- May 14, 2018 -
The Beet Goes On
Patients who are having trouble lowering their blood pressure should consider drinking a daily glass of beet juice. In a 2015 British study of 64 patients with high blood pressure, half were taking medication but hadn’t met their target BP, while the other half had not started medication. The subjects were randomly assigned to drink either beet juice or a placebo daily. After a month, the beet juice drinkers dropped their systolic blood pressure (the top number) by eight points — an improvement similar to taking medication, researchers noted — while there was no change in BP among the placebo group.
Say Yes to Yogurt
The probiotics in yogurt and other fermented foods (including some cheeses) can help lower your blood pressure, Australian researchers recently reported. The key is eating probiotic-rich food daily. Eating it for less than eight weeks didn’t lower BP, but longer than that saw systolic pressure (the top number) drop by an average of 3.6 mmHg. When choosing your daily yogurt, just be sure the label says "live and active cultures."
Switch to Decaf
If you’re having trouble controlling your blood pressure, switching to decaf coffee might help, according to coffee expert Rob van Dam, an adjunct assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard. Caffeine can cause a spike in blood pressure lasting more than three hours if you have hypertension (high BP) and you’re not a regular coffee drinker, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported.
The Dark Side
Chocolate as blood pressure medicine — what a great idea! But it really can help. Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, natural compounds that cause dilation of the blood vessels, said Harvard researchers who analyzed 24 chocolate studies. The higher the cocoa content, the better it is for your health. Look for dark chocolate bars that say they contain 70 percent cacao.
Besides which foods to eat, here are 15 things you should know about blood pressure.