Recently we reported that dozens of blood pressure medicines were recalled due to containing an ingredient used to make rocket fuel. That is really scary, and if you found that your medication was on the list, you may have been wondering if lifestyle changes can help people become less dependent on their medications.
I’m not a medical professional, but I’ve seen many people turn their life around and lessen their dependence on meds like statins and even insulin. These people have four things in common: they’re determined to change, they adopt a plant-strong diet, cut out the junk and GMOs, and they get active.
Never underestimate the power of food, especially the nutrients that come from greens, vegetables, and antioxidant-rich foods. Another term for antioxidants is anti-aging – it’s the stuff that keeps us alive.
WARNING: the following foods are so powerful that you will want to speak to your doctor before incorporating them. We do not recommend people on blood pressure medications jump in and start eating these foods. Make sure your preferred healthcare practitioner is in the loop and able to supervise your medication levels. Do not take these supplements or eat lots of these foods if on blood thinners. This is serious.
At a glance – 4 foods that lower blood pressure
Here are four foods that are proven to lower blood pressure:
Did you know this ruby-of-a-fruit is technically a berry? This and other berries can go a long way in aiding cardiovascular health. In fact, they can clear out clogged arteries. Pomegranates even help with diabetes, cognition and stroke recovery.
Medical News Today reported:
Drinking 1 cup of pomegranate juice daily for 28 days can lower high blood pressure in the short term, according to the findings of a study from 2012. The researchers attributed this effect to the fruit’s antioxidant content.
This animal study showed that fresh ginger crude extract,
[…] evoked a dose-dependent fall in arterial BP, which is in line with its traditional use in hypertension.24 The possible mode of action was studied in isolated cardiovascular tissue preparations. In the isolated guinea pig paired atria, the extract depressed the force and rate of spontaneous atrial contractions in a dose-dependent manner, similar to verapamil, a standard calcium antagonist.25
Live Science reported:
Turmeric is safe for most people when consumed in amounts found in food. But turmeric can have side effects when taken in large doses. Some supplements contain up to 500 milligrams of turmeric extract, and their labels recommend taking four capsules per day.
High doses of turmeric can lower blood sugar or blood pressure, Ulbricht said, which means people taking diabetes or blood-pressure medication should use caution while taking turmeric supplements. People preparing for surgery should avoid turmeric supplements because turmeric can increase the risk of bleeding. Turmeric may also interfere with how the liver processes certain drugs, so it is best to consult a doctor before taking large doses of turmeric alongside medication.
Lentils drop blood sugar probably faster than any food on earth. They drop blood pressure too. A naturopath once told me that the two are connected and I’ve always found that to be true. I actually avoid lentils unless I’m going out to eat because they drop my blood sugar way too low.
Lentils are “key to beating high blood pressure,” one study found. Dr Zahradka, lead investigator of the Canadian study said,
“The most notable finding of the latest study was the fact that lentils could alter the physical properties of blood vessels so that they resembled the vessels found in healthy animals.”
Carefully monitor your blood pressure and be careful
I once started taking large amounts of ginger powder and turmeric supplements. I went from having the top number of my blood pressure read 135 to 98 in less than 90 days. The nurse asked me if I was a runner! No, I was not exercising in the least. I’m telling you, don’t fool around with supplements that affect your blood pressure or blood sugar too much without help. Stick with the foods in order to be more careful.
Nutritionists believe that potassium is very important to have when you have hypertension.
Did you know? You need 4,700mg of potassium per DAY. That requires lots of vegetation, but on the SAD diet, the high amounts of processed sodium actually displace the potassium you’ve got!
Recipes to incorporate the blood pressure lowering foods
Hot Ginger Lemon Water
Have a cup of this when you wake up and watch your day get energized!
- Fresh ginger (powder works but is very gritty)
- Honey or maple
- Turmeric optional
- Cheese grater
- Heat water as though for a cup of tea.
- Slice half a lemon and break off a thumb of ginger (more to taste).
- Let the water cool a minute and start grating ginger over the mug.
- Squeeze the lemon half over the mug, add sweetener and stir.
- Strain if preferred.
This is especially great when you have a cold or flu, but feel free to have it every day.
Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Bark
Dark chocolate is also considered a blood pressure lowering food (but sugar isn’t). Look for chocolate that is 70% or more cacao.
- Dark chocolate bar, 10 oz chips or baking squares
- 2 cups pomegranate seeds, already separated
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple
- Parchment paper
- Over low heat, stir together the melting chocolate and coconut oil in pan.
- Add syrup.
- Spread melted chocolate on a parchment lined tray or casserole dish.
- Press pomegranate seeds into the chocolate.
- Stick in freezer for half hour before breaking up and enjoying.
Lentil Turmeric Soup
The garlic in this recipe with further help lower blood pressure.
