If you are either dealing with or at risk of high blood pressure, you’re putting your body in danger of further complications such as heart and kidney problems, stroke, and even vision problems. Although there’s a chance your hypertension can be genetic, there’s also a good chance that your diet plays a major factor.
Thankfully, just as your eating and drinking habits can lead to high blood pressure, changing them can lower it. We spoke with Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFTand Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFTauthors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure and members of our Medical Expert Board, to highlight the drinking habits to follow if you have high blood pressure. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, be sure to check out 8 Worst Eating Habits If You Have High Blood Pressure, Say Dietitians.
According to the Nutrition Twins, this smoothie is packed with potent phenolic antioxidants: antioxidants that react with a variety of free radicals and may help lower blood pressure.
“Cherry juice’s effect is so powerful that it is comparable to blood pressure-lowering medications,” says The Nutrition Twins. “One study found that when men with high blood pressure drank cherry juice, it lowered their blood pressure by 7%.”
The Nutrition Twins also suggest that you can also pour a little cherry juice into your yogurt or oatmeal for extra flavor as well as reap the blood pressure-lowering benefits.
“You can lower your blood pressure significantly in 12 weeks by drinking green tea,” say The Nutrition Twins. “Although it’s hard to pinpoint how much tea it takes, research shows that you can lower your systolic blood pressure by 2.6 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.2 mm Hg and it appears that three to four cups of tea daily will do the trick. “
Although it seems like a lot of intake per day, the Nutrition Twins advise that it’s easier than you think. This is because the teacups are smaller than drinking glasses and are closer to four to six ounces in size. Therefore, you’d only be drinking about 12 to 16 ounces. They also suggest that you can also swap out your Frappuccino snack for a matcha latte to get your green tea fix.
Research published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that beetroot juice has an important effect on blood pressure. This is thanks to their nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide.
“Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and dilates them, decreasing blood pressure,” The Nutrition Twins explain. “This can offer additional benefits for your workout since beet juice helps blood vessels dilate, increases blood flow to muscles during exercise, and decreases the number of oxygen muscles needs as they’re able to work more efficiently and move faster.
However, for ongoing benefits, the Nutrition Twins advise that you must continue to drink the beetroot juice and make it part of your routine.
“Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and lettuce are rich in the blood pressure regulating nutrients, potassium, and magnesium,” says The Nutrition Twins.
According to the Nutrition Twins, potassium helps the kidneys to excrete salt, which in turn reduces blood pressure. The leafy greens also include nitrates. If you can squeeze about one cup of them into your smoothie, research suggests that you can see real benefits as a result.
For ways to incorporate leafy greens into a smoothie, try the Nutrition Twins’ Metabolism Boosting Morning Green Smoothie, which has both the desired veggies as well as green tea for a double blood pressure-lowering effect.
This is different for both men and women. If you’re a female, the limit is one alcoholic drink daily. If you’re a male, it’s two a day.
“This is good news for many; if you were drinking a good deal more before, you can lower your blood pressure as much as 4mm Hg by drinking moderately,” says The Nutrition Twins.
According to the Nutrition Twins, one drink equals 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
However, they warn to be careful not to drink more than this, as it can have the opposite effect and raise blood pressure. They also note that if you don’t already drink, don’t start; the blood pressure lowering effects occur after cutting back heavy drinking to drinking in moderation.
Kayla Garritano is a Staff Writer for Eat This, Not That! She graduated from Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and double minored in Marketing and Creative Writing. Read more