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Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

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Healthy adults can use foods that lower blood pressure to naturally lower risk of heart disease. A normal blood pressure reading is 119/79 mm Hg or lower. Prehypertension starts when readings fall between 120/80 mm Hg and 139/89 mm Hg. When numbers reach 140/90 mm Hg or higher, patients are diagnosed with high blood pressure. Common symptoms of high blood pressure include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations
  • shortness of breath

Foods that lower blood pressure may help patients control systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure and bring levels within normal limits. Here are six herbs and foods that may help lower blood pressure.

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Beans

Beans - soy, white, navy, pinto, kidney, black and lima - contain potassium and magnesium. Potassium helps control sodium concentrations in the body. When potassium levels drop, more sodium is retained and blood pressure rises. Adding potassium to your diet can lower sodium retention and help bring blood pressure in line. Magnesium, also present in beans, may lower blood pressure as well, because potassium and sodium work together.

Celery

Phthalides are phytochemicals found in celery. These phytochemicals work as muscle relaxers for the heart. As the muscles of the arterial walls relax, blood flow increases and the heart doesn't have to pump as hard, lowering blood pressure.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain natural antioxidants, including lycopene and vitamin E. Antioxidants are important because they prevent chemical damage to cells that line the blood vessels.  Antioxidant-rich foods that lower blood pressure fight the effects of free radicals and allow the cells lining the blood vessels to produce hypertension-fighting chemicals like nitric oxide.  

Green Tea

Green tea is a healthy replacement for coffee that's proven to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure. Green tea is also a strong antioxidant, which works to reduce the effect of free radicals. Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee. Some researchers believe caffeine constricts blood vessels, causing the heart to increase pressure to pump enough blood throughout the body.

Does Caffeine Raise Blood Pressure?

Reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH

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