Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood flow through your arteries. It’s important to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range, because high blood pressure can lead to many medical problems, including heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition where the blood pressure levels are above 130/80 mmHg.
The good news is that you can lower your blood pressure naturally and avoid medications if you try holistic approaches like biofeedback, dietary changes, breathing techniques, and supplementation.
In this article, we’ll discuss how these methods work and what they entail, so that you can start lowering your blood pressure today.
Medication is a popular treatment for high blood pressure because it’s so effective and easy to access. However, there are some downsides to medication that you should know about.
Medications can have side effects and sometimes come with risks. For example, beta-blockers lower your heart rate, which may cause dizziness or fatigue. Some people also report sexual dysfunction when taking these drugs.
They can also be expensive if you don’t have health insurance (or even if you do). Since most medications for hypertension are still patent-protected, the cost of them is likely to stay high until these patents expire.
There’s also the possibility that medications won’t work well enough or at all for some people, so you may have to try several before finding one that works well enough for your needs without causing unpleasant side effects.
2. Biofeedback Therapy
If you are looking to reduce your blood pressure without medication or invasive surgery, biofeedback is a great option and a holistic approach to lowering blood pressure that helps you to control it naturally.
A 2003 study in the Journal of Hypertension Research found that biofeedback was more effective in lowering high blood pressure in patients than the “no intervention” control group.1
Biofeedback therapy relies on specialized sensors that are attached to the body that measure a variety of physiological functions, such as breathing rate, heart rate, and muscle activity.
Most often, it will involve working with a therapist who will coach you through small changes in posture, breathing, muscle tension, or focus by a trained biofeedback practitioner. Alternatively, you may use a biofeedback device.
The role of the therapist is to help you interpret how your body responds to different techniques and changes, allowing you to see your blood pressure in real time and giving you an understanding of how different things affect it—such as stress levels, body tension, or other variables.
Biofeedback is a safe, effective, non-invasive way for people with high blood pressure who are searching for natural alternatives to medication or surgery.
2. The Resperate Biofeedback Device
Because not everyone has access to biofeedback therapists in their region, the U.S. FDA approved the first biofeedback device, Resperate, in 2000. Resperate is a portable electronic device that facilitates interactively guided and monitored breathing exercises, in order to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Resperate uses chest sensors to measure a user’s breathing. It then sends real-time data to a small device being worn on a belt. This device uses that data it receives to create a unique melody the can person listen to in order to synchronize their breathing. The melody is designed to help the user slow their breathing and focus on long exhalations.
The company describes Resperate as a “medical device that uses patented melody-guided breathing technology to relax constricted blood vessels and lower blood pressure.”
3. The Zona Plus Biofeedback System
Because more and more people are wanting to take control of their health, in-home biofeedback systems have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Thus, another widely used in-home biofeedback system is the Zona Plus.
The Zona Plus device is a small, handheld biofeedback and isometric exercise system.2 It calibrates unique exercises for each user based on their individual body type and guides the user to proper grip strength tension, prompting two minutes of continuous gripping on both hands.
Zona Plus sessions are performed five times a week and are based on using isometric exercise to improve cardiovascular health and nitric oxide production.
I can tell that you from personal experience that among biohackers (of which I would consider myself one), the Zona Plus is extremely popular. Perhaps this is because Dave Asprey, the “Father of Biohacking” brought this brand to visibility by featuring it on his podcast and blog.
At present, the Zona Plus is not FDA approved.
4. Increasing Nitric Oxide
Oxidative stress is the result of free radicals that cause damage to your body’s cells and tissues. When there is too much oxidative stress in the body, it can lead to hypertension, or high blood pressure, which can lead to many other medical issues.
One way to combat this problem is by supplementing with nitric oxide (NO), which can lower blood pressure and oxidative stress.3,4 NO is a gas that’s produced by our bodies to relax blood vessels and improve circulation. It’s also known as an “endothelium-derived relaxing factor.”
It’s important to keep your NO levels in check because they can help lower blood pressure and oxidative stress.
There are many ways to increase NO, including diet. The best sources of nitrate, the NO precursor, are leafy greens such as spinach or lettuce and other vegetables like beets or celery.
Another to increase NO is through exercise. When you exercise or otherwise put stress on your muscles, those cells produce more NO, which helps relax your blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
If you want to go the direct route (and have consulted with your doctor), you can also purchase NO supplements. This leads us onto the next topic below.
Supplements can be beneficial, but not all supplements are created equal. It’s important to know what you’re taking, and how it might affect your body and health. Some common supplements that can help lower blood pressure include omega 3s (omega-3 fatty acids), vitamin D, and magnesium.
