Four Blood Pressure-Lowering Beverages for SummerNutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
I frequently take my own blood pressure readings at home, because I am getting older and I have a family history of hypertension. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), which half of all adults in the United States do (according to the American Heart Association), monitoring your blood pressure at home is a great way to be proactive about lowering your blood pressure if you need to. If you know where you stand, that’s half the battle.
Many people have high blood pressure and just don’t know it, because it often does not cause any symptoms. The American Heart Association even calls hypertension a “silent killer,” increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Another way to be proactive about hypertension or high blood pressure is diet. So eating fried, sugary, salty processed foods is a sure way to raise your blood pressure. Eating healthily, as in a natural, nutrient-rich diet, is the way to go if you want to have a healthy blood pressure reading.
And knowing about specific foods and beverages that may help lower your blood pressure is important. For example, if you do a blood pressure reading at home and notice that your blood pressure is a bit on the high side, you might choose to consume something that could help lower it (and keep these foods and beverages readily available in your home).
- Coconut Water
Many people may already be aware that coconut water may help lower blood pressure. Coconut water is a rich source of potassium. According to the American Society for Nutrition, coconut water contains “600-680 mg of potassium (12%-14% of daily value), 40-60 mg of sodium (2%-3% of daily limit) and up to 6% and 10% of your daily calcium and magnesium needs.” These are all minerals that are important to maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. For example, potassium may help to lower blood pressure by flushing excess sodium from the body via the kidneys.
“Foods with potassium can help control blood pressure by blunting the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you process out of the body. It also helps relax blood vessel walls, which helps lower blood pressure,” according to the American Heart Association.
And recently I came across an article that discusses three other drinks that may help lower your blood pressure.
- Green Tea
You have probably heard that green tea is a very healthy beverage. It is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols and has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. And the article discusses a study which found evidence suggesting that drinking green tea may help lower blood pressure.
The study involved stroke-prone hypertensive rats. Some of the rats were given black tea polyphenols, and some of the rats were given green tea polyphenols. The results revealed that the protective properties of both black and green tea polyphenols helped fight hypertension, but green tea proved to be most effective in the long run.
Kombucha, which we have previously blogged about, is a unique, fizzy drink often touted for its benefits on gut health. This drink is full of probiotics and antioxidants. And the probiotics present in kombucha may have a positive effect on blood pressure as well as your gut.
Many medical experts say that the health of your gut determines the health of everything else related to your body. So it would make sense that if you are keeping your gut healthy, your blood pressure is more likely to be at a healthy level.
A wide body of research suggests that probiotics may have blood pressure lowering effects, but more research is needed and it depends on the species of probiotics consumed. Kombucha is a great beverage because it has a diverse probiotic content.
- Beetroot Juice
We previously blogged about the potential health benefits of consuming beets. And you may want to consider beetroot juice as a viable summer beverage option. The article discusses research involving 64 volunteers who drank a cup of beetroot juice a day.
“The participants, who were all high blood pressure patients, drank 150ml of the vegetable juice a day and were found to have blood pressure levels back in what is considered the normal range,” according to the article.
“Beets contain naturally high levels of nitrates, which your digestive system converts into nitric oxide. This compound relaxes and widens blood vessels, which, in turn, lowers blood pressure,” according to Harvard Health.
Then there are also those beverages that may raise your blood pressure
Consuming alcoholic beverages and drinking too much caffeine (green tea contains caffeine, however, a cup should generally not cause any issues, especially since it contains compounds that may lower your blood pressure) may raise your blood pressure. If you have hypertension, watching your caffeine intake and avoiding alcohol is advised.
Also keep in mind that it is best to consult a competent healthcare professional regarding what foods and beverages you are including in your daily diet if you have kidney problems or are taking certain medications. Read here for seven nutrients that may help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Finally, it is advisable to take routine nutrient tests to see if you need to address any toxins, like mercury in your body which may cause hypertension. Nutrient imbalances such as with potassium and magnesium can also be discovered with these tests. If you are not nutritionally balanced, this will increase your risk of hypertension and reduce your ability to maintain a healthy blood pressure. If necessary, a competent healthcare professional can help you make the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements so that you can attain nutritional balance.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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