How Do You Get the Bottom Blood Pressure Number Down?

Medically Reviewed on 5/26/2021
high diastolic blood pressure
To get your diastolic blood pressure to go down, you can’t target it alone

When it comes to blood pressure readings, the bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of your arteries when your heart is in a relaxed state.  

To get your diastolic blood pressure to go down, you can’t target it alone. You will need to work on getting your overall blood pressure lower.

Here are 13 lifestyle changes that can help you lower your blood pressure.

13 ways to lower your blood pressure

1. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight is a major risk factor for high blood pressure. You will need to maintain a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5-24.9 kg/m2.

2. Reduce central obesity

Having excess fat around the waistline puts you at risk of hypertension and related heart disease. You can reduce the fat around your middle through various exercises, including jogging, walking, hiking, rowing, swimming and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

3. Stay physically active

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends doing 90-150 minutes of physical activity spread throughout the week or at least 30 minutes each day for at least 5 days a week.

4. Quit smoking

Smoking causes the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that leads to high blood pressure. Try to quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Ask your doctor if you need help figuring out the best way to do this. Joining a program designed to help you quit smoking may help.

5. Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep increases your chances of developing health conditions that cause high blood pressure. Try to get between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night.

6. Manage stress

Stress releases hormones that temporarily raise blood pressure. Learn to manage stress by doing activities that relax you and make you feel good. These may include simple things like taking a long walk in nature, listening to music, or pursuing hobbies you enjoy. You can also try deep breathing and meditation techniques.

7. Eat heart-healthy foods

Include heart-healthy foods in your diet:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish
  • Lean meat
  • Skinless chicken or turkey
  • Eggs

8. Stay away from saturated and trans fats

Avoid foods that are loaded with saturated and trans fats, like fast food, fried food and instant and frozen foods. 

9. Reduce your sodium intake

Keep an eye on how much salt you eat, since salt can increase blood pressure. Limit your salt intake to 1,500 milligrams or less per day. Avoid packaged, processed foods which typically contain more sodium. 

10. Increase your potassium intake

Potassium can counteract the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Include potassium-rich foods in your daily diet, like bananas and spinach

11. Avoid too much sugar

Avoid foods and drinks that contain added sugars, like soft drinks, cakes, pastries, cookies and candies.

12. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol

Caffeine can increase blood pressure. If you are suffering from high blood pressure already, avoid anything containing caffeine before exercising.

Drink alcohol in moderation. If you are healthy, follow these general guidelines:

  • Men: no more than 2 drinks per day
  • Women: no more than 1 drink per day

13. Take medications as prescribed

Take your blood pressure medications as prescribed. To avoid skipping them by accident, set reminders on your phone to make sure you take them on time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 5/26/2021
Harvard Health Publishing. 6 Simple Tips to Reduce Your Blood Pressure.

Cleveland Clinic. 12 Heart-Healthy Foods to Work into Your Diet.