7 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Manage your hypertension deliciously with these foods that lower blood pressure.

foods that lower blood pressure

Watching what you eat can have a positive impact on your health. Foods that lower blood pressure are many and varied, if you know what to look for; our post points you in the right direction.

Photo: Dreamstime.com

When it comes to hypertension, your food can be your medicine. While generally increasing plant foods (especially fruits and vegetables) is a must for anyone suffering from high blood pressure, research shows that certain plant foods are especially good at treating hypertension.

With that in mind, try these seven examples of foods that lower blood pressure.

1. Flaxseed

Ingesting 30 grams of ground flaxseed per day lowers systolic blood pressure by an average of 15 mmHg and diastolic pressure (the lower number) by about 7 mmHg in those with hypertension.[1] Whole and ground flaxseed is now found in almost every supermarket. It can be sprinkled on fruit, yogurt, and hot or cold cereal, and blended into smoothies.

2. Beet and apple juice

Beets have among the highest nitrate contents of all vegetables. Consuming foods high in nitrates helps the body produce more nitric oxide (NO), which dilates the arteries to decrease blood pressure and improve cardiovascular function. A juice containing 72 percent beet juice and 28 percent apple juice decreases systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 5 mmHg.[2] Try making your own carrot, apple, ginger, and beet juice.

3. Vegetable juice

Tomato-based bottled vegetable juice blends such as V8 or Knudsen’s Very Veggie decrease systolic blood pressure by an average of about 5 mmHg.[3] Look for the organic and low sodium versions of these tasty juice blends.

4. Prunes

Three to six dried plums (prunes) per day can significantly lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.[4] Prunes may not have the best reputation, but they are actually a sweet, delicious superfruit. While they are great to snack on as is, prunes can also be incorporated into many sweet and savory dishes. For free ideas, visit the California Dried Plum Board’s website here.

foods that lower blood pressure

Specific flavonoids in blueberries, research shows, are responsible for their blood-pressure-lowering effect.

5. Blueberries

Adding blueberries to the diet significantly lowers blood pressure in animals.[5] Although no human studies have yet been conducted to show whether blueberries lower blood pressure in hypertensive humans, the likelihood is high given the results of rat studies, which show about a 14 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure with blueberry consumption.[5] Specific flavonoids in blueberries are responsible for their blood-pressure-lowering effect.[6] Wild blueberries have a higher flavonoid content than non-wild varieties. Trader Joe’s sells pesticide-free, frozen wild blueberries that are great blended into smoothies.

6. Hibiscus tea

Hibiscus is a potent source of blood-pressure-lowering flavonoids called anthocyanins.[7] Drinking tea made from the deep magenta-colored calyces (sepals) of the hibiscus flower is an easy way to consume these powerful anthocyanins and to lower your blood pressure.[8] Hibiscus is sour, so it’s nice to sweeten the tea a bit with a natural sweetener like stevia. Try it iced with a splash of pomegranate juice for a refreshing drink that will lower your blood pressure while it quenches your thirst.

7. Dark chocolate and cocoa

Dark chocolate and cocoa reduce systolic blood pressure by an average of 5 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 3 mmHg.[9] The blood-pressure-lowering effects of cocoa stem from the fact that it is rich in many different phytochemicals, including procyanidins, theobromine, epicatechin, and catechins.[10] The darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa content and the more phytochemicals it tends to contain. Look for dark chocolate bars with at least 70 percent cocoa content and eat one or two small squares per day.

Give It a Try…

It’s easy to lower blood pressure with food. Why not try it? If you have hypertension and do nothing else but add some of these foods that lower blood pressure to your regular diet, you will see your blood pressure readings drop. This means you can reduce your risk of having a devastating stroke or a heart attack just by drinking some hibiscus tea, beet and apple juice, or vegetable juice; or by eating some ground flax seeds, prunes, blueberries, or dark chocolate. How much easier could it get?

While you’re at it, don’t miss our article on spices that lower blood pressure.

Share Your Experience

Have you successfully lowered your blood pressure with these or other foods? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, be sure to visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


References

[1] Hypertension. 2013 Dec;62(6):1081-9.
[2] Nutr J. 2012 Dec 11;11:106.
[3] Nutr J. 2010 Sep 17;9:38.
[4] Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2010 Jan-Mar;22(1):28-31.
[5] Br J Nutr. 2013 May 28;109(10):1746-54.
[6] Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Jan;89(1):67-71.
[7] Endocrinol Nutr. 2014 Jan 17.
[8] J Diet Suppl. 2013 Jun;10(2):105-15.
[9] Int J Evid-Bas Healthcare. 2013 Mar;11(1):81-2.
[10] Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(11):1458-72.


Originally published in April 2016 and updated.

Anchor
Comments
  • AnneLark

    How about something that lowers diastolic? What is the difference in the causes of high diastolic and high systolic?

  • I cannot believe that you have V8 listed under vegetable juices!!! A single glass of V8 contains 480mg of sodium, or 20% (!!!) of the daily maximum. Compare to 135mg for a small McDonald’s French Fries, or 290mg for a medium.
    You just lost all credibility.

  • V-8 is super high in potassium which offsets the sodium content and you can’t do without sodium in your diet.

  • Bernice S.

    Thanks! I would prefer food to pills for HBP! I appreciate information.

  • Karen K.

    I will definitely say that the dark chocolate works! My Doctor put me on 2 different pills for high blood pressure, and they both bothered me, so I had to go off of them. I bought the extra dark chocolate bar by Lindt, but I got the 85 to 90%, and I have two squares a day. one in the morning, and one at night. My blood pressure at one time was 160/90! It now ranges anywhere between 138/70 to 120/65, depending on what time of the year it is. I live in Michigan, so in the winter I don`t sweat as much because I`m not out cutting my lawn and walking my dogs. I have really bad Asthma. So I ride my exercise bike faithfully 4 times a week, in the winter months, and drink a lot of Hibiscus tea. Between the bike , the dark chocolate, and the tea, it really has helped me a lot. I do not believe in High Blood pressure pills, they caused too many side affects for me. Exercise, and a proper diet are always the best medicine. I`m 64, but I`m very active, that helps too.

Leave a Reply

×
Enter Your Log In Credentials
×
×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps people live more sustainable, self-reliant lives, with feature stories on tending the garden, managing the homestead, raising healthy livestock and more!

×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps the small-scale poultry enthusiast raise healthy, happy, productive flocks for eggs, meat or fun - from the countryside to the urban homestead!