10 Foods & Supplements That Lower High Blood Pressure
Written by: Arthur
We all know someone with high blood pressure, my father had it, his father had it, and I had it. According to the Center for Disease Control, “About 70 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults.” What makes heart disease so dangerous is that there are often no clear warning signs, which prevents individuals from seeking medical help early. This is why high blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer, most people don’t know about it until they have a suffered massive heart attack, stroke, or have simply died. In this blog post, we will discuss a few foods that have shown strong evidence to lower blood pressure. Always remember that hypertension should be treated under a doctor's supervision.
Blood pressure can be described as the amount of force that is exerted as blood flows through the arteries of the body, as the heart pumps. “When blood pushes with too much force through the cardiovascular system, it can damage the walls of the arteries as well as the heart muscle. Damage to the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood can eventually contribute to a heart attack.”  Heart attacks are just one of the many possible results of high blood pressure. Here are a few other possibilities:
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Hypertensive Retinopathy (Loss of eye sight)
- Preeclampsia (Dangerous to Pregnant Women)
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Metabolic Syndrome
I encourage everyone reading this blog post to setup an appointment with a qualified medical care provider and have their blood pressure taken. Even more, take preemptive steps and purchase a decent blood pressure monitor to keep track of your own levels. I have been using this one for a while now with much success. (Click Me) I think that it is very important to take your health into your own hands and make better decisions, eat healthier foods, exercise and maintain good communication with your primary care physician.
So once you get your blood pressure monitor, it important to be able to read the results. You should notice that the results are displayed as a ratio, with one number sitting on top of the other with a line separating them. The top number is called systolic pressure, which refers to the force of blood as your heart pumps. The bottom number is known as the diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure of the blood flowing against your artery walls when your heart is resting between beats.
- Normal blood pressure is considered less than 120/80
- Prehypertension levels are 120 – 139 over 80 through 89
- Stage 1 hypertension levels are 140 – 159 over 90 though 99
- Stage 2 hypertension levels 160 or higher over 100 or higher
- Hypertensive Crisis levels are 180 or higher over 110 or higher
- * This blood pressure list reflects levels defined by the American Heart Association.
One of the first things that doctors do when they find out that their patient has high blood pressure is to prescribe them antihypertensive drugs. Prescribing expensive drugs is usually the answer to most medical problems in western medicine. I am not a medical doctor, so I will tread lightly on this issue. But from my experiences, having had high blood pressure myself and knowing family members who have died from the complications of it, I will say that these drugs definitely help, but changes in lifestyle are just as powerful and important.
I’ve noticed that many doctors will simply give you some pills to take and not recommend any changes in diet, or lifestyle. It’s almost like putting a Band-Aid on a cut that continues to be reopened instead of trying to patch the problem, get to the root issue; examine the actions that are continuously causing the cut to reopen, and reevaluate the lifestyle that caused the individual to develop high blood pressure in the first place. According to Dr. James A. Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy, “About half of the people diagnosed with high blood pressure have borderline to mildly high blood pressure. There is plenty of solid evidence that for them, diet and lifestyle changes, including regular exercise, stress management and self-monitoring with a home blood pressure device, works just as well as drugs, with no side effects.” Speaking of side effects, many of the hypertension drugs, like Beta – Blockers for example, have many strange and serious side effects, such as:
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Asthma Symptoms
My point is that working out a few times a week, eating a diet high in fiber, organic fruits and vegetables can help to solve many problems, including high blood pressure. Avoiding high sodium foods, simple carbs, saturated fats and refined sugar can help as well. From my experiences, diet is one of the easiest ways to keep high blood pressure in check. There are many fruits and vegetables whose natural properties help to lower blood pressure, fight cancer, prevent heart disease, obesity and constipation. So let’s move on to the part of this article that everyone is here for. Here are ten foods and supplements that lower high blood pressure.
