed between 85/130 and 90/145 since last 5 years but now I think its escalating. I hate typical Alopethic medication. I am not diabetic and I think I am having problem at night on bed, cant sleep. I also feel palpitaions. Which tests are to be undertaken. Anohter thing I would love to share here. Is there any correlation between Whether and these complications?
    I think this palpitation escalates in winter season as its winter now in my area.
    Another thing , any correlation between Tobacco Chewing Pans and Blood Pressure.

    • Ali, I’m following the Dean Ornish diet and it has brought down my blood pressure atleast 15 points. Its basically a vegan diet with low sugar & sodium. I do still eat fish though so I’m not truly a vegan

      • Ornish is okay. Some people do not like the fat restrictions but it’s by no means a death sentence.

        I am presently averaging 115/75 and am no longer on Lisinopril. Although I am not a part of the Ornish Programme, I have followed his dietary recommendations on my own. Rarely do I eat fish or processed foods but nothing is really “banned”, as far as I am concerned.

        Some things are worth sacrificing for. Normal blood pressure without drugs and a reasonably robust life are worth the sacrifice of self indulgence.

    • Yes, any type of tobacco use is definitely a risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease. Other factors include a lack of sleep, poor diet, caffeine use, and lack of regular cardiac exercise. You have to exercise at least 20 minutes at one time for it to count. Usually healthy habits lessen in the winter months, which could make it seem weather related.

  19. water fasting (just water, no food of any kind) for 7+ days will bring it down to normal without exception, healthy lifestyle thereafter will keep it down

  20. Please suggest:
    Cholesterol Level : current : 166
    TRIGLYCERIDE current : Level: 154
    HDL Level : 28
    LDL Calculated Level : 107
    Non HDL Chol. (LDL+VLDL) Level : 138
    Height : 5 feet 9 inch
    Weight : 152 lbs.
    Workout : 3 times a week.
    Diet : Indian naan and potatoes (on weekends).
    Weekdays : Eggs, chicken milk, oatmeal.

    What am i doing wrong and what should i do to improve my health?

  21. I am on Losartan/HCTZ blood pressure medicine. I am going to try low carb for blood pressure because I noticed when using low carb to lose weight it had a serious diuretic effect on me. I hate being slave to prescription medications and so this article will help me a lot.

    • I think I will try beet root or other beet products. I was thinking what had changed in my diet because I used to have excellent blood pressure readings. Now I am on bp meds and want to get off so going to try more potassium, magnesium supplements and drink more milk or eat more dairy products.
      Wish me luck!

  22. history of high BP in my family. i knew that and promptly became the thinnest and fittest in my family since forever, pushing 50, just went to ole doc and my bp was 170+/90+, obviously wanted me on BP MED. heck no. so i did some research..and found Cayenne pepper and Apple Cider Vinegar (mother version)! not kidding, on wed, i saw doc, by wed nite, i started taking 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper that nite, i also started taking ACV 2 table spoon that nite. then on thur, i took cayenne pepper 3 times as “prescribed” online, and took ACV 3 times as well, 2 times i took with 1/4 tsp of baking soda (takes away the acidity of ACV and keeps your body more alkaline)..long story short, by thur nite, my bp measured 3 different times were 130s/70s, this friday am it was in the 120s/70’s and as of this writing on friday nite, 126/75…i will go see doc next week..can’t wait to see the shock on his face.

    btw, when one have heart attack, what do they give you? cayenne pepper pills! this was an old wifes medication i found from this site below (no, i don’t own that site)..


    can’t hurt, i just bought it from albertsons, organic cayenne pepper for less than $4..lucky i like hot stuff.

    lucky i like hot stuff so now i will be carrying cayenne pepper with me everywhere..

  23. By getting my potassium up to over 4700 mg a day with food my blood pressure has dropped from it’s highest 160/100 to between 115/78 and 121/82. How many of us actually get this much potassium? You have to try HARD to get it but for me it is working when nothing else did and I’ve been trying to solve this problem for a couple of years. Thanks Laura!

      • Can I find Hibiscus tea in most grocery stores? I had ablation in Feb. not to drink green tea so they tell me reacts with a med I have to take .
        I have HBP too so am going to try a change. I love tea and fresh veggie. Due to blood thinner can’t use Kale or Dark Greens just yet. I don’t like taking meds.

    • During some tests (thru Lifeline) this past fall it was noted I had high blood pressure at 165/80…. I ignored it for a few months but decided to test it on my own recently for a week in the morning and it was consistently in the 160’s/80…. I scoured the internet and decided to try the following 1. Check my potassium intake (it was approx 1,500mg/day so I made a list of high potassium foods and increased to near 4,000. 2. Drink 8 oz of Pomegranate juice (2oz 4x a day to reduce any blood sugar spikes 3. Drink 3 glasses of hibiscus tea …..within 3 days my blood pressure was down to 140/80 and now 4 days later 127/75 WOW…… next up Co Q 10 which is recommended to be consume on a daily basis …. and then Hawthorne berries and finally cayenne but I’ll continue to monitor so the blood pressure doesn’t get too low….

      • Wait to go, Kirk! I’m doing a lot of the same. Already was on coQ10. Added hibiscus tea, cranberry juice, pom juice, bananas, potatoes, drinking more water, walking daily, meditating, trying to let stress roll off me. I’m getting results too, and have just begun. Important is to get excess weight off as high blood pressure is associated with weight gain.

