My brother was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, so I thought it would be a good time to look at foods which can help lower blood pressure in a completely natural way. If you take medication, or have been advised to, I certainly wouldn’t recommend going against your doctor’s advice. However, there are lots of common foods which can help you stay healthy—and which taste good, too!
I’ve consulted two of my favourite herbals to come up with this list—details follow at the bottom for anyone who’d like to find out more.
Garlic has been used as a medicine for more than 3,000 years and is known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and even help prevent cancer. The Herbal Drugstore recommends eating one to three raw or lightly-cooked garlic cloves every day. If you can’t handle the smell (or your partner can’t!), it can be taken as a supplement in capsule form.
(Be aware that garlic may increase the effects of blood thinners.)
Celery has been used by Chinese healers for centuries to treat high blood pressure, and studies have shown that it contains a chemical called 3-butylphthalide, which reduces blood pressure in animals. It is also reputed to help against rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
A friend of mine reports good results from eating a couple of sticks a day.
Foods high in Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium
These include nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, peas and beans, whole grains, tofu, bananas, oranges, apples, avocados and melons. Plenty there to choose from!
As well as containing fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion, whole grains and vegetables contain nutrients which help to control blood pressure. These foods make you feel full quicker, so can also help you lose weight (and being overweight, of course, is not good for your blood pressure).
As an added benefit, studies show that eating foods rich in potassium, magnesium and fibre also protects against stroke.
Fish such as salmon and mackerel are rich in essential fatty acids, which relax artery walls, thereby reducing blood pressure. Look for fish which is sustainably caught—let’s protect our seas for the future.
Click here for lots of good info: http://www.goodfishguide.org/
Yes, dandelion. This humble garden weed is actually a powerhouse of nutrients, including potassium. Dandelion leaf gently increases urine flow, which in turn helps to lower blood pressure. Throw a few baby leaves or chopped large ones into a mixed salad. They are a little bitter, but tasty too, and well worth getting used to.
I also make a refreshing dandelion drink which is good for the liver: simply simmer chopped dandelion roots for ten minutes and add sugar to taste.
Obviously, be sure to check anything you eat hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.
Good luck, and let me know how you get on.
The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B. White and Steven Foster
The New Herb Bible by Earl Mindell