One in three American adults has high blood pressure. And millions of us take drugs for it.
But blood pressure medications often don’t work well. And the side effects can be nasty. They include headaches, nausea, fatigue, and sexual problems in men.
You have other options. In addition to exercise and cutting back on salt, diet can make a big difference. Here are 14 foods that can help lower your blood pressure…
1. Bananas. A medium-sized banana contains about 11% of the daily recommended amount of potassium. Potassium lowers blood pressure by balancing the hypertensive effects of sodium.
2. Broccoli. It contains not just potassium but also magnesium and calcium. All three minerals fight hypertension. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is rich in the blood pressure-lowering compound sulforaphane.
3. Dark chocolate. The active ingredient is flavanols, an antioxidant that boosts nitric oxide. This in turn relaxes blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. Doctors recommend an ounce a day. Make sure it’s dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao.
4. Leafy green vegetables. Spinach, kale, collard greens, arugula, watercress, and Swiss chard are high in potassium and magnesium.
5. Pomegranates. A review of the medical literature in the journal Pharmacology Research found that pomegranate juice reduces systolic by five points and diastolic blood pressure by three points on average.
6. Olive oil. It contains polyphenols,which fight inflammation and hypertension. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found people who took olive leaf extract had four points lower blood pressure on average.
7. Cinnamon. An analysis of three studies found that cinnamon lowers blood pressure in diabetes patients by 5.39 points on average. Researchers believe the spice has the same effect in non-diabetics.
8. Fatty fish. A large scientific review of 70 studies found that fish rich in omega-3s help lower blood pressure. These fish include salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, mackerel, and lake trout. Wild-caught fish are your best choice.
9. Kiwi. A study in the journal Blood Pressure found that three kiwis a day reduces hypertension by about four points.
10. Pistachios. Research shows this nut lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. Just a handful daily does the trick.
11. Garlic. It has long been linked to reduced hypertension. One study found that this pungent vegetable lowers systolic blood pressure by 10 points, making it as effective as many blood pressure medications.
12. Yogurt. A study showed people who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week slashed their risk of developing hypertension by 20%. Get full fat, unsweetened yogurt. You can mix it with…
13. Blueberries. They are rich in blood pressure-lowering flavonoids. Other berries that have high flavonoid content include blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Eating a healthy diet can lower your blood pressure by 11 points, according to the Mayo Clinic. This may be enough to allow you quit taking hypertension medications.
Talk to your doctor about whether it would be appropriate for you to address your high blood pressure with healthy foods rather than risky drugs.
Editor’s Note: Air Force fighter pilots discovered a simple trick to lower their blood pressure without drugs or strenuous exercise. Read about this surprisingly effective hypertension solution in our monthly journal Independent Healing. It’s your best source for unbiased, evidence-based solutions to the most common health problems.