7 Drinks That Lower High Blood Pressure
Sipping something fun brings a little joy to the day. If you're managing high blood pressure, these beverages can do double-duty for your taste buds and healthier blood vessels.
The American Heart Association states that nearly 50% of American adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. With such a high prevalence in our society, a great place to start focusing on prevention is understanding how nutrition can potentially help lower high blood pressure. One of the sneakiest ways people often hurt their health isn’t just with what they eat—but what they drink. So it’s key to make sure you’re making the right choices…and it’s probably easier than you think to sip drinks that lower blood pressure.
Two specialists on blood pressure health shared a few of their favorite heart healthy options with The Healthy @Reader’s Digest. Dr. Nick West, MD, is a cardiologist, the Chief Medical Officer, and the Divisional Vice President of Global Medical Affairs at Abbott’s Vascular Business, and Kimberly Snodgrass, RDN, LD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, .
“While these drinks alone cannot be truly classified as a treatment on their own—except perhaps in cases of very modestly-elevated blood pressure—they are a very useful adjunct to prescribed antihypertensive/blood pressure-lowering medications and should be considered part of a patient’s holistic management for high blood pressure,” says Dr. West.
Low-Fat or Nonfat Milk
Having a cup of milk a day could help lower high blood pressure. “It is well-known that low fat or nonfat milk is fortified with vitamin D, a vitamin that promotes healthy blood pressure,” Snodgrass says.
Next time you’re craving a warm, steaming mug cradled between your hands, try some hibiscus tea. “Hibiscus tea contains anthocyanins, a group of deep red, purple and blue pigments found in plants, and other antioxidants, or compounds that inhibit oxidation, a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals,” Snodgrass says. “Some researchers have found that anthocyanins and other antioxidants may help blood vessels resist damage that can cause them to narrow.”
This juice is one that Snodgrass likes to drink often! Pomegranate juice has been shown to improve systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
Dr. West adds that it contains antioxidants and is rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C.
“Beets are rich in dietary nitrates, a compound known to have blood pressure-lowering effects,” Snodgrass says.
Dr. West adds that beets are rich in nitrates, and that “raw beet juice lowers blood pressure as well as contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Its efficacy is backed up by a randomized clinical trial showing improvements in blood pressure, as well as indices of systemic inflammation.”
Tomato juice has been shown to improve both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. “I enjoy tomatoes on my salad,” Snodgrass says. “I have also found that many people enjoy tomato juice. Tomato juice has been shown to improve both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”
Dr. West advises to reach for the unsalted variety, “as it has been shown to reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol in clinical studies, and contains vitamin C and antioxidants.”
Berries are full of antioxidants, great for anti-aging benefits. “I enjoy fresh blueberries in my oatmeal,” Snodgrass says. “Some people enjoy berry juice, and it has been found that consuming berries lowered both systolic blood pressure. You can add berries to oatmeal or as a snack to get more antioxidants into your diet.”
The Healthy @Reader’s Digest’s Medical Review Board co-chair Latoya Julce notes that if you’re buying berry, tomato, beet or pomegranate juice for your heart health, you should opt for fresh or unprocessed juice. “Canned juices usually have added sugar and high sodium, which can have the opposite effect.”
Tea And Coffee
Dr. West said that both tea and coffee have blood pressure lowering effects, “although tea’s benefits are more clear-cut: While both black and green tea lowered blood pressure in a recent meta-analysis of all available trial data, green tea was more efficacious. ”
Coffee is more controversial as acute effects of coffee and caffeine intake include a rise in blood pressure. However, Dr. West says moderate coffee consumption over a longer period of time seems to show both cardiovascular risk and blood pressure-lowering effects.