natural ways to bring your blood pressure down

Many people suffer from high blood pressure as they get older, and there aren’t always any signs. There are natural ways you can bring it down, though, and these have other health benefits too.

One in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure. Known as hypertension in the medical world, it can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It may also make you more likely to develop kidney disease, peripheral arterial disease, heart failure, and even some forms of dementia. 

Yet, according to health charity Blood Pressure UK, about a third of people with high blood pressure don’t know they have it because there are no obvious symptoms. 

what is high blood pressure? 

You need a certain amount of pressure to keep your blood pumping. 

The amount of pressure is represented by two measurements: systolic pressure (when your heart contracts to pump out blood to your arteries) and diastolic pressure (when your heart relaxes between beats). 

Systolic pressure is the first number and diastolic the second, both being measurements of millimetres of mercury (or mmHg). 

Healthy blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK, is between 90/60 and 120/80. 

Most adults in the UK have a blood pressure reading between 120/80 and 140/90, which isn’t high, but is higher than it should be - anything over 140/90 is diagnosed as high blood pressure. 

why do some people have high blood pressure? 

The older you get, the greater your risk of developing high blood pressure. About half of those aged 65 and older are affected. 

Other things that increase your risk of high blood pressure include having a relative with high blood pressure and being of African or Caribbean descent - all of which, like ageing, you have no control over. 

Other factors which contribute to high blood pressure can be managed, such as weight; smoking; a diet with too much salt, caffeine, or alcohol; not exercising enough, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables.  

how to test your blood pressure 

The NHS recommends healthy adults aged 40 and older get their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.  

If you’re older, or if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, your GP may advise you to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.  

More than half of people with type 2 diabetes may develop high blood pressure. 

You can get your blood pressure tested by your GP or visit a health clinic or a pharmacy. You could even buy a blood pressure monitor to test yourself at home. 

how to bring your blood pressure down 

There are several things you can do to keep your blood pressure healthy, including: 

eat healthily 

Blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are packed full of polyphenols that dilate vessels and reduce pressure. 

Potassium regulates your heart rate and balances the sodium (salt) in your body. It’s in foods like avocados, potatoes, tomatoes, salmon, milk, yoghurt, and nuts. 

Limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta will also keep your blood pressure and your blood sugar levels more even.  

Where you can, replace white bread and pasta with wholegrain alternatives, and aim for two to thr servings per day.  

If refined carbs are a large part of your diet, start small by replacing one portion with wholegrain alternatives. This will make your new habit easier to stick to. 

Oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids may have some impact on blood pressure, too. Try to eat salmon, sardines, and mackerel at least three times a week. 

reduce your salt and saturated fat intake 

The current advice is to eat no more than 6g (around one teaspoon) of salt a day. 

It’s also worth reducing how much saturated fat you eat. 

You could replace salt in your foods - and possibly make the flavours more interesting - with herbs and spices. You could also try reduced salt stock cubes. 

Three quarters of the salt we eat comes from processed foods, so read the label before you purchase. Anything over 1.5g of salt per 100g is a lot. Less than 0.3g per 100g is a little. 

stay active 

Exercise conditions your cardiovascular system and keeps your vessels flexible.  

The government recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.  

You could tackle chores like raking, weeding, digging, vacuuming, and sweeping with gusto. 

Aim to strengthen your muscles a couple of times a week by doing some heavy gardening, lifting weights, or doing exercises that use your body’s weight as resistance.  

Tight muscles don’t hold their “share” of blood and increase the pressure. Stretch gently every day - especially your calves - to increase their capacity. 

Find out more by reading our article Ways to be more active. 

get plenty of vitamin D 

Blood pressure can rise when you’re short on vitamin D. Most Brits don’t get enough vitamin D from the sun, especially in the winter or if they have a darker skin tone. 

Try to increase the vitamin D you eat, with foods like mushrooms, egg yolks, and salmon. Leaving mushrooms on the windowsill before you cook them can help them absorb more vitamin D.  

If you’re concerned about sun exposure exacerbating or causing skin conditions, as well as your vitamin D intake, where a sunscreen daily and take a vitamin D supplement. 

maintain a healthy weight 

Losing just 5-7% of body weight can improve your blood pressure. 

If you lose 10% of your weight, it can reduce your systolic blood pressure by up to 10mmHg. 

watch what you drink 

Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. The government recommends no more than 14 units per week, spread out over three or more days.  

If you drink more than this, cutting back may help you manage your weight.  

Drinking more than four coffees a day may also increase your blood pressure. If you enjoy caffeinated drinks, consider decaf alternatives instead. 

quit smoking 

Smoking may not be a direct cause of high blood pressure, but it can cause your arteries to narrow. It’s also a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. 

relax 

Reduce stress with yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, or creative hobbies, and make sure you get enough good-quality sleep every night. 

These tips don’t replace medical advice. If you’re at all concerned about your health, make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can. 

training and events

24 May 2022

master the art of resilience

This course builds on our Boost Your Resilience introductory course by providing a deeper insight into mastering resilience. You’ll learn …
enhanced course
25 May 2022

espresso mindfulness for busy people

What is mindfulness and why should you care about it? This webinar lifts the lid on mindfulness, including what it is and how it can benefit you …
espresso series
7 June 2022

develop your personal brand

Your personal brand is about how others perceive you. With the right tools, you can use it to make an impact and progress in your career. Learn …
enhanced course
8 June 2022

espresso food and mood: what's the evidence

Can food really influence your mood? There’s scientific evidence to suggest that it can. Watch this webinar for an exciting glimpse into taking …
espresso series

view all training and events 

your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW)1, ACA students2, ICAEW staff members3, and the family and carers of members and students4

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is or was dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

view more questions



Not got the answer to your question?