If you’ve been told you have borderline hypertension your doctor may be pressuring you to consider taking a blood pressure pill.
At the very least you’ve probably been threatened with meds if you don’t bring your numbers back down.
And if you’ve been diagnosed with full-blown hypertension then heavy-duty blood pressure drugs are probably already on the menu. If that’s the case you don’t need us to tell you about the sickening side effects such as headaches, dizziness and fatigue that can make the “cure” feel worse than the disease.
But imagine if you could add a few simple foods to your diet—foods you could find in your own kitchen at this very moment—and be able to cut back on, or even avoid, those nasty drugs altogether?
You’d probably want to give them a try.
Well it turns out there are a few common pantry foods that are proven to reduce blood pressure. Adding them to your daily routine could help you gain control of your own blood pressure once and for all.
Beat hypertension with blood pressure lowering foods
1. Black tea:
When it comes to beverages and health benefits it seems like green tea and coffee get all the glory. But if you’re interested in lowering your blood pressure, it turns out black tea could be the star.
In fact just three cups of black tea a day could reduce both your blood pressure and risk for heart disease, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
For six months volunteers drank either 3 cups of black tea or a black-tea flavored placebo drink with the same amount of caffeine daily.
By the end of the six months the lucky group who had been drinking the real deal black tea had both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers plummet by an impressive 10 percent, on average.
Not too shabby a result for a delicious cup of English Breakfast. For some with borderline hypertension it could even be the difference between being on a blood pressure pill or drug free.
So if you’re looking to lower your own blood pressure why not consider giving black tea a try?
2. Chili Peppers:
The folks living in southwestern China have a blood pressure secret that keeps their hypertension rates at a basement low 10 to 14 percent.
So what is it? Believe it or not it’s chili peppers!
You see the people living in the region can’t get enough hot and spicy foods. They dump chili peppers into just about every meal. And as a result they have significantly lower rates of high blood pressure than the rest of China.
An animal study reveals why the peppers appear to have this remarkable power.
We already knew that a compound found in chili peppers called capsaicin can fight inflammation. In fact, the compound is already being used to combat inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and psoriasis.
But when scientists fed capsaicin to rats bred to have hypertension they saw something remarkable. The pepper compound kick-started the TRPV1 channel in the linings of the animal’s blood vessels.
This caused their bodies to start producing blood-vessel protecting nitric oxide.
The nitric oxide acts almost like a suit of armor for your delicate blood vessels, fighting off inflammation and dysfunction. And experts say this could be the key to those lower blood pressure numbers the folks in southwest China are enjoying,
Oh, and there’s a bonus, capsaicin’s natural inflammation-fighting abilities could be the reason that in places where they eat lots of hot peppers there are fewer strokes and heart attacks.
Adding some chili pepper spice to your own meals could be an easy way to ward off high blood pressure. And if you’re not a fan of the burn you can try a capsaicin supplement instead.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, tempeh, kombucha, miso, kefir and active culture yogurt (look for the words “live and active cultures” on the label) could turn out to be hypertension helpers.
It’s what these fermented foods have in common that makes them potential hypertension-fighting superstars… and that’s probiotics. Fermented foods are naturally rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that inhabit our guts and keep us healthy.
You probably already know how important keeping your gut flora in balance is to your immune system. Probiotics allow your body to fight off disease and keep the other not-so-nice bugs that live in your intestines under control.
But you may not be aware that good gut bugs fight inflammation, which is why they can play a key role in everything from weight loss to diabetes. And it turns out they could also help naturally lower your blood pressure.
Researchers set out to find if probiotics have an effect on blood pressure levels. They dug deep into the data of nine different studies and found that the good bugs may be able to not only help you avoid hypertension, but also reduce your high blood pressure, according to the study published in the journal Hypertension.
Probiotics lowered the systolic blood pressure (the top number) of regular users by an average of 3.56 Hg and the diastolic (bottom) number by an average of 2.38 Hg.
And as is often the case with natural remedies, probiotics come with some good side effects such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol numbers.
Adding more probiotic-rich fermented foods to your diet could help you avoid ever having to go on blood pressure pills. And if you’re already on meds they could help reduce the amount you’re taking, or even help you give them up for good.
If fermented foods aren’t to your taste you can always try a quality probiotic instead. Look for one with 5 to 20 billion organisms and that contains human tested strains such as B. longum, L rhamnosus and L. acidophilus.
4. Dark Chocolate:
Yes, it’s true, chocolate—as long as it’s the dark low-sugar variety—could help you fight high blood pressure.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal dark chocolate naturally lowers blood pressure. The experts say it’s the flavonols found in the chocolate that are the key to bringing both blood pressure and cholesterol levels down.
If you are concerned about elevated blood pressure numbers indulging in a bit of dark chocolate from time to time could be an affordable, natural insurance policy against hypertension.
Let’s face it, the typical American diet isn’t exactly what you’d call healthy or blood pressure friendly. High in carbs, bad fats and tons of processed foods it’s like a recipe for inflammation and hypertension.
But it turns out the simple walnut could help turn the tide.
In one study Penn State researchers had volunteers eat three different carefully-controlled diets for six weeks each. For the first six weeks volunteers ate the typical American high-fat high-carb diet.
For the second six weeks they ate the same diet, but some of the not-so-healthy snacks were replaced with walnuts. And a tablespoon of walnut oil replaced some of the unhealthy fats they had been eating.
For the final six weeks it was the same diet once again but with the walnuts, walnut oil and now 1.5 tablespoons of flaxseed oil.
After each diet block, participants were given both a mental stress test and a physical stress test and their blood pressure was monitored. The results were remarkable.
The walnut-enhanced diet dropped resting blood pressure levels down by 3 points on average. In other words, in the real world it could have been the difference between someone with borderline hypertension being forced on to a blood pressure drug or being able to skip the meds.
But that’s not all, the walnuts also led to better diastolic blood pressure numbers during both stress tests. Which means replacing a few snacks with walnuts, and using walnut oil to cook a meal now and again may help you to tame your own high blood pressure.
We believe that everyone has good ideas about how best to care for our loved ones and ourselves. Many of our contributors are doctors that have spent their life’s work invested in the health and well being of the human body and mind. Some have spent their lives tirelessly researching health and the human body, developing new vitamins and products dedicated to making people healthier.
Others are ordinary people that have natural family cures passed down from generations, or discovered an inexpensive home remedy out of necessity or even by accident.
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