High blood pressure affects approximately one in every three American adults – about 70 million people. According to the US Center For Disease Control, while about half of the people living with high blood pressure have their conditions under control, it still costs the nation a whopping 46 billion dollars each year, including health care costs, medication expenses, and missed days of work(1).
Peoples’ methods of keeping their blood pressure in check can vary – while some rely blood pressure medications (some of the most commonly prescribed in the US), others manage their blood pressure with diet and other lifestyle choices.
Here are some foods that are known to have a positive impact on blood pressure.
1. Green Tea
A systematic review of studies in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2014 examined thirteen randomised controlled trials to get an idea of how effective green tea could be for managing blood pressure.
“The present meta-analysis suggests that green tea and its catechins may improve blood pressure, and the effect may be greater in those with systolic blood pressure… the meta-analysis also suggests that green tea catechins may improve total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol,” the review concluded(2).
A study from March of this year confirms that daily blueberry consumption can improve blood pressure in postmenopausal women with early-stage hypertension. The study, which took place over the course of 8 weeks, found that patients who ate 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder per day developed significantly lower blood pressure than those in the control group(5).
3. Brazil Nuts
A 2013 study found that even a single consumption of a large enough quantity of Brazil nuts could have a positive impact on blood pressure(6).
A nutrient known as glucuronidated quercetin, commonly found in apples and broccoli, can spontaneously lower blood pressure in hypertensive fats, a 2012 study found(7). Other sources of this flavonoid include onions, but broccoli and apples are probably a tastier option for raw consumption.
Lots of people swear by garlic as a natural remedy for high blood pressure. A recent review of studies to date showed that in several studies, garlic had a positive impact on blood pressure when compared to a placebo – but overall, more analysis is needed before it can be recommended for treatment of severe hypertension. However, when it comes to mild or pre-hypertension, garlic could be the way to go(8).
Regular nut consumption is good for you – nuts are high in protein and fibre, and can have a whole host of health benefits, including reducing your blood pressure(9). One of the most versatile and popular nuts are almonds – they’re great as a snack on their own, or paired with yogurt or a salad.
7. Oily Fish
Packed with omega-3 fatty acid, oily fish – like sardines, tuna, and mackerel – can be particularly beneficial to people with hypertension, and in those with clinical athersclerotic disease or hypercholesterolemia(10). Eating fish two to three times a week or taking fish oil supplements can also greatly reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Yogurt has been observed to be related to a positive outcome for patients with high blood pressure, so researchers decided to put it to the test in an animal model back in 2011.
“It was concluded that feeding diets supplemented with yogurts exhibited antihypertensive and hypcholesterolemic effects in spontaneously hypertensive rats”(11).
Easily paired with other blood pressure friendly foods like blueberries and nuts, yogurt is the perfect snack for people who are trying to manage hypertension.
Hypertension is a long-term condition, and can’t be treated overnight. But there are many ways you can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the most obvious steps you can take, and incorporating these foods into your daily routine may give you the added boost you need to keep your blood pressure under control.