Worried about your blood pressure creeping up? Or has your doctor warned you that if you don’t bring your numbers down the next step might be hypertension meds?
End the struggle to keep your blood pressure in check, or prevent your pressure from climbing, with these 6 kitchen tricks for better blood pressure.
1. Nosh on dairy:
If you’ve been avoiding dairy because you think it’s bad for you, stop. It turns out adding a dose of dairy, such as a cup of yogurt, milk or 1 ½ ounces of cheese, to your meals can help you fight hypertension. Recent studies reveal that dairy is a natural blood pressure reducer.1,2,3 Experts say the credit goes to the amino acids which relax your blood vessels.
2. Sip on some lemon water:
Add four glasses of freshly squeezed lemon juice water to your daily routine and watch your blood pressure drop up to 5 percent in just two weeks.4,5 Simply squeeze a half a lemon (more if you like) into a tall glass of water and drink it down. According to researchers a compound in lemon juice, called auraptene, naturally relaxes arteries. Bonus: The vitamin C in antioxidant packed lemon juice fights disease-linked free radicals.
3. Chow on freshly crushed garlic:
Peel one to two cloves of garlic, crush them and eat them every day. The crushed garlic spurs the release of hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide, both of which relax your blood vessels improving blood flow.6,7,8 If you find eating the cloves straight is a bit tough, you can mix them into a little olive oil and spread onto veggie slices such as red peppers, cucumbers or roasted zucchini chips.
4. Snack on avocado:
Most folks think that bananas are high in potassium, but the truth is avocadoes are brimming with far more of this salt balancing mineral. One avocado delivers around 1068 milligrams of potassium, while a banana provides around 422. Potassium can help lower blood pressure in folks who are salt sensitive by shuttling excess sodium out of your body in your urine.9.10 Looking for some variety? Spinach, sweet potatoes and yogurt are also rich in this important mineral.
5. Crunch on celery:
Celery contains an artery relaxing phytochemical called phthalides. And of course relaxed blood vessels mean better blood flow and lower blood pressure.11 Four stalks, or around a cup of chopped celery, a day should be enough to reap the BP benefits. Chew on raw stalks, toss it in your favorite salads or add it to stir fries for a satisfying crunch.
6. Drink beet juice:
Anti-inflammatory beets aren’t just good for your brain health, they’re also tops when it comes to lowering high blood pressure.12.13 In a randomized controlled study 250 ml (around 8.5 ounces) of beet juice a day significantly lowered blood pressure.14 Beets are high in dietary nitrate, which your body converts into the active form of nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). Since NO relaxes and dilates blood vessels your blood pressure naturally drops.
1. “Dairy Consumption, Blood Pressure, and Risk of Hypertension: An Evidence-Based Review of Recent Literature,” Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Feb 28.
2. “Dairy Consumption and Incidence of Hypertension: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies,” Hypertension. 2012 Sep 17.
3. “A systematic review and meta-analysis of elevated blood pressure and consumption of dairy foods,” J Hum Hypertens. 2012 Jan;26(1):3-13.
4. “Antihypertensive effect of auraptene, a monoterpene coumarin from the genus Citrus, upon chronic administration,” Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2015 Feb; 18(2): 153–158.
5. “Effect on Blood Pressure of Daily Lemon Ingestion and Walking,” J Nutr Metab. 2014; 2014: 912684.
6. “Potential of garlic (Allium sativum) in lowering high blood pressure: mechanisms of action and clinical relevance,” Integr Blood Press Control. 2014; 7: 71–82.
7. “Hydrogen sulfide mediates the vasoactivity of garlic,” PNAS, vol. 104 no. 46, 17977–17982,
8. “A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis on the Effects of Garlic Preparations on Blood Pressure in Individuals With Hypertension,” Am J Hypertens, 2015 28 (3) 414-423
9. “Longitudinal Effects of Dietary Sodium and Potassium on Blood Pressure in Adolescent Girls,” JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(6):560-568.
10. “Blood pressure response to changes in sodium and potassium intake: a metaregression analysis of randomised trials,” Journal of Human Hypertension, 2003. 17: p. 471-480
11. “A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Antihypertensive Effect of a Celery Extract in Mild to Moderate Hypertensive Patients,” Natural Medicine Journal, April 2013 Vol. 5 Issue 4
12. “The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease,” Nutrients. 2015 Apr; 7(4): 2801–2822
13. “Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” The Journal of Nutrition. June 1, 2013, Vol. 143 no. 6 818-826.
14. “Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study,” Hypertension. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 Feb 1.
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