<img src="filename.gif" alt="Blood pressure monitor">Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects millions of Americans every year and is one of the most frequently treated conditions. Scores of effective medications exist to treat hypertension, but we always advise that you try lowering your blood pressure naturally first. Medications have side effects, while these natural blood pressure (BP) treatments help you feel better. Take some deep breaths. Deep breathing helps oxygenate your blood, which keeps the heart from working too hard. Most of us breathe shallowly and don’t truly take in as much oxygen as we could. Breathe in through your nose, and try to fill your stomach with air. Exhale as much air as you possibly can. Try deep breathing at least 10 times four or five times a day. More often is even better. Studies have also shown that stress hormones raise blood pressure, and activities such as yoga and tai chi reduce those hormones, lowering your BP. Lose weight and exercise. When you lose weight, your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard to send blood to your organs and limbs, which reduces your blood pressure naturally. Many people with slightly elevated BP can control it simply by keeping off extra weight. Watch what you eat (more information below) and exercise to sensibly and slowly reduce your weight and keep it off. Exercising has been found to lower blood pressure by itself, but to sustain its effects, you need to be consistent. What you do is not as important as doing something physical that gets your heart pumping for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Find something you enjoy and just do it.Eat foods as close to nature as possible.Processed foods should play a small role in your everyday diet. Save those for the occasional splurge and eat real, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. When you shop, walk the perimeter of the store and buy foods as close to their natural state as possible.Eat plenty of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, melons, and potatoes. Potassium helps keep your fluids in balance, which keeps your BP low. Aim for at least 2,000 milligrams of potassium a day.Avoid added salt. We need a certain amount of sodium, but most Americans eat far more than they need. It’s not the salt you add to meals that causes problems, but the salt that food companies add to their products. If you read labels, you’ll find much more salt than you want or need in those packages.Try eating no more than 1,500 milligrams per day, and buy some salt-free seasonings—you’ll be surprised at how good they taste. You won’t miss salt as much as you think you will. If you’ve lowered your blood pressure naturally, please share how you did it below.