  24. I changed my diet and don’t eat any processed foods with a few acceptions; salad dressing, ketsup, mustard. Don’t drink processed beverages. My BP dropped by 20 points in one week.

  25. Something that has helped me lower my blood pressure which I haven’t seen mentioned is Garlic Extract. My blood pressure was measuring around 145/80 but after taking garlic extract for a month it dropped down to 130/70. I have always worked out, so in thinking it is genetic. It also causes you to burn more fat during aerobic exercise.

  26. Very nice article..this gives me some new ideas.

    Something that has consistently seemed to work for me is supplementing with Pea Protein powder. I have seen studies that an enzyme of Pea Protein lowers blood pressure and it seemed to lower mine by about 10 points on the systolic when other things did not. I use the bulk powder available on amazon. I don’t like the taste much but is can easily be mixed with other things like yogurt to mask the taste.

  27. 15 years ago doc put mr on a Diuretic. Last week another doc put me on a SICKO BP med and said I must discontinue the Diuretic. I dropped the med, but never went back to the Diuretic. Suddenly I have an Over Active Bladder .. Is that doing the job of a diuretic, or should I return to the original Diuretic? Ask doc?….No, he’s had enough exercise reaching for the Rx pad!

  28. I had exemplary b.p. all my life, even when I was 40 lbs overweight. (my cholesterol was not so good–but b/p was always great) When I turned 65 yrs.old for some reason my b/p shot up. Go figure, since I’ve been consistently improving my activity and diet toward more natural, fresh, farm raised and organic with each passing year. (woo-hoo!)

    In reading about the benefits of potassium I set out to try an experiment. I added less then 1/8 tsp of Potassium Chloride powder (NOW FOODS) as well as a bit of cracked Himalayan pink salt (loaded w minerals) to a 1/2 glass of warm water every evening before bed.

    Well… it may not be the best tasting night cap I’ve ever had, but I not only sleep better AND my b/p is back to being
    purrrrfect = 117 / 72

    The thing about potassium (as w Vit. C) one has to work their way up to the appropriate dosage for you. Otherwise you will experience dreaded diarrhea. I believe Dr. Kresser states as much as 3 to 4 grams to alter b/p, but I only took 1/8 tsp (365 mg) and it brought my b/p down to normal within two days.

    It’s all about experimenting folks.

    • GoodStew, this gives me great hope. I’m 58 and have been trying to lower my BP for the past 2yrs thru eating healthier, exercise, cleanses, you name it I’ve done. And my HBP doesn’t budge. I’ve often thought of a potassium problem so I’m going to try your formula. I’ve been told by a holistic doctor to take 1/4 t Himalayan sea salt but I haven’t done it consistently. I’m going to now try it. Thank you.

  29. What the H*ll is “ghee” and “kefir”? I am 56 years old, a medical professional, and I have never heard of these food items. Also, the statement that fish oil supplements may actually contribute to cardiovascular issues is ridiculous. Perhpas one or two studies have suggested this (studies done on men in Whales?). Millions of people in America are taking fish oil supplements and you are suggesting that are contributing to cardiovascular issues. Crazy. Also, tea. Yes, tea is good, and can be good for you in my opinion. But here’s something to consider. My friend of 51 years, drank tea religiously almost her entire life. She lived a good clean life, eating well and drinking tea. Didn’t smoke. She just died of ovarian cancer. So, what is your suggestion here? Bottom line.. many disease are inherited. Hyptertension and cardiovascular disease is one of them. No mention in here of that. Why not, when it probably one of the most important contributors to these issues. Sometimes you fanatic natural nutritionists think you have all the answers, suggesting we consume your crazy, unrealistic foods (ghee and kefir) to cure us of our ailments, when the answers lie in our DNA.

    • If you don’t know what something is just google it. Ghee is clarified butter, and it’s yummy. Kefir is sold at most grocery stores near the milk, buttermilk, etc.? You need to get out more instead of cussing on the computer, lol. Someone asked me at work today whether they needed a visa to a certain country, and I found the answer in an instant by googling it. This is the age of knowlege, so you use it:)

    • I did change my diet, thats when my stage 1 of hypertension started. I have a nutri bullet drink of kale, banana, half a beet, half of a green apple, half of an avocado, Tbs of chia seed, Tbs of ceylon cinnamon and coconut water for breakfast 4 days a week. cut out bread and milk for the most part.???????????? also I took magnesium chloride for a week and started getting severely dizzy, had to stop taking it. This diet change of mine has been for about 7 months now. Go figure

    • Very late reply I know.
      You haven’t heard of ghee or kefir? Maybe go to a supermarket? You should find ghee with the other fats.
      High doses of fish oil can contribute to cardiovascular issues; as can high doses of any oil that turns rancid easily.
      Did your tea drinker friend eat a genuinely healthy diet or did she eat the sort of diet that most of the medical profession say is healthy?
      Very little disease is inherited! Having certain genes can predispose a person to an illness – it does not mean that they will get it.
      I’m not aware of any studies done on men in whales. I wouldn’t have thought that there would be many – the digestive juices would kill them if the whale chomping down on them didn’t. Not to mention lack of air.
      Man, that crazy ghee and kefir. Whoo.

    • Hi, I had terrible results from fish oil as I was having abnormal EKG’s and was even sent for a stress test. I stopped taking fish oil and the EKG’s went back to normal! My ND thought that the fish oil could have had heavy metals and or rancid. I was taking Iceland Health brand. Very expensive and supposed to be pure pharmaceutical grade. As far as my blood pressure, it’s gone up since I went off low carb and trying to go vegetarian again. I take it as a warning that the veg diet isn’t right for me.

