If you have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), you will need to be assessed by a doctor at least once a year, though more frequent consultations may be recommended in some cases. 

For mildly-elevated blood pressure, it can be normalised through weight loss, regular exercise and healthy eating.

High blood pressure (hypertension): 8 Ways to lower it naturally

Here are eight things you can do to reduce your blood pressure naturally.

1. If you are overweight, take action to shed the excess kilos

Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also disrupts breathing while you sleep (causing obstructive sleep apnea), which further raises blood pressure.

Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. If you're overweight or have obesity, losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce blood pressure. In general, blood pressure might go down by about 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) with each kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight lost.

Since Asians tend to have more visceral body fat (fat surrounding the internal organs) than Caucasians of the same BMI, the healthy range for Asians has been set lower.

A BMI ranging from 23.0 to 27.4 kg/m2 however puts you at moderate risk for health problems, while a BMI at 27.5 kg/m2 and above means you're at high risk for weight-related health problems.

​Asian BMI cut-offs
​18.5 to 22.9
​23 to 27.4
​27.5 and above

2. Increase daily fibre intake

Wholegrains, fruits and vegetables are high in fibre, magnesium and potassium, which are beneficial foods that lower blood pressure. Aim for two servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables per day.

Fibre takes longer to chew, slowing down your food intake and keeps you feeling fuller longer to prevent overeating.

Fibre is also good news for those managing their diabetes! Having fibre in your meals helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking. Soluble fibre in foods slows down the release of sugars into the bloodstream resulting in a more constant blood sugar level.

Instead of salty snack foods, choose fruits and vegetables. Also, replace white bread with wholemeal or multigrain bread.

  • Choose:

    • Lean meats

    • Fish

    • Low-fat dairy products

    • Fibre-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables

  • Avoid foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats such as:

    • Animal fats

    • Eggs (Health Promotion Board recommends consuming no more than 4 egg yolks per week)

    • Red meat (e.g. beef and lamb)

    • Coconut milk

    • Palm oil

    • Salty foods

3. Exercise regularly (preferably daily, if possible)

Make it a rule/goal to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. To make it simpler to hit your target, break it up into 10 minutes before each meal.

Regular exercise helps keep elevated blood pressure from turning into high blood pressure (hypertension). For those who have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring blood pressure down to safer levels.

Examples of aerobic exercise that can help lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Aim to include strength training exercises at least two days a week.

Brisk walking is one of the best and simplest forms of exercise (read this article to learn how to do it right). Other easy ways to include more movement (if the word 'exercise' puts you off) in your day is to:

  • Use the stairs

  • Walk or take public transport everywhere you go instead of driving (you'll save money and it's better for the environment too!)

  • Do household chores

  • Go for a bike ride

  • Get into a team sport with friends (e.g. badminton)

4. Reduce salt (sodium) consumption

Even a small reduction of sodium in your daily diet can improve heart health and reduce high blood pressure.

HPB recommends limiting sodium intake to 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day or less, which is  equal to less than a teaspoon of salt daily. A lower sodium intake of 1,500 mg a day or less is ideal for most adults (the average Singaporean consumes a whopping 3,600mg of salt daily).

Salt and sauces added in food preparation and at the table contribute to most of the sodium we consume daily. Canned and processed foods also generally have a high sodium content.

Here are ways to reduce your salt intake when preparing food at home and when eating out:

Cooking at home 

  • Cook with less salt, sauces, stock cubes, and seasoning powders as many of these flavourings contain a lot of sodium.

  • Enhance the taste of food with natural herbs and spices like onion, ginger, garlic, chili, parsley, spring onions, cinnamon and cloves.

  • Avoid using salted and preserved food such as ikan bilis, salted fish, salted eggs, luncheon meat, sausages and ham.

Eating out 

  • Ask for your food to be prepared with less salt and sauces, where possible.

  • Ask for the sauces to be served on the side. Taste food and try not to add more salt or sauces to the food at the table if the food is already palatable.

  • Avoid drinking soup stock and sauces as they contain a lot of sodium.

Grocery shopping  

  • Buy fresh food as often as possible.

  • Use the Nutrition Information Panel on food labels and select food products with less sodium.

  • Products with the Healthier Choice Symbol contain less sodium than similar products in the same category.

5. Get more (proper) sleep

Having insufficient sleep or poor quality sleep — fewer than seven hours of sleep every night — can contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension). 

A number of issues can disrupt sleep, including sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome and general sleeplessness (insomnia).

For better sleep, try the following:

  • Go to bed and get up the same time daily (weekdays, weekends and even holidays).

  • Avoid using electronic devices 30mins before bedtime.

  • Exercise regularly to sleep easier, more soundly.

  • Avoid having heavy meals, consuming alcohol and caffeine before bedtime.

  • Your bedroom (and bed) should be for sleep and intimacy only (it shouldn't be your office).

  • Establish a pre-sleep routine such as warm bath and relaxing your mind.

  • Avoid taking naps (longer than 30mins) during the day.

  • If you have difficulty sleeping, don't continue lying in bed and checking the time. Try getting out of bed and doing some deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation to relax your mind and body.

6. Manage stress better

Long-term (chronic) stress has been known to contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension). Thus, it is important to have good coping strategies. These include:

  • Identifying what makes you react to stress

  • Making time to engage in activities you enjoy

  • Practising relaxation techniques

  • Talking to someone you trust

  • Engaging in regular physical exercise

  • Learning to reframe your mind (changing negative thinking into positive thinking)

  • Prioritising tasks accordingly

  • Loving yourself

  • Not hesitating to seeking professional help

7. Quit smoking (if you haven't)

If you smoke, quit! Not only can smoking raise your blood pressure, it’s also a risk factor for heart disease (coronary artery disease), stroke and a host of other diseases.​​

8. Monitor your blood pressure and go for regular checkups

When it comes to your health, ignorance is never bliss. Regular monitoring of your blood pressure at home using a home blood pressure monitor can help you keep tabs on changes in your blood pressure. 

It's also a good way of knowing for certain if your medications and lifestyle changes are working.

Regular check-ups with your doctor are also key to controlling blood pressure. 

Take control of your blood pressure, don't let it take control of you!

What if these tips don't lower your high blood pressure?

If these measures are not successful, your doctor may put you on drug treatment, which has to be complemented by a healthy lifestyle. Treatment of hypertension for most people is lifelong.

Ref: H24 (ed)

Check out our other articles on high blood pressure (hypertension):

Hypertension: Understanding Blood Pressure Ranges

High Blood Pressure: Top 5 Myths

3 Foods to Avoid to Prevent High Blood Pressure

4 Foods to Eat to Bring Down High Blood Pressure

How High Blood Pressure Affects Men and Women Differently

Pre-Hypertension: How to Know If You Have It