What makes this clinically supported fact true?
The nitrates and minerals in certain foods lower blood pressure. Several studies support how nutrients in specific foods act as natural vasodilators. The foods that show the most effective results are high in potassium, magnesium, nitrates and calcium. Other beneficial properties include the various Omega oils, flavonoids, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Studies have found the following foods to be effective in lowering blood pressure:
- mixed berries
- whole grains
- low fat dairy
- dark chocolate
- cold water fish
- black beans
Blueberries and Mixed Berries
Fact: One serving of blueberries a week can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Blueberries, contain anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help protect your body from high blood pressure (hypertension).
Mixed Berries: Berries are deliciously low in calories and are rich in polyphenols, additional antioxidants, and fiber. Top performing, heart healthy berries include: blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. What a great combo! This trio has been proven to help lower blood pressure and also provide healthy doses of Vitamin C and potassium.
- anthocyanin: provides the red and blue pigment found in berries and is related to vitamin E.
- polyphenol: a type of antioxidants linked to the reduction of heart disease.
Chocolate, certain teas and red wine are also known to be rich in polyphenols. Remember, moderation is key. Overindulgence in chocolate and red wine would obviously bring you adverse effects.
Whole Grain and High Fiber Cereals
Fact: A bowl of whole-grain, high-fiber cereals like oatmeal, oat squares, bran flakes or shredded wheat, can reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure (hypertension).
Proof: Harvard University researchers found that 73% of their study participants were able to reduce the required dose of their blood pressure medication in half, if not entirely, by consuming whole grain, high fiber cereals for 12 weeks.
Purpose: The benefit is produced by the fiber and magnesium found in oats. both have beneficial effects on blood pressure. The ingredients in oats have also been found to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, the plaque buildup that occurs in blood vessels.
Shoot for 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of whole grain cereals daily or at the very least, every other day. Increase the benefit by adding mixed berries to your cereal.
Fact: Baked potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium. These two minerals in particular are proven to reduce high blood pressure.
Studies have shown Americans lack a healthy consumption of potassium and primarily, magnesium. Magnesium and potassium intake can be boosted by adding white potatoes, bananas and soybeans to our regular diet.
Did you know? If your body is low in potassium you naturally retain sodium? Too much sodium naturally causes the body to raise blood pressure. Not good. Also, if your body has sufficient potassium it will naturally get rid of sodium.
Supplements: Beware of taking any potassium supplements that are not prescribed by your physician. Large amounts of potassium can cause serious health issues.
By the way, a fully loaded backed potato tastes great, but loads of butter, cheese and bacon are not exactly heart and waistline healthy choices.
Fact: Beets are rich in heart healthy nitrates. One particular study by, Queen Mary University of London, found nitrates in beet juice has the same effect as a nitrate tablet. Impressive!
Purpose: Nitrates help lower and regulate blood pressure. Nitrogen is a part of all living cells and makes up about 80% of the air we breathe. Nitrogen is also the main element found in amino acids and protein. Prescription nitrates are used to help relieve angina. It is a vasodilator. Vasodilators prompt the veins to dilate and widen, relieving the pressure causing the chest pain.
Other nitrate rich foods are: spinach and lettuce.
Skim Milk and other Low Fat Dairy
Fact: Skim milk provides healthy doses of calcium and Vitamin D. In addition, low fat dairy products contain magnesium and potassium. These nutrients and minerals can help reduce blood pressure by 3% - 10%.
Interesting findings: It is easier for the body to absorb the calcium in dairy if the product is low fat. This is known as, bioavailability. Incidentally, in one particular study, the women who regularly ate low fat dairy products reduced their chances of developing hypertension by 11%. Plus, calcium is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
Additional Research: In 2006, Harvard Medical School researchers concluded participants who ate more than three servings per day of low fat dairy had a systolic blood pressure reading 2.6 points lower than those who ate less than half a serving of low fat dairy per day.
What does this mean? Include skim milk, low fat cheese, and yogurt with your three daily meals, or as an in-between snack and you will likely lower your blood pressure by a couple points.
Fact: According to the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), eating half an ounce of dark chocolate every day may help lower blood pressure.
What happens when we eat dark chocolate? Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids naturally cause the dilation of the blood vessels.
Researchers recommend dark chocolate with 60% - 80% cacao.
Fact: Spinach is a rich source of potassium and magnesium. These two minerals help keep blood levels stable.