      • I am seeing my bp go up now as I’ve been eating vegetarian . I need to do a Whole 30 again. It was the best I’ve ever felt in my life. I get scared of all the conflicting info. China Study, etc. I thought it would make a difference, but it appears to not be working too well for me. I think I need to go back to Paleo.

    • Being in a medical profession , one would think you have heard of epigenetics (aka gene expression). Genes simply predispose someone , but lifestyle factors can have the greatest impact on whether or not it will become a problem. We have more confidence control than we think. Our culture looks for quick fixes (meds) that only treat symptoms, but not underlying problem that caused the symptom. I trust these natural “quacks” more that big pharma any day. It’s always worth a try. It may not always work 100%, but it can certainly help get one healthier and perhaps reduce meds if not stop completely.

  30. One thing to consider when BP is difficult to control with diet, medicines, herbs is dislocation of the atlas (the top vertebrae that the head sits on. Studies by a chiropractic specialty found that when the atlas was adjusted some people were able to come off their meds. because their BP automatically dropped. People who have had whiplash injury or other similar types of injury to the cervical spine are at risk. I am one of those. After 10 years on calcium channel blockers I am weaning off them and the diuretics also. Google NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association for more information.

  31. I’ve been taking Fortzaar (Hydrochlorothiazide & Losartan potassium) until then my physician put me off it due to low blood sodium level. Currently I am taking Exforge (10mg amlodipine, 160mg valsartan), yet I couldn’t get good control on my blood pressure. Is there any risk factors that my physician had missed?

  32. Heat application also lowers BP – sometimes a lot so be care of fainting if you already tend toward low-normal BP (I do). This takes the form of sauna, steam, hottubs, heating pads, etc. heat causes the blood vessels to dilate which in turn lowers BP.

    If you try out the steam/sauna/hottub approach watch for headaches afterward. I have to supplement with salts to prevent a dehydration headache. Other than that, a great way to spend a day “chilling” at the hydrotherapy spa!

  33. My new doctor is recommending I try the paleo auto immune protocol for high blood pressure. Its really a spartan diet, very restrictive and I don’t want to do it if its not going to work 🙂 Any ideas?

      • As many questions as I asked I didn’t get a good answer there other than my low TSH and history of lichen planus. As far as why it would help with high blood pressure I don’t know.
        He is also having me reduce salt to see if I’m salt sensitive, that makes sense.

        I’m pretty skeptical of the auto immune approach but willing to try because the next step is ace inhibitor.

        I will miss my eggs, butter, and bulletproof decaf!!

      • Just because he is paleo friendly, doesn’t mean he is a good doctor 🙂 I’m just trying him out to get a second opinion and he is the only one in our area (chapel hill) that takes my insurance.

    • I know this is belated, but I am on the AIP diet and do not find it too restrictive. In fact, I have gained some needed weight since starting AIP.

  34. I tried an verbal supplement called Carditone by Ayesh Herbs that worked for several years. You can find it on Amazon along with reviews.

  35. I recently added a Potassium supplement and have been taking it daily. My blood pressure has been down over 20 points since adding this supplement to my daily diet. Check with your doctor first, and then if they approve, add potassium to your daily diet, too.

    • Also lecithin granules lowers blood pressure. Its works well for me too. I stopped taking it and my BP went up. I usually take 1 Tablespoon in my smoothie or yogurt and my blood pressure drops in a couple of days. Whole Foods sells it in granular form. I also have the capsules.

      • UPDATE:

        I bought an OMRON 3 Series BP monitor back in December. From the multiple readings I take each day it appears that I must be experiencing white-coat syndrome. The BP readings at the doctor’s office are typically 145/90, sometimes higher. At home, anything from 105/65 to 137/85 but normally in the low 120s over 70s. I’ve only had one reading of 140/90 in the 4 weeks I’ve been monitoring my BP. I stopped taking the beet root juice and the BP readings are still good. I don’t drink pomegranate juice as often as I used to. I continue to take CoQ10 (120mg/day) and fish oil (3g/day) and my diet is still high potassium/low sodium. I also drink hawthorn tea every day. Recently I’ve added hibiscus tea to my herbal tea list. I try to keep caffeine to an absolute minimum. BTW, I saw my doctor 3 weeks ago and showed him a list of my BP readings. One thing I’ve taken away from monitoring my BP at home is how meaningless an occasional BP reading at the doctor’s office really is. BP changes constantly, minute by minute. Case in point: I took three readings, 2 minutes apart and they were 132/80, 127/74 and 125/75. Typically, my first reading is the highest. As I relax more the BP comes down. I’m never relaxed at the doctor’s office when he is measuring my BP. I think this has put an end to the BP-lowering meds discussion.

        p.s. This morning my BP reading was 123/68. Following a brief (5-6 minute) relaxation break my BP was 105/70.

  36. I began a regimen of magnesium, potassium, and hawthorn berry extract a year ago, and my (genetic) blood pressure is back down well within normal ranges. I am slim, calm, and healthy….but my family members all have high blood pressure, and so did I. Much better now, and a big load off my mind.

    • Thats good news Maggie! I’ve been doing mag and hawthorn, just added in some potassium can you give me what your bp was and what it is now and the exact amounts of the supplements you are taking?


  37. I was told by a holistic physician that blood pressure, contrary to allopathic views, is primarily regulated in the kidneys. So it may not be a bad idea for those with recalcitrant BP numbers to have your kidney checked for potential issues.

