Hypertension affects about 30% of adults worldwide. Many people think that eating too much salt is the reason for high blood pressure. But the real culprit may be added sugar, especially the fructose in sugar-sweetened beverages.
So when it comes to blood pressure, avoiding processed foods high in fructose is the first step to lowering risk.
The next step is adding the right foods to your diet. Here are 7 foods proven to lower blood pressure.
Let’s begin with the #1 food source of a compound that’s essential for strong blood flow.
Number 7. Beets.
Beets help to lower blood pressure levels because they contain high levels of dietary nitrates. Nitrates are found in beetroot and dark leafy greens like spinach and arugula.
When you eat nitrates, your body turns them into nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax and open up. This lowers blood pressure and helps the body carry more oxygen to different parts of the body that need it.
Other leafy greens with high levels of nitrates are celery and celery root, watercress, leeks, parsley, and turnips.
You may have heard that some people take a drug called “nitroglycerin” to help with chest pain and heart attacks. This medication is a synthetic version of nitrates found in beets.
In a study funded by the British Heart Foundation, 68 patients with hypertension were given either 250 ml of beetroot juice or a placebo juice. The beetroot juice lowered blood pressure in the group that received it.
This group also improved endothelial function by about 20 percent, and reduced arterial stiffness.
Another study of over 1500 people without high blood pressure, showed that those who ate the most nitrate-rich vegetables over 3 years, had a 37% lower risk of developing hypertension than those who ate the least.
Next, a delicious source of magnesium that promotes a healthy heart rhythm.
Number 6. Dark Chocolate.
Many studies prove that cocoa products can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate is particularly effective and only small amounts are needed. In a JAMA study of 44 people with hypertension or pre-hypertension, those who ate a small square of dark chocolate (30 calories), saw their systolic pressure drop by 2.9 mm Hg, and diastolic pressure drop by 1.9 mm Hg, while there was no change in the group that ate white chocolate.
Researchers say that flavanols, especially epicatechin, are responsible for the blood pressure-lowering effects of chocolate. Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that chocolate also contains procyanidins that increase nitric oxide production and relax blood vessels.
Chocolate can help save lives. A study of 470 elderly men published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that those eating the most chocolate, not only lowered their blood pressure, but also slashed the risk of cardiovascular death in half.
Coming up, if a pharmaceutical company created a synthetic substance like this spice, it would be one of the most popular and expensive drugs on the market!
Number 5. Garlic.
Garlic is an amazing food for keeping your blood pressure in check. It does this through several mechanisms that widen your blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Garlic helps increase nitric oxide production in your cells by increasing the activity of an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase.
It acts like popular blood pressure drugs called ACE inhibitors by blocking the hormone angiotensin.
And garlic helps your red blood cells produce hydrogen sulfide, which relaxes your blood vessels.
Garlic is as effective as blood pressure medications. A study of 210 hypertensive patients showed that garlic tablets significantly reduced blood pressure compared to beta blockers. Unlike drugs, garlic is safe and well-tolerated.
See our video “#1 Vegetable to Clean Your Arteries and Prevent Heart Attack.”
Next, this lazy summer fruit may not seem like much, but it is actually a powerful healer.
Number 4. Watermelon.
Eating watermelon is a highly effective way to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, watermelon is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline, and is also an excellent source of vitamin A, B6 and C, as well as fiber, potassium and the antioxidant lycopene.
A study from the Florida State University gave 9 pre-hypertensive people, six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline from watermelon extract every day. All the patients showed improved arterial function and lower aortic blood pressure.
Watermelon contains citrulline, especially the white part of watermelon. This is turned into arginine in our bodies. Arginine helps us create nitric oxide, which we already know has many benefits for our hearts and blood vessels.
*L-arginine is available as a dietary supplement, but it may cause nausea, gastrointestinal tract discomfort, and diarrhea. Watermelon does not have any of those effects.
Because it is rich in potassium, watermelon also helps keep sodium from raising blood pressure.
Watermelon is a superb source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart, supports healthy arteries, and improves blood flow.
A Physicians Health Study showed that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene had a 39% decrease in stroke risk. Another study in Finland following 1,000 men for 12 years found similar results.
Lycopene may also support bone formation, improve male fertility, and protect against cancer and UV damage from the sun.
Coming up, a superfood that has medicinal qualities without the negative effects some medications can have.
Number 3. Pomegranate Juice.
Pomegranates contain powerful polyphenols that can help fight inflammation and oxidation. It has been shown to help prevent or treat various health issues, including high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, oxidative stress, high blood sugar, and other health problems related to inflammation.
In one Israeli study, 101 kidney disease patients were given either 100 ml of pomegranate juice or a placebo every day for one year. The systolic blood pressure was found to be significantly lower in the group that drank pomegranate juice, but not in the placebo group. Drinking pomegranate juice regularly reduces systolic blood pressure and may reduce atherosclerosis.
See our video on the amazing benefits of pomegranate.
A great idea is to combine beet, pomegranate, and carrot juice for a high antioxidant, blood pressure lowering drink. A triple-whammy for your health!
Next, this popular beverage is famous for its cancer-fighting properties.
Number 2. Green Tea.
New research has shown that green tea can help to lower blood pressure levels in people who have hypertension.
Green tea contains many powerful polyphenol antioxidants that are known for their health-protective benefits. One of green tea’s most powerful flavonoids, EGCG can counteract a variety of diseases and health conditions.
Study results also show EGCG can be helpful to prevent atherosclerosis, blood clots, heart attack, and strokes—partly because of its ability to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.
A review of 25 different studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that long-term tea drinking can significantly improve blood pressure. After 12 weeks of drinking tea, blood pressure was lower by 2.6 mm Hg systolic and 2.2 mm Hg diastolic. Green tea had the most significant results, while black tea performed better than no tea at all.
Best results occur when drinking about 3 to 4 cups of organic green tea a day. Adding a bit of citric acid like lemon juice can boost the amounts of antioxidants your body can absorb.
And finally, replace vegetable oil with this healthy fat to skyrocket your health.
Number 1. Olive Oil.
Olive oil has been shown to widen blood vessels, preventing high blood pressure. Studies have also found that it can reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
Polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil prevent atherosclerosis. They stop the oxidation of LDL accumulated on the wall of blood vessels. Polyphenols do this by capturing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and preventing their attack on blood vessels.
A study published in the journal “Archives of Internal Medicine” found that hypertensive patients who took 40 grams of olive oil per day reduced the dosage of blood pressure medication by 50%.
The arterial health benefits of olive oil are 99% related to the phenolic components, so it is important to choose high quality extra virgin olive oil.
See our video, the real reason to drink olive oil every day.
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As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice. We are not doctors.
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And now over to you! Which are your favorite foods to support healthy blood pressure?
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