Improved potassium levels help keep sodium at a healthy level. If the body retains or elevates sodium levels our blood pressure will rise.
Fact: Celery has long been known to aid in lowering blood pressure. The phytochemicals in celery relax the muscle tissue in our artery walls. The result is increased blood flow and a lowering of blood pressure.
How much celery should we eat to gain results? Studies suggest eating four stalks of celery every day for lowering blood pressure.
Cold Water Fish
Fact: Cold water fish is rich in Omega-3. These essential fatty acids are highly beneficial for cardiovascular health. Omega-3 is known to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
What is cold water fish? Types of cold water fish include wild salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, cod and herring. Sardines are also a great source of Omega-3.
Note: Farm raised fish is not known to provide effective results. The best sources of Omega-3 fish oil comes from cold water fish.
How it works: Omega-3 acts differently than the natural vasodilators found in the previously listed foods. Instead, Omega-3 is a blood thinner, which makes pumping easier on our hard working heart. In addition, thinner blood helps reduce the incidence of dangerous clots.
How much cold water fish should we consume to gain cardiovascular benefits? The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of cold water, fatty fish per week.
Fact: Broccoli is a rich source of potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C and even calcium. Studies have shown all of these properties help reduce blood pressure.
Interesting findings: If you're not one to have citrus or juices you might want to consider more broccoli. Just 1/2 a cup of broccoli contains a daily serving of vitamin C. As far as your blood pressure is concerned, vitamin C is an antioxidant and it promotes normal blood pressure.
Fact: Dandelion is a natural diuretic and most blood pressure medications include a diuretic. High sodium levels provoke the body to retain fluid and the consumption of dandelion can alleviate this effect.
Dandelion can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can have them steamed, freshly chopped in your salads, as a tea or even as a capsule. Aside from its effect as a natural diuretic, dandelion is rich in magnesium. As stated before, magnesium relaxes and dilates blood vessels. This improves blood flow and relieves the heart from having to work harder.
Fact: Black beans are a rich source of fiber, folate and magnesium. Folate is a B complex vitamin that has been shown to reduce blood pressure. In particular, the systolic portion.
Systolic pressure is the top number found in a blood pressure reading and it represents the force of the blood flow when the heart beats. In other words, the pressure required by the heart to deliver blood throughout the whole body is systolic pressure. The diastolic pressure is the return of blood when the heart is in its relaxed state from the last beat.
Additional findings: Black beans have an impressive fiber to protein ratio. This combination promotes lower cholesterol levels and it regulates blood sugar. In turn, the regulation of cholesterol and blood sugar supports the maintenance of healthy blood pressure levels.
What serving do you need to reap the benefits of black beans? A daily serving of one cup of black beans will provide your body with many nutrients and benefits.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this hub should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. Please consult a physician for medical and dietary advice and treatment. Blood pressure should not be treated without the supervision of a medical professional.
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on February 12, 2016:
Thank you! We all need a friendly reminder now and then - your sister is lucky to have you.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 10, 2016:
I'm back once again to share your informative hub with my sister. She has high blood pressure and I've warned her many times about her diet. I'm sending her this great hub and hoping she will follow a diet that includes these foods you've listed. Sometimes family members don't follow advice from within the family, but they will if someone else gives them the same information. Thanks again missolive.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 17, 2015:
We had been limiting our intake of potato but you mentioned it here as one of the foods for lowering blood pressure. Do you think sweet potato will do as well?
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on July 20, 2015:
vocalcoach- Hi Audrey! It is always a pleasure to see you have read one of my hubs. I know you have always been an advocate of healthy eating and I'm glad you enjoy all of these nutritious food choices in your daily diet. It gives me great joy to do my research and provide the information available to readers. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 19, 2015:
This hub is an excellent resource for keeping a good blood pressure reading. I love all the foods you've listed and eat them regularly. Thank you missolive for helping us all to live healthier lives.
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on July 16, 2014:
online4, thank you very much, I'm glad you liked it and I hope you have found it to be beneficial.
online4 on July 16, 2014:
Great hub! thanks for this hub.
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on June 27, 2014:
TotalHealth, thank you! How right you are about stretching and breathing, it truly does make a difference. I grew up in the dance world and have a degree in dance, kicking off my shows and doing floor exercises ....ahhhh heaven! :)
Thank you for stopping by to read and comment, it is greatly appreciated.