    Niacin might be another vitamin people should consider for hypertension. It’s a vasodilator and can also help to raise HDL levels. I take nicotinic acid form at 150 mg 3 times daily (I buy it bulk and make my own capsules), though many take as much as 3 grams without issue. Flushing is the only side effect and is harmless. Niacinomide is the flush free form.

    • Good point and I was wondering the same thing but I don’t seem to have any kidney issues and results from blood work and urine analysis don’t seem to point to kidney related issues either. Like Ben, I seem to be doing everything right. My doctor told me it was likely factors that are out of my control (genetics, luck of the draw). Haven’t tried niacin (or nicotinic acid) but I do have a cup of beet root juice which is also a vasodilator. Not sure taking both would be wise. It would come down to which one is better. That, I don’t know.

      • I been taking niacin and 8 oz beet juice daily for 3 years without a problem. But do your own research and do what you think is best of course.

        • I’d like to ask my doctor about Niacin but given his opinion that natural methods are only marginally effective I could be talking to a brick wall. How long was it using the niacin/beet juice therapy did you see results? Prior to taking beet root juice along with a high potassium/low sodium diet my BP was around 155-160/90+. It has stabilized at 145/90.

          • It’s hard for me to attribute the lowering of my BP to normal levels to just two supplements and herbs, since I take so many and have made changes in my diet as well. But when my beet juice and niacin regimen was interrupted for a month (due to an shipping error), I did see a rise. It took about two months before I started to see my number go back down.

            Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Andrew Saul book, “Niacin The Real Story” , explains in detail the safety and wide range of diseases that can be cured by niacin supplementation. http://www.doctoryourself.com/

            • That’s a great book, and got me on to niacin, although not for hypertension.

              Actually, Hoffer did not claim that niacin helps HPB, even though it’s a vasodilator.

              However, it has so many benefits and no real side effect apart from the flush (which wears off for most of us after a while) that there is almost no reason not to take it. Similarly vitamin C, which Hoffer also used to give, along with niacin.

          • I got myself a BP monitor so I can check my BP anytime I want. At the doctors office it is always elevated somewhat. I’ve had readings of 142/84, 123/77 and 130/80. I will take the monitor to my next visit with my doctor so I can compare it with his cuff. If it is working properly then it appears that my diet and supplements are working. I certainly won’t take meds for a modestly high BP. The only thing I haven’t tried is stress/tension reduction. I tend to be a bit highly strung like my mother so I’m sure this could be quite beneficial to someone like me. It could be the last piece of the puzzle to keeping my BP near normal.

            p.s. The 123/77 reading came after watching some Family Guy videos on YouTube, leading me to believe that I just need to relax and laugh more. ;o)

    • As an allopathic, primary care physician, I know I speak for most of us in that we know the kidneys play a crucial part in, amongst many other things, BP control. That is why nephrologists are hypertension specialists. Without getting to deep into it as I have patients to see soon I’ve always felt you need a balance of western and CAM (complementary and alternative medicine). Fortunately, some of you have been helped with CAM. Unfortunately, some of you sound like you need to see a physician and have him/her take a good history and physical and get some labs checked. A fine example is one of my patients who eventually was diagnosed with mesenteric occlusive disease(narrowing due to plaque buildup) as a cause for her uncontrollable HTN. Occasionally, I hear an abnormal rhythm or murmur with my stethoscope and eventually find out some patients have atrial fibrillation (a nice risk factor for stroke) or significant heart valve disease requiring intervention. So please do not underestimate your need to be evaluated by a physician. And, yes, there are many of us allopathic physicians who do NOT like prescribing pills just to treat a symptom when all it might be is a magnesium deficiency or, as in the case above, require significant surgical intervention.

      • Thank you setting the record straight. I’ve never had my kidneys checked while being treated for hypertension from allopathic physicians. Now I know to seek out a nephrologist, which is especially helpful because my insurance will cover this.

  38. Hi a bit concerned in regards of potassium. Most products i can find in the UK are around the 99mg mark in various forms(aspartate, gluconate, chelate and so on….)
    that would mean i ve to down a bottle every 3 days eg 30 pills to get the 4000mg benchmark as promoted here

    • Where I live in Canada you can only find the low dosage potassium supplements on the shelf. They keep the higher dose stuff in behind the counter. I had to ask the pharmacist. I mostly get my potassium from food though and I get around 5000mg per day. My supplement is 600mg/capsule.

        • To tell you the truth, I didn’t start noticing any real change in my BP until I added beet root juice. I recently added CoQ10 so with all these things being applied simultaneously its would be hard to attribute success to any one factor. Having said that I believe the juice is helping and I will continue to keep my daily potassium intake around 5000mg. I’m going to purchase a BP monitor as well. It will allow me to track my BP throughout the day, at home (which is the most relaxed environment for me). I’m curious to see how my BP changes a few hours after having had a cup of beet juice.

  39. Hi Chris,

    I signed up for your High Cholesterol Action Plan and Paleo Code. I also read your 9 steps to Perfect Health – followed up with reading Body by Science and introducing High Intensity Exercise once a week, as well as meditation using the ‘Who am I’ approach. I incorporated all of the 5 steps you list above as a part of program. Using all of the above, and also using the Perfect Health Diet Guidelines as a structure I lowered my Blood Pressure from 157 over 80 to 120 over 75, as well as getting cholesterol right and at rest heart rate down to low 60s. I lost 12 kilos (26 lbs) along the way.