Since ancient times, the Chinese have long recognized the multitude of health benefits stemming from consuming raw celery. Modern science has finally caught up and studies are showing celery has antihypertensive properties. There was a study done on lab rats with hypertension. The rats were given celery seed extracts and the results concluded “that celery seed extracts have antihypertensive properties, which appears to be attributable to the actions of its active hydrophobic constitutes such as NBP and can be considered as an antihypertensive agent in chronic treatment of elevated blood pressure.”  NBP stands for 3-n-butylphthalide, which is one of the chemicals that provide celery with its taste and smell. “To treat high blood pressure, doctors usually prescribe diuretics (water pills) to reduce the fluid volume; and vasodilators to relax the arteries to reduce the resistance of blood flow, or beta-blockers to turn down the pumping action of the heart. 3nB appears to help lower blood pressure by acting both as a diuretic and vasodilator, as well as working in a manner similar to drugs known as calcium-channel blockers.” Consuming raw celery is one of the best ways to lower blood pressure, but celery seed extract supplements are the next best thing if you hate the taste of celery. You can find a great brand right here: (Click Me)
Normalizing blood pressure and helping to lower cholesterol are only a few benefits of garlic. For over 5000 years garlic has been used by many ancient civilizations including the Egyptians and Greeks, to treat many illnesses ranging from circulatory disorders and the common cold to fighting infectious diseases. Modern science has proven that garlic is beneficial for many circulatory disorders including blood pressure. “More recently, garlic has been shown to have Blood Pressure-lowering properties. A meta-analysis including 20 clinical trials suggested garlic to be superior to placebo in lowering BP in hypertensive patients on average by 8–9 mmHg in SBP and 6–7 mmHg in DBP, (P less than 0.0001). Trials included in the meta-analysis were considered high quality, reporting adequate allocation concealment, randomization, double blinding, and low attrition.” Allicin, which is chemical found in garlic, has shown to help the immune system, lower total cholesterol, “aid in the prevention of heart-related conditions such as heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke. In addition, garlic/allicin may support the overall health of the circulatory system, which may help in lowering the risk of heart attack and strokes.” Garlic is a wonderful source of many nutrients, but many people are turned off by the smell it produces. They have supplements that have removed the odor, but I feel as though they are not as potent as the ones with the allicin intact. I personally use garlic in almost all my meals and I even take a supplement, which can be found right here: (Click Me)
According to the Denver Naturopathic Clinic, “Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It inhibits nerve transmission in the brain, calming nervous activity.” Tomatoes are high in GABA and some studies have shown that foods rich in GABA have anti-hypertensive properties. There was a study done on the anti-hypertensive effect of GABA-rich Chlorella after oral consumption for 12 weeks in the subjects with high-normal blood pressure and prehypertension. The results showed that GABA-rich Chlorella considerably lowered high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension, and is an excellent supplement for prevention of the advancement of hypertension. Tomatoes are also high in potassium, which helps to lessen the effects of sodium. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is also found in tomatoes and studies have shown that taking around 25mg a day could potentially reduce cholesterol (LDL) by 10%.
Stories, myths and legends have been created and told for thousands of years based on the pomegranate fruit. “In Buddhism, the pomegranate is considered a blessed fruit. In Judaism, it represents sanctity, fertility and abundance.” Pomegranates are a prevailing symbol in Christian art expressing revival and everlasting life. Modern science has helped us to better understand the power behind the Pomegranate and the reason why it has received so much praise by the ancients. Research has exposed that the pomegranate provides three primary benefits which include antioxidant protection, anti-inflammatory relief and hormone balancing. In addition to those three benefits, studies have shown that consuming Pomegranate Juice can decrease the thickness of hardened carotid arteries and lower blood pressure. That study can be found right here: More Info. If you dislike the taste of pomegranate fruit or simply don’t have access to it, here is a supplement that I have tried before and enjoyed the benefits of: (Click Me)
Who doesn’t like bananas; they are one of the most popular fruits to eat, globally, because of their year around availability and cheap price. Besides being packed full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B-6 and Vitamin C, bananas are full of potassium (about 430 mg for a medium sized one) which is an electrolyte that helps to regulate the flow of fluids into and out of the cells in the human body. Potassium also helps to balance the effects of sodium levels. “Much evidence shows that increasing potassium intake has beneficial effects on human health. Epidemiological and clinical studies show that a high-potassium diet lowers blood pressure in individuals with both raised blood pressure and average population blood pressure. Prospective cohort studies and outcome trials show that increasing potassium intake reduces cardiovascular disease mortality.” Including bananas in your diet is a very simple way to fight high blood pressure and increase your overall health.