TotalHealth from Hermosa Beach, CA on June 26, 2014:
Useful information. To further decrease high blood pressure and reduce hypertension I would add stretching, yoga, and meditation 3-4 times per week. Even 5-minute breathing exercises has been shown to improve these conditions.
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on May 04, 2013:
Deepak, thank you! I'm glad to share. I really do hope this is useful to many readers.
prettynutjob, hi there! Wow, thank you so very much. I appreciate your great comment, votes and shares.
anupma, I am happy to hear you have found this hub to be informative. You are so right, awareness can help us reduce disease. Maybe by applying the foods on the list above we can help reduce high blood pressure for many. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Dr Anupma Srivastava from India on April 29, 2013:
Very informative hub. Thanks for sharing with us. Awareness can help to reduce diseases.
Mary from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on April 29, 2013:
Great informative hub, very well written, voted up, more and shared.
Deepak Chaturvedi from New Delhi, India on April 29, 2013:
Yes you have a good list for good cause.Thanks to share this valueable information here with us.
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on December 01, 2012:
Austinstar, Lela, yes, bananas are a great source of potassium and magnesium and so are potatoes. You are correct. Thanks for stopping by.
Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on November 27, 2012:
Bananas? I heard they were high in potassium and lowered BP. Also, raw potatoes have the highest K+ count of all these foods. Am I right?
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on September 18, 2012:
AloBeDa, you are quite welcome....and thank you! :)
Alobeda from The Global Village on September 18, 2012:
Thank you missolive. GodBless
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on September 10, 2012:
mperrottet, thank you so much. Yes, potatoes surprised me as well. Although they are healthy, they are also starchy. They may not be the best choice for everyone, especially diabetics. Thanks for the votes.
ercramer36, you are quite welcome. The potassium in potatoes are the primary reason they are great for lowering your BP. The hard part is avoiding all those wonderful toppings...that is where the unhealthy fats come in. Sigh!
NiaG, great testimony on how milk (dairy) and exercise have helped you. Frozen spinach would be a better option if fresh is not easily available. As for canned beans, what I do is I rinse the canned beans in a colander before cooking them or using them in salads. This helps quite a bit as most of the sodium is in the liquid. Great question and an excellent point, thanks. As always - fresh is better, 2nd option is frozen and if you must go with canned...be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse.
NiaG from Louisville, KY on September 07, 2012:
Awesome hub! I knew some of these because of my borderline HTN. I do find that the combination of milk and exercise helps keep it down by enough points that I'm not as worried about it.
I do have a question and maybe you can answer it. With the black beans and spinach, do you think it would be a catch 22 by purchasing canned vs fresh? Though it's convenient to buy canned the sodium in either might cause an increase rather than a lower BP. Or do you think their natural properties of lowering BP would supercede the sodium content in a can of each?
Eric Cramer from Chicagoland on September 07, 2012:
Thanks for the great information! I never would have thought potatoes help to lower blood pressure.
Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on September 07, 2012:
Beautifully designed hub, and so informative. I'm surprised and glad that potatoes are beneficial. I'm trying to keep my blood pressure under control through natural methods since it runs in my family, and mine has approached borderline high a few times. Very helpful article - voted up!
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on September 04, 2012:
AloBeDa, it seems like he would need potassium and magnesium from low glycemic foods. This means steering away from starches or sugary foods. I would personally have half a banana instead, but he could also enjoy more of the green leafy veggies and salads - spinach, broccoli, celery and a variety of legumes (beans). I do hope he finds a nice combo that is delicious and healthy for his particular needs. Thanks for the great question. Perhaps a nutritionist could provide some advice?
Alobeda from The Global Village on September 01, 2012:
My husband loves bananas but has been advised against eating them because he has diabetes type 2. Can you advice on an alternative to bananas please?
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on August 25, 2012:
maggs224, thank you so much for your wonderful and supportive comment. I have given all of these foods a try to I am seeing results. When I eat these foods regularly, I feel better and my BP does drop. I appreciate your readership and votes.
maggs224 from Sunny Spain on August 20, 2012:
An excellent and informative hub jam packed with useful and practical info, I love that the mixed berries are beneficial.
I love berries of any kind so I shall be adding those to my must eat list I can use all the help I can get, and fruit like this is such a healthy and tasty way too.
I am voting this hub up and hitting some buttons on my way out.
