Your diet has a big part to play in whether you develop high blood pressure. While it is not the only factor, it makes a difference.
In this article, we’ll consider if some foods that lower blood pressure. Our article focuses on salt, milk, garlic, tea, and chocolate. We also look at fruits and oats.
When in doubt, talk to your doctor.
Salt and High Blood Pressure
We include salt because it is one of the most important foods that can lower blood pressure, by eating less of it.
In the 1970s, Finland decided to run a national campaign to cut back on the consumption of salt. By 2002, the amount of salt that the average person ate reduced by more than 40%. At the same time, the average blood pressure also went down by more than 10 points of pressure. These results reflect the belief that reducing how much salt we eat of salt can lower blood pressure.
In countries like the US and China, we eat too much salt.
A recent survey showed that nine out of ten Americans ate too much salt. Often more than twice the recommended value. The recommended daily value for salt consumption is less than 2.5 grams.
A lot of salt comes from the consumption of processed goods like hot dogs, pancakes, and others.
Can Drinking Milk Lower Your Blood Pressure?
The thought of drinking warm milk might lull some readers into feeling sleepy. Can milk lower your blood pressure? Milk has a variety of actions that could, in theory, reduce blood pressure.
- First, it acts as an ACE inhibitor. The inhibition of the ACE pathway is a popular target for blood pressure-lowering drugs.
- Second, it provides a variety of important nutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Studies have been mixed. In general, they show the limited effect of milk in isolation as a method for lowering blood pressure but support its use in a balanced diet.
Can Drinking Tea Lower Your Blood Pressure?
Tea is one of the most common drinks. Some studies have shown that it might have protective effects on the heart. It might lower blood pressure. Can it?
First, there are a lot of different tea types. You can categorize teas like green, oolong, or black, where green is the least fermented, and black is the most.
Different teas might have different effects. There are also specialty teas like hibiscus tea.
Research has indicated that tea can have impressive effects on lowering blood pressure. Drinking tea can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-thrombotic (or anti-clotting) effects. It can also improving coronary flow reserve.
Does that mean it helps in real life?
The scientific research is mixed and still not conclusive.
One study of 1507 Taiwanese people found that drinking 120-599ml/day of green tea lowered the risk of developing hypertension by 46%.
That same study found that those who drank more than 600ml/day of green tea had a 65% decrease in the risk of developing hypertension.
There are other studies that show different results. Some other studies have shown that consuming green tea lowers the risk of stroke. It may not lower blood pressure.
Tea likely works because it has antioxidants and other protective ingredients. So of the teas, it is possible that green tea has the most protective effect as it is the richest in antioxidants.
Can Chocolate Reduce Your Blood Pressure?
The thought that eating dark chocolate could lower your blood pressure might sound too good to be true. Unfortunately, the science in support of such a use is limited.
The Kuna Indians who live off an island near Panama have a diet very rich in sodium but have low blood pressure. The theory developed that their low blood pressure is due to a diet that is also very rich in cocoa.
The studies into this have shown mixed results. One analysis that grouped together 13 studies into dark chocolate as a treatment to lower blood pressure had several positive studies.
Those studies were open – the people taking the chocolate knew they were doing so.
So in 6 out of the 7 trials where people knew they were being given chocolate, the blood pressure went down. By contrast, in only 1 out of the 6 trials where people didn’t know if they got chocolate or something else, did blood pressure go down.
These results support the claim that consumption of chocolate does not reduce blood pressure.
The studies which showed benefit had different results for different brands. Ritter dark chocolate worked much better than Mars/Dove chocolates.
Can Garlic Lower Your Blood Pressure?
Garlic is one of the most used herbs in general and claimed to lower blood pressure. The theory is that its polysulphides might convert into hydrogen sulfide. This induces blood vessel relaxation.
That said, studies have shown little to no benefit. Although some studies have claimed to show that garlic can lower blood pressure, careful analysis shows that their design has tended to be flawed.
For instance, some do not standardize the way that the blood pressure is measured.
Some of the studies into garlic as a treatment for lowering blood pressure took measurements in different ways. Since changing the position of your arm can lead to up a 10 mmHg change in reading, that is a significant flaw.
Summary of These Foods that Lower Blood Pressure
It’s inconclusive. All 5 have indications that they may help. As isolated substances, the advantages appear to be minimal. That’s said unless we check our blood pressure over time, we won’t know.
Are There any Fruits that Lower Blood Pressure
With our focus on healthy eating, we were curious if there are any other foods that lower blood pressure and are healthy to eat. One that popped up was blueberries. These healthy foods contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are an anti-oxidant compound. A large study of 34,000 people found a reduction of BP of 8% when eating blueberries. Strawberries also have anthocyanins although not as much.
Bananas play a large part in managing hypertension. They containing a large amount of potassium. This reduces the effect of sodium, although that’s not a reason to go and consume more salt! Avocados, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe melon have the same properties.
Other studies have found kiwis, watermelon and pomegranates to have useful properties.
What About Oats?
Oats are known to help high cholesterol. It’s not surprising this natural food comes up as a blood pressure aiding food. It contains beta-glucan as does barley. Beta-glucan has is shown to help fight the high blood pressure battle. That morning bowl of oats is the breakfast you don’t want to skip, unsalted of course!
It proves our point. Healthy foods are plentiful. They are good to eat and all have properties to combat many conditions.
Drinks That Lower Blood Pressure
We know that tea can help. Pomegranate juice and pineapple juice are good for lowering blood pressure. If you feel a little more adventurous, try beet or celery juice.
The best drink of all is water. Drink more water everyday. Replace some of your sugary drinks with glasses of water or infused water.