    I am grateful to you, Chris Masterjohn, and Paul & Shou-Ching Shih Jaminet and others in the Paleo Community for the excellent research and writing you do.

    Cheers, Adrian

      • No Marina, but what got me moving was the doctor’s pressure to go on BP and Cholesterol drugs. They also wanted to take out my gallbladder but I did 6 gallbladder flushes over 5 months until no gallstones were coming out any more.

        • I’ve done two GB flushes 2nd one 6 mos later. One of the best cleanses. It was amazing. The 2nd one proved the 1st one was pretty successful. I’ll do them yearly. Great that you healed yourself. I can’t wait til I’ve handled my HBP. When I take my meds I feel like I’m poisoning myself, which I am. I take the med with disgust. I’ll follow your protocol after I’ve completed another course I’m taking (The Whole Journey w/Christa Orecchio) she’s excellent. I’m so happy to have found Chris Kresser. My chol a little high but I’ve ditched those meds long ago when the myth was debunked. I’ll be taking Chris’ chol course soon.

          Yours in health

  40. What is your opinion on a high systolic, low diastolic, low HR profile in an endurance athlete?
    My Omron usually measures around 135/70 with the HR being around 40-44. I run 5x a week and am in pretty good shape otherwise (under 3h Marathons). I eat paleo with safe carbs (potatoes, white rice, etc.) due to the running.
    Should I consider taking BP meds?

    • Steve,

      I wish my BP was just 135/70! My BP was around 155/90+, sometimes approaching 160/95 until I started drinking beet root juice and pomegranate juice, 1 cup of each per day. My BP seems to be a stable 145/90 now. Not great but 10 points lower, which in your case would bring it to an ideal range. But this is just assumption on my part based upon results I’ve seen with myself. If I were you, I’d try any and all natural methods before going with meds. One other thing, my sodium intake is generally below 1500mg per day even though I’m not sold on the concept of sodium as a cause of high BP. It wasn’t the cause in my case. Also, my potassium intake is upwards of 4000mg per day, often exceeding 5000mg.

      • Might be worth looking at magnesium then. Transdermal (e.g. in the bath, as footsoak, or “oil” spray) is a useful alternative to oral supplements.

        Some say that magnesium is the “king” among the ( Mg, Ca, K and Na) group. It’s obviously a question of balance, but unless there is sufficient Mg, then balancing the rest is harder.

  41. thanks. Laura

    some anecdotes: a colleagues of my said that Pu-erh + chrysasamon tea helped his blood pressure.
    another swears by magnesium foot bath (not surprising)


  42. Anyone have any success using CoQ10 to lower BP? I’m considering a dosage of 120mg/day to help lower my BP. I also drink a cup of beet root juice each day as it is a vasodilator.

  43. If you have tried everything and yet are still having trouble lowering their Bp, I would suggest considering the fact that electromagnetic pollution in your environment can cause hypertension, not to mention innumerable other degenerative diseases. Smart meters, power lines, electrical appliances and even electrical outlets throughout your home are sources of damaging radio and magnetic fields that can cause you continual harm. I’ve found that Stetzerizer filters can block one significant source of emf found in every home at the electrial outlets. http://www.stetzerizer-us.com/

    Earthing mats are reputed to help to lower BP as electrons gained from the earth can increase the zeta potential of you red blood cells, causing them to repel from one another. This makes your blood less viscous and promotes profusion. http://www.earthing.com/

    • I found that radio frequency electromagnetic signals were the primary factor causing my high blood pressure. When it finally dawned on me that that might be a big factor I ditched my DECT phone and turned off the wireless on my router (changed to wired connections). Within just a few days my blood pressure dropped 25 points and after a few more weeks it was down to 118. Then, after getting an earthing sheet for my bed, my BP was back to 110, which was my normal for most of my adult life.

  44. I was able to get off all my BP meds after seeing a shrink for 1 year. My high BP was due to a specific, and hopefully uncommon, situation of extremely dysfunctional family. My excessive intake of alcohol in an effort to drown out problems was also surely a contributor. If you happen to be in a similar situation, I recommend seeking out a PhD psychologist trained in EMDR.

  45. Here are things that have helped lower my blood pressure (which was consistently around 160/100 when I was 27 and skinny).

    Coconut oil – it was when I started taking 3 Tbsp. a day that I was able to get off the BP meds that my doc had put me on, which he said I’d be on for life. I don’t still supplement with it, just use it with food.

    Ubiquinol – My Metametrix Organic Acids profile showed that I really needed CoQ10. I found that once I started supplementing with 100 mgs of Ubiquinol twice a day, my blood pressure dropped.

    Liquid Chlorophyll – I began taking this because it functions as an internal deodorant and was surprised to find my BP readings dropped considerably after a couple of weeks.

    I also tend to agree with Ben as to what is considered high. I think I naturally run a little higher, but I know that my heart is in good shape. My cholesterol is stellar with really high HDL, and my resting heart rate is around 51. I had a nurse ask me if I was a runner, because such a low resting heart rate is usually only seen in athletes. I told her no, sometimes I walk the dog and that’s about it. 🙂 I credit it to all of the saturated fat I eat, and probably the Ubiquinol as well.

    And if Mr. Paleo is right, and I only have to be concerned by what my bp reading would be after lying in a quiet, darkened room for 10 minutes, then I don’t have to worry about my bp at all. It’s always low after acupuncture, which pretty much mimics the above situation!