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Celery
- 1 cup brown lentils rinsed
- 2 cups of water
- 1 Tbs coconut oil
- 1-2 tsp cumin
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 32 oz veggie broth
- 1-3 tsp turmeric to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 TBS Basil
- 1 TBS Oregano
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 3 dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
- Lemon juice to taste
- Heat stock pan, add oil and sautee onions and garlic for one minute or until onions begin to become translucent.
- Add carrots and celery and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and spices.
- Add broth, water and lentils.
- Raise to boil, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.
- Optional: Puree 2 cups of the soup and return it to pot.
- Optional: Add greens and lemon juice and cook for five more minutes or until greens are tender.
Foods to avoid with high blood pressure
These foods are bad news for those struggling with high blood pressure:
- Refined carbohydrates
- Hydrogenated/fried oils
- Processed salt
In addition to these four foods mentioned above, eating lots of greens and cruciferous vegetables is important for clearing waste metabolites and carrying nutrients and oxygen through the blood. Never underestimate the power of fruit and its antioxidants for aiding this process and keeping blood pressure low.
One last tip – not a popular thing to say
I know it’s not popular to say this, but having fatty blood from highly fatty foods is really, really hard on blood pressure. I’m mainly talking about large amounts and fried foods, but the American diet is full of excess. If I hadn’t conducted my own experiment I wouldn’t believe it either, but there’s really something to it.
I reduced the fat in my diet only to find that within three days I wanted to faint. Everything dropped way too much. I actually did this because a friend was having her gallbladder removed and she couldn’t eat fat. She felt so much better that I tried it, too. A doctor’s appointment around that time showed a drastic reduction in blood pressure (not the same appointment as when I took ginger and turmeric supplements). After this three day experiment, however, I noticed immediately that I could breathe easier and felt energetic. The sluggishness that nagged me all through young adulthood and beyond dissipated and I keep my energy levels high with greens, fruits, and vegetables as a large portion of my meals.
This is not to say that fat is bad! But I’ve also been in hospital rooms of people who ate a bite of pizza and I watched their blood pressure skyrocket within five minutes. At the very least, try not to mix fats with refined carbohydrates and other sugars.
If you rely on dietary fat, you will want to completely eliminate the heart-damaging canola oil and switch to coconut oil, avocado oil, nuts, olive oil, grass-fed beef, bug-fed free-range chickens and wild caught salmon.
How do you maintain a healthy blood pressure?
Tell us what you like to do to keep your blood pressure in a good range. Leave your comments below!
Thanks for the article.
I’m definitely NOT a medical doctor but consider using a little amount of black pepper with turmeric to aid in absorption. Read up on the proper ratio. I use turmeric for muscle and ligament sprains/strains as it helps opens the blood vessels to bring more nutrients to help repair damaged tissue, ie. connective tissue. This is useful in tried knees as the knee’s synovial fluid bursa sac doesn’t have many blood vessels, nutrients are needed to ‘bath’ the damage areas and help repair them faster.
As turmeric is becoming more known it available in root form. Hopefully the health food stores will not raise, “jack-up”, the price as they did for Coenzyme q10 and Goldenseal. See if it can be growth in your area. Note, some plants are edible, can used as herbs, decorative and deter pests in your garden at the same time.
While there may be a relationship between blood pressure and cholesterol, I mentioned this before, 100% pure cold-pressed virgin olive helped me with HDL, high density lipoprotein “good” cholesterol replacing the lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. ‘California Olive Oil’ is the brand I use. Just do not heat the oil as there a chance it will turn into trans-fat above a certain temperature. My opinion. I not a medical doctor.
Thank you for writing this, Daisy. Taking the side effects into account is really, really important, especially with turmeric. A friend gave me some “turmeric tea” containing turmeric, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom which is intended to reduce inflammation (I have polymyalgia AND fibromyalgia). But I also have low normal blood pressure and I am on oral antidiabetic medication. I have never had a problem with the amounts used to season food, but I drank the equivalent of 2 cups of the “tea” (about 1.5 teaspoons of powdered dried turmeric) in one day, and it felt like both my blood sugar and blood pressure plummeted. I did not have the equipment to measure my blood pressure at the time. but I could hardly move and I had to lie down for quite a while, drink orange juice and coffee, etc. It took quite a while to feel normal again. This might be appropriate for my husband who has higher blood pressures and higher blood sugars. But be careful with turmeric and start small.
Interesting that you had a good experience by cutting down on fats. The keto and paleo diets are very popular and they emphasize fats. I would like to add that there is an herb called gymnema sylvestre that will drop a person’s blood sugar dangerously low.
Jamaica is also helpful in lowering blood pressure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kvr-by9IRW8
This is good stuff to know!
I like to drop a small piece of candied ginger into hot water. It makes quote a delicious drink. I work with someone who adds it to her watermelon juice.
Candied ginger is also good as a sweet treat to adults.