I love salmon and I eat it multiple times a week. I recommend eating wild caught salmon if you can get it because it contains high levels of an antioxidant known as astaxanthin that farmed raised fish are lacking. Astaxanthin gives salmon its deep red color. Most farmed raised fish are artificially colored (lacking astaxanthin) and I am not even going to discuss all the reasons why that’s horrible. But moving on, fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) which can lower triglyceride levels. “Triglyceride fats are an important source of energy in your body, but at high levels they can hurt your heart. Like cholesterol, triglyceride troubles can lead to clogged arteries and possibly to a heart attack or stroke.” In a placebo-controlled, double-blind experiment, where healthy men and women consumed a control oil or fish oil, in random order, each for 8 weeks, results showed that daily doses of fish oil reduced hypertension. I have heard great reviews about Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil Triple Strength supplement. If eating fish isn’t your thing, you can find the supplement right here: (Click Me)
Like most vegetables, carrots are packed with potassium and antioxidants such as vitamin A and C that not only protect your body from free radicals, cancer and the various effects of ageing, but they also lower your blood pressure and help to heal hardened arteries. There is scientific evidence linking the ingestion of carrots to lower levels of cholesterol. “Carrot consumption modifies cholesterol absorption and bile acids excretion and increases antioxidant status and these effects could be interesting for cardiovascular protection.” Like tomatoes, carrots also contain lycopene, which may decrease the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. If you are interested in a smoothie recipe involving carrots, check out our Carrot Kicker smoothie, which can be found right here (Click Me).
Now I am not a fan of dark chocolate. I have tried it on several different occasions and find the after taste to be way too bitter for me, but there are studies that prove that consistent consumption of cocoa-containing foods are linked to lower cardiovascular mortality and blood pressure. In a randomized, investigator-blinded, controlled experiment, involving 24 women and 20 men, aged 56 and over, (all of whom have hypertension) results showed that eating dark chocolate containing 30 mg of polyphenols, lowered blood pressure and improved development of vasodilative nitric oxide. So for all you dark chocolate lovers out there, just know that your sweet tooth could actually help keep your blood pressure in check.
I remember being a kid and absolutely hating broccoli. My mother would tell me to eat my vegetables or I wouldn’t get any dessert. Well now that I am older and a lot wiser, broccoli is my dessert. Studies have proposed that maintaining a diet full of organic fruits and vegetables like broccoli decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. Broccoli is high in fiber and according to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky, “Individuals with high intakes of dietary fiber appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels.” Get rid of those unhealthy potato chips that you eat for lunch and replace them with two cups of broccoli; your body will thank you.
I’ve always enjoyed sweet potatoes during Thanksgiving. My grandmother use to cook the most delicious ones I’ve ever tasted using cinnamon, but beyond being an iconic food along with turkey during Thanksgiving dinner, sweet potatoes are another vegetable jammed packed full of potassium. One average sized five inch sweet potato contains almost 450 milligrams of potassium, which helps to counteract the effects of sodium. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, Magnesium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B-6. Pop a sweet potato in the oven to soften it and enjoy the delicious taste and the blood pressure lowering benefits.
- Egg Whites
- Flax Seeds
- Hibiscus Tea
So now that you understand how to read blood pressure levels and know a few foods that will help get your numbers in check, it is up to you as the individual to take control of your health and your life. Antihypertensive drugs have saved lives, there is no doubt, but think about how many individuals would have never needed them had they simply modified their lifestyles to included raw fruits, vegetables and consistent exercise. I believe that nature has provided everything that we as humans need to survive and live long healthy lives on this planet. I believe that modern science is finally beginning to understand what the ancients have already proven centuries ago, which is that many of the solutions to our health problems can be found in fruits and vegetables.
All health content on smoothieattack.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.
 Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal
Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World's Foremost
Authority on Healing Herbs
.Page 308. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 1997. Print