  46. Dear Chris
    As always, very clear guidelines, thank you. However, I have not found that this has been sufficient to help my dad. He is 80, still plays tennis twice a week and mom makes sure he eats really healthy. They are eating very healthy, following ancestral health guidelines (yes to beets, grassfed dairy (they live in Switzerland), lots of fish, veggies, fruits) and while mom has stopped eating grain products, dad still eats bread and pastries on a weekly basis. Despite taking blood pressure meds he has wildly fluctuating levels from over 190/110 to low 60/45(!). Could the occasional indulgence in pastries and bread really be the thing that makes it necessary for him to take the meds? And is it possible that the off-gluten days cause his blood pressure to drop so much?

  47. I lost 40 lbs but my blood pressure didn’t change – in fact at times it was higher than ever. Then I read about a discovery that was made by NUCCA chiropractors. People who had a history of neck trauma, e.g.whiplash, and misalignment of their atlas [vertabra] often were able to go off HTN medication after corrective alignment. Mine is still unstable but since I’ve had nUCCA therapy my blood pressure is normal while on anti-hypertensive medication.

  48. Laura, you stated: “Much like high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure (even in the prehypertension stage) is a sure sign of other problems going on in the body.”

    Chris doesn’t appear to agree about the ‘high cholesterol’ part. Indeed, he had a previous post and podcast about “I have high cholesterol and I don’t care.”

    • Depends on what you call “high” cholesterol. I’d say if someone’s cholesterol was above 300, that’s a sign that there’s an underlying health issue. That’s why Chris developed his High Cholesterol Action Plan – some high cholesterol is pathological.

      • So, as Chris Masterjohn has said, with a total chol of over 250 you might start taking notice and looking at things like thyroid, is there a blood pressure range like that? Obviously 250 is above conventional medicine guidelines for cholesterol. Dr Tom Cowan talks about the old rule of 100 + age = systolic over 90, but that is in an article from 2002 or something.


        • Ben & Laura,

          In Canada, and likely in the USA as well, the upper level for normal is 200mg/dl (5.20mmol/L in Canada). I took action when my cholesterol hit 236mg/dl (6.12mmol/L). I was recently diagnosed with high BP so with that additional risk factor my doctor wants my cholesterol levels to come down from my present reading of 198mg/dl). He specifically told me my LDL-C had to be reduced from its current 113mg/dl (2.94mmol/L) to below 80mg/dl (2.0mmol/L). The numbers you folks are tossing around are insane! My numbers are considered high-normal range and still my doctor wanted to put me on a statin. I told him to lay off with the medications until I tried the dietary approach. I managed to bring my TC down from 236 to 185 several years ago on a semi-vegetarian diet. I strayed from that diet and my cholesterol rebounded a bit to its current 198 but I have been on a VLF vegetarian diet (no oils) for a few weeks now to meet the new target levels that my doctor (strongly) suggested. This VLF diet is much stricter than the semi-veg diet I was referring to.

          • Oh yes, the upper limit in medicine in the US is 200 mg/dL before most doctors will try to treat. However, there’s lots of evidence that cholesterol levels in healthy traditional populations range from around 150 mg/dl to 250 mg/dl depending on age and gender.

            Also, total cholesterol is generally a poor predictor of cardiovascular risk without knowing other numbers. A better predictor is LDL particle number or the HDL to triglycerides ratio.

            • Right, so my particle number is low my ratio is like 3.2 (low risk) hdl 89 tris 17 and ldl 186.
              That ldl number would scare a lot of doctors and it puts me over 250 total. So I have suspicion that my t3/rt3 ratio of 14 is too low and possibly the cause of the ldl not clearing, but that is just a hunch. I’ve added back starches in hopes that it will help. I don’t care to get much lower than 250 though.

              • sorry, total to hdl is 3.2 and hdl to tris is .19, it would take A LOT for me to go on a statin though I’m considering a low dose bp medicine till I can figure out how to get it down naturally.

            • I’ve no idea what my LDL is large or dense. That test is almost never done. I mentioned it to my doctor but he felt the main concern is lowering my LDL-C and not to worry abut particle size. I’m still curious. I’d like to know if I have mostly A or B type particles.

              I had an EKG done in August and the was a comment that basically said that I may have had a possible inferior (mild) myocardial infarction at some point in the past. I followed that up with a positive stress test, which is not what you want.

              Since I neither smoke nor get chest pains (at rest nor exercising) my doctor had me go through a nuclear stress test, where they inject a tracer into your bloodstream and have you go 12 minutes on the treadmill. The technician administering the test didn’t see anything troubling from the EKG during the test. I still have to await the heart scans taken during the test. The scans will indicate problem areas where blood flow is compromised. This test was also done to see if the previous stress test was merely a false positive.

              This is why my doctor wants my LDL-C under 80mg/dl. He also wanted to put me on a statin and a BP lowering med as well. I’m currently on neither.