The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA/DHA can help with lowering high blood pressure. We can obtain omega-3s from cold water fish, like salmon or krill.
Our bodies make vitamin D on their own when we expose them to sunlight. However, if you live in an area where there is little sunlight year-round then you may need a supplement to ensure that your body has enough vitamin D stored up for the winter months when we don’t get any natural light exposure at all.
Magnesium plays a key role in regulating blood pressure and maintaining healthy blood vessel function. It also helps prevent the buildup of plaque on the walls of blood vessels, which can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). High levels of magnesium have been associated with lower rates of heart attack and stroke.
If you have high blood pressure or want to prevent it, try adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet. You can also take a magnesium supplement which will help lower your blood pressure.
Here are some magnesium supplements that you can add to your diet:
- Magnesium, Bulletproof.com, from $16.99
- BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough, Bioptimizers.com, from $19.80
- Nature’s Bounty Magnesium, naturesbounty.com, from $24.05
6. Reducing Sugar Intake and Nutritional Changes
One of the easiest ways to start lowering your blood pressure today is to make small dietary changes. For example, you can reduce your sugar intake. The sugar contained in food, or added by us to our recipes, increases blood pressure and triglycerides.
Consuming too many simple carbohydrates like refined sugars and processed grains can also increase inflammation, which is a risk factor for hypertension. Modifying your diet by eating more fruits and vegetables and avoiding excess salt intake can also provide important nutrients and minerals that can aid in decreasing blood pressure.
Beets are high in nitrates, magnesium, potassium, and calcium which are important factors for lowering blood pressure naturally. Beets also contain antioxidants such as betanins – powerful antioxidants that can help decrease hypertension.
Garlic has many health benefits including helping reduce cholesterol levels which may lower your risk of heart disease; this could result in reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure or making existing hypertension less severe if you have it already.
Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to your food, but they also have many health benefits. One of the most interesting things about herbs is that they’re effective even when taken as supplements.
Some herbs and spices can help lower blood pressure: parsley, rosemary, oregano, garlic, ginger (it’s actually a root!), turmeric (which is the main ingredient in curry), and cayenne pepper.
You can use these herbs fresh or dried. Dried herbs are usually cheaper (and store better) than fresh ones—but you don’t need much for them to be beneficial.
7. Deep Breathing Techniques
Recent research found that performing deep breathing exercises for six weeks lowered subjects’ blood pressure by facilitating an increase in nitric oxide production.5 As described above, nitric oxide can widen blood vessels (called vasodilation) and facilitate healthy blood flow.
Deep breathing is a great way to lower blood pressure naturally. It can be done in a variety of ways, such as through meditation or yoga, but one of the simplest is to breathe in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then exhale through your mouth.
Try this for 10 minutes every day and it’s likely that you will start to notice that your systolic blood pressure trending downward.
If you’d like some help figuring out how to do this correctly or want more information about other techniques that may work better for you, check out these breathing exercises from Harvard Medical School.
8. High-Quality Sleep
Sleep is not only important for the cardiovascular system and regulating blood pressure, but affects the immune system, weight loss or weight gain, memory consolidation, and stress.
To get better sleep, here are some helpful tips: go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to help regulate your circadian rhythm, which can be disrupted by jet lag or working night shifts. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon because it can stay in your body for hours after consumption, making it harder to fall asleep.
Also, try to avoid looking at screens one hour before bed, because blue light from screens can interfere with melatonin production.
Taking supplements such as magnesium before bed can also improve sleep quality by helping to increase the amount of deep sleep you get.
Lowering Blood Pressure, Naturally
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to help lower your blood pressure. It all depends on what works best for you and your lifestyle. Just remember that it’s not about getting “perfect” numbers; it’s about taking control of your health and feeling good in the process!
What questions do you have about biohacking high blood pressure? Ask them in comments below.
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*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article or on this site should be construed as medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you have regarding your health or a medical condition.
1. Nakao M, Yano E, Nomura S, Kuboki T. Blood pressure-lowering effects of biofeedback treatment in hypertension: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Hypertens Res. 2003;26(1):37-46. doi:10.1291/HYPRES.26.37
2. The Science Behind the Zona Plus – Zona.com. Accessed December 6, 2022. https://www.zona.com/pages/science
3. Thorup C, Persson AEG. Nitric oxide and renal blood pressure regulation. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 1998;7(2):197-202. doi:10.1097/00041552-199803000-00009
4. Hermann M, Flammer A, Lüscher TF. Nitric oxide in hypertension. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2006;8(12 Suppl 4):17-29. doi:10.1111/J.1524-6175.2006.06032.
5. Aubrey, Allison. “Daily ‘breath training’ can work as well as medicine to reduce high blood pressure.” 2022, September 20. NPR.