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on August 20, 2012:
Rusticliving, hi Lisa! Thank you so much. I'm honored to know this is on your fridge. I appreciate the great comments, thumbs up and share.
My Minds Eyes, you are quite welcome. I do hope to see you back.
Maude Keating from Tennessee on August 20, 2012:
I don't have time to read this now, but thank you, I really needed something like this.
I will vote up and comment more when I come back, I have saved it in my favorites.
Liz Rayen from California on August 20, 2012:
Besides the absolute brilliant way you have designed your hub, the information is spot on and so informative. I have printed this one out and have magnetized its little self to my fridge! Great job and thanks so much for this article my little olive! *hugs* Thumbs up and shared!
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on June 26, 2012:
Hi there B. Leekley, I'm thrilled and honored that you thinks so. I'm very pleased to see you have stopped by. Thanks a million.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on June 25, 2012:
Thanks for the informative hub. Good to know.
Marisa Hammond Olivares (author) from Texas on June 25, 2012:
Moonmaiden, DailyHealth, teaches12345, Victoria Lynn, daskittlez69, Virtual Treasures, Mommiegee, MizBejabbers, Iintertrans, maheshpatwal, RealHousewife, jpcmc and old albion.
Thanks everyone for all of your wonderful and supportive comments. So many of us have high blood pressure or know someone that does. It is nice to know there are clinically proven foods to help lower it. I appreciate all of you for stopping by to read and comment. Thanks for all the shares and votes too.
A few side notes -
Victoria Lynn, yes, bananas are rich in potassium and are another great choice. My dad loved them and used to eat them all the time.
MizBejabbers, It is my understanding that cold water fish that grows naturally in its cold water region has a greater supply of omega-3 oils. These essential oils are great for your heart. Farm raised fish or warm water fish do not seem to have these same oils or benefits.
Thanks again to all - to your health! Cheers!
Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on June 15, 2012:
Hi MissOlive. Thanks for this interesting and helpful hub, just the job.
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on June 14, 2012:
I'm happy that dark chocolate is one of the good guys. :)
Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on June 14, 2012:
Wow! This is a beautiful hub! Maybe the very nicest layout I have ever seen! Fantastic!
The info is great too - and no wonder I have low BP - I eat so much of what you have listed regularly. Hmm! Didn't even know it was good for me!
maheshpatwal from MUMBAI on June 14, 2012:
Very well researched and detailed analysis shown in the hub. I never knew cocoa or chocolate can be very useful in lowering blood pressure. Thanks a lot for writing this useful and informative hub.
Iintertrans from New Delhi on June 14, 2012:
That is really worth reading and very delicious see those colour full foods. thanks for giving this tous.
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on June 14, 2012:
There are some really interesting findings here that I haven’t read before. It is especially interesting that adequate potassium prevents an accumulation of sodium in the body. Also I wonder why “farm-raised fish is not known to provide effective results”? Could it be because the farm-raised fish are fed a different diet (usually lots of corn) from the naturally occurring diets of wild fish? I noticed that catfish weren’t listed here. Most consumed are now farm-raised, and they really do taste differently from the wild catfish we used to catch from the river. Thanks for a good hub and for sharing.
Mommiegee from Alabama on June 14, 2012:
Thanks you so much for sharing this. This is so helpful.
Tonja Petrella from Michigan on June 14, 2012:
I have to be honest...I didn't know there were foods you could eat to actually lower your blood pressure. This is great information I'm going to have to share with my hubby. His family has a long history of heart disease and hypertension.
daskittlez69 from midwest on June 14, 2012:
This Hub is a lifesaver, literally. Thank you so much.
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on June 14, 2012:
Very helpful hub. I've heard that bananas also help b/c of their potassium...? Thanks for writing this. I like to be reminded of these sorts of healthy tips! Sharing!
Dianna Mendez on June 13, 2012:
I am sharing this on my facebook as I know some people who would benefit from reading this. Thanks for the healthy choice options that will help to lower blood pressure. A valuable hub topic and so well covered!
DailyHealth on June 13, 2012:
MissOlive - This is a great hub. It clearly outlines the benefits of these foods in lowering high blood pressure. Thanks for the information.
Fayme Zelena Harper from Lucerne Valley, CA on June 13, 2012:
Thank you Miss Olive. This clarified for me some of the right choices I can make to help with my blood pressure issues.