      • Laura, what is your general opinion of this (I got it from the online calculator)
        Obviously the calculator doesn’t like some of these numbers! :>)

        Your Total Cholesterol of 280 is HIGH RISK
        Your LDL of 186 is HIGH RISK
        Your HDL of 87 is OPTIMAL
        Your Triglyceride level of 32 is OPTIMAL


        Your Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio is: 3.22 – (preferably under 5.0, ideally under 3.5) IDEAL
        Your HDL/LDL ratio is: 0.468 – (preferably over 0.3, ideally over 0.4) IDEAL
        Your triglycerides/HDL ratio is: 0.402 – (preferably under 4, ideally under 2) IDEAL


    “Blood pressure”, per se, is actually misleading… MANY factors affect your “blood pressure”….
    In order to have an actual, MEANINGFUL, repetitive “resting” test session using a sphygmomanometer (pronounced sfig’-mo-ma-nom-e-ter), one needs to do ALL of the following:
    1) be in a resting state, for at LEAST 10 minutes,
    2) in a darkened room
    3) lying down
    4) with no conversation
    5) and no other stimulation
    Now, how many of you have had this EXACT situation as specified, EVER happen in a doctor’s office? I’m betting, close to ZERO… and therein lies part of the problem… ALL of these factors affect the outcome of this testing… as well as others, such as time of day (biorhythms), when you ate last, what you ate, medications, supplements, etc.

    BP really is not NEARLY as accurate a “diagnosis” as most think…

    • This is quite true–my doctor has us sitting upright in chairs with no arms, so we have to hold our arms out while the machine runs! Good thing we also have our own portable cuffs at home!

    • I would add a 6th item: have your blood pressure taken by yourself or your spouse, instead of a doctor or nurse; you may avoid the common ‘white-coat hypertension’ effect. It’s one that many physicians know about & account for.

  50. Sometimes blood pressure issues are beyond diet/exercise changes. I changed my diet, exercised and lost 40 pounds and my blood pressure barely moved. I exercise and I’m still having issues. My pressure has barely budged. I went from three to two BP meds and that felt like a leap for me. Not giving up yet though.

  51. I’ve tried most of the things on this list, Chris. When I went low carb grain free, I noticed an immediate drop in my BP from about 145/95 to 140/85 ish, even before I lost 30 pounds. However, now that I’m about 10 pounds from my goal weight, which will net me a body fat of about 21%, I still have to take the lowest dose of triamtrerene (diuretic) because despite all these measures of low carb and lots of exercise, my unmedicated BP is about 140/90. Currently with the diuretic it’s 120/75. My doctor doesn’t have an answer as to why I have elevated BP, he says it’s “genetic” maybe. I think it may be elevated insulin, which is above normal despite very high fat low carb diet and exercise. Therefore, I can’t be sucking down potatoes and sweet potatoes on a regular basis for the potassium. What are some low carb sources?

    • Also, I’m in great shape and have eaten quite well for over a decade, I think in my case my mild hypertension is genetic and “hopefully” controllable through natural means. I think we also have to rethink a bit about what “high” is. high is getting lower and lower just like cholesterol, could this be to generate more drug sales perhaps?

      • Couldn’t agree more Ben – I too have wondered if the blood pressure barrier is getting lower. I don’t trust the medical profession as they are so tightly connected to the drug companies.

        I also read recently that lowering high cholesterol is dangerous. Cholesterol rises to cope with the amount of toxins in the body so if it is artificially lowered the body isn’t getting rid of its toxic overload. Interesting thought !!

    • Ben
      Like you also have an issue with mine and eat low carb and do everything as suggested here to no avail. At home Im around 123-128/80…..but through nerves easily raise it like in a docs office to 155/85.
      Im starting a l-arginine/citrulline formula today as well.

      • I have heard that L-arginine can cause blood pressure to rise, so I’d be measuring very regularly, let us know how it goes! It may be that while stacked with L-citrulline it won’t have that effect

    • You sound like me Ben. Tried so many things. Currently using beet root juice and CoQ10 on a sodium reduced/potassium rich diet. Like you I am normal weight and I get exercise daily and have only had modest success.

      • Yes rob, I identify with you for sure. I’m 44 and train with a circus handbalancer 🙂 I started to notice slight elevation in my 30’s, which is the time that my dad went on meds who didn’t eat paleo but was very active and “in shape”. I’m trying to win a genetic battle and its hard.

        I’m taking hawthorne and rhodiola (among other things) and have an appointment set up with an MD that thinks like us, trouble is he’s backed up till march. I also know that Dr. Tom Cowan takes phone appointments and am considering that option.

        With deep breathing I can get my systolic down sometimes 20 points, diastolic goes down maybe 5 points.

    • Your case sounds really difficult, but I was wondering if you’ve actually gone through your diet to see what nutrients you may be not getting enough of, or had genetic testing to see if you have polymorphisms that make you susceptible to nutrient deficiencies due to bad recycling or bad absorption? If you’re really trying to avoid meds, I think it’s definitely worth a shot.

      I’ve always eaten a WAP style diet, and also ended up with health problems in my 20s anyways, and it wasn’t until I really focused on nutrient density, particularly B vitamins from organ meats like kidney, and also dairy, that I started to regain my health. Apparently B vitamins other than folate are difficult to absorb from plant sources, so if you do a dietary analysis, it will seem like you’re getting enough, but it will actually be a huge overestimate.

      Some people have very high nutrient needs due to genetics. Personally, I need to get over the RDA of vitamin B2 and zinc everyday.

      • So I do really well with my diet as far as micronutrients organ meats and oysters, shellfish, you name it. That said, its possible I have some deficiency, It hasn’t shown up on tests yet, but I’m waiting for an appointment to do comprehensive testing

  52. My “come to jesus” moment was when I visited a doctor (for the first time in many years), and he commented “you realize you’re on your way for a cardiac event in the next few years with that 170/110 blood pressure of yours”. Egad. Almost immediately went on LCHF (ketogenic) diet, and 6 months later, I was measured at 110/70 after losing over 45 pounds.

    • Excellent news Randal. I’ve been trying to get off meds for quite some time and need a more aggressive approach. I should try your protocol.

