Laying off the salt shaker isn’t the only way to lower your blood pressure without medication, according to the American Heart Association. In the new issue of its journal Hypertension, the AHA suggests several alternative therapies that have been shown to reduce blood pressure without side effects. The most beneficial? Isometric hand grip exercises like squeezing a tennis ball, which caused a 10-point drop in both systemic and diastolic blood pressure over a 4-week period—only slightly less than the effect you get from the standard dose of hypertension medication, the authors said. However, they cautioned that isometric exercises can actually be dangerous for people with untreated severe hypertension (more than 180/110).
Other alternative therapies that yielded minor benefits were a regular walking program and transcendental meditation. Yoga, other types of meditation and acupuncture did not appear to have a significant impact on blood pressure in the data studied.
Research has also shown that you can lower your blood pressure by making some simple changes to your diet, and making sure you get enough of three “magic minerals.” Read on to find out how.