    • Significant weight loss will reduce BP as you have described but in my case I have no weight to lose. I mean, I suppose I could lose 5lbs but that would be my limit and that is not going to affect my BP in any significant way, if at all. Many cases of high BP cannot be drastically reduced by natural means. I’ve tried them and they have limited success in my particular case. My diet is good, my weight is very good, I exercise daily and I don’t use salt on my food. My doctor told me it was age/genetics. Being 58 years old and knowing full well that there are many cultures where a person’s BP does not rise with age, I did not easily accept that explanation. The next time I see my doctor he is going to prescribe meds. Not happy about that.

        • The beet root juice is high in sugar but it has contributed to lowering my BP. I drink 1 cup each day. I eat potatoes since they are a goldmine for potassium. My daily potassium intake is upwards of 5000mg. I also drink pomegranate juice (1 cup/day) which has cardiovascular benefits.

  53. I’m a bit confused about the difference between vitamins K1 and K2.

    I am taking a blood thinner (phenprocoumon) due to a pulmonary embolism a few years ago and the drug is described as a “vitamin K antagonist”. Is this referring to K1, K2 or both?

    I believe K1 is the only K that has anything to do with blood clotting but if K2 is being taken down as well by the phenprocoumon should I supplement with K2 to bring it back up to acceptable levels?

  54. Do you think that it is a good idea to supplement with potassium (citrate, gluconate) to achieve the recommended dosage of 4.7grams?

  55. Thanks for these suggestions on lowering blood pressure. I have been able to get mine down somewhat by losing weight and will try some of these ideas. Mostly it is my systolic that gets out of wack by 10, 20 or even 30 extra points. It doesn’t seem consistent at all and can jump up and down (from hour to hour or day to day) and seems somewhat erratic to me.

    • As a Practice Nurse, I agree that people need to have this information and then they need to be self motivated towards changing their lifestyle for any benifits to happen. The Dr has to address the problem as it presents and offer medication or the Dr would be found negligent by a particular group of discerning clients.

      • Thanks Laura, Both articles are very good and give lots of clarity. I was wondering. Can you over do it with choline. I have been eating three eggs most days and also supplementing 500mg of choline. I have bone broth most days as well – for the glycine.

      • How would you suggest that a person dealing with hypertension resolve the ‘Eat more beets’ advice with your first point ‘Reduce excessive carbohydrate intake, especially refined carbs and sugars’?
        I understand it is about replacing one type of carbohydrate with another – but could you expand on how the person should navigate that approach?

        • Well, a whole cup of cooked beets only has about 12 grams of carbohydrate, so even though they’re higher carb veggies in comparison, I doubt anyone can eat enough of them to cause the high blood sugar caused by excessive amounts of refined grains and sugars. Also, beet kvass is low in sugar because the bacteria ferment most of the sugar in the liquid by the time you drink it. However, I really don’t think eating reasonable amounts of beets should be a problem for someone getting less than 30% of their calories from carbs.

          • The problem is that the studies that were done used beet root juice, not the actual beet. Eating them doesn’t have the same effect, which is why I drink the juice. Yes, it is high in sugar so you probably don’t want to drink it on an empty stomach. If you’re really concerned about sugar then try CoQ10, fish oil (high dose) and Hawthorn. I’m using these as well.

            • Rob,

              I take Green Pastures CLO but my dosage is 2 in the am and 2 of the skate in the evening. What is considered “high dose” for HBP? I know some folks take as high as 8-9 caps for certain conditions. That can get pricey with GP CLO.

              • I’m taking fish oil softgels that provides 900mg of omega-3 fatty acids per capsule. The breakdown is EPA : 600mg, DHA: 300mg. I take 3 a day, which provides 1.8g of omega-3 per day. I also eat salmon and sardines 3-4 times per week and I also take 2 tbsp. of flax meal, which provides 4.5g of omega-3. The flax is not the best source. Fish oil is superior. I plan to buy another brand of fish oil that provides 2.4g of omega-3 per serving. Each serving provides 1,600mg of EPA and 800mg of DHA. The recommended dosage is two servings. That would mean 4.8g of omega-3 per day. The primary reason I’m taking this is to combat inflammation. It is also a blood thinner and has an effect on your BP as well. People wanting to take fish oil need to know this if they are currently on blood thinners. It supposedly has other benefits as well. The fish oil I currently use and the one I plan to buy in future are both molecularly distilled, which means toxins such as mercury are removed. This is important if you plan on taking large amounts on a regular basis.

      • What if i have problems of kidney stones in past and right now i am having blood presure of 130/95 from past 4 weeks ??

    • beet kvass, beet juice, or cooked beets are great, as I understand they are high in nitrates which cause more nitric oxide in the blood which lowers blood pressure.

      • The juice is more effective than eating the beets because it is more concentrated. The nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator so anything that dilates your blood vessels will reduce the BP. I buy organic beet root juice from Biotta.

    • Unfortunately, beet juice is also very high in sugar. About 28 grams of sugar in 8 ounces. If you’re concerned about diabetes, must be careful with beet juice.

    • Beets are high in oxylates similar to spinach which is why they should be eaten raw not cooked. There are many vegetables that contain these but don’t harm you if they are not cooked. Beets also have similar chenical makeup as human blood. Beets are extremely healing because they cleanse your blood and have been used in many natural protocals to heal someone from late stage cancers. Check out Conquering Any Disease by Jeff Primack and there are many other sources where I got this info.

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