Photo of mixed nuts
Nuts, such as walnuts and pistachios, are among the foods that can hep lower blood pressure

6 foods that can help lower blood pressure

30 October, 2013

High blood pressure is known as theĀ  ‘silent killer’ because it generally has no symptoms but if left unchecked can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Treating it is always tricky. Doctors generally prescribe a laundry list of drugs including diuretics, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, though these don’t always produce the intended results and they can produce debilitating adverse effects.

Here at Natural Health News we’re always on the lookout for alternatives that work. So it was great to see the latest issue of the journal Food Technology highlight six foods that have been shown in studies to have a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure. Here’s a summary of some of the evidence.

Grape seed extract
Results from a study of 32 pre-hypertensive adult subjects showed that a patented grape seed extract may help to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after just eight weeks . In another study, 36 pre-hypertensive adult subjects were either given a drink with a placebo or grape seed extract. The participants that consumed the grape seed extract experienced significant reductions in blood pressure compared to those who consumed the placebo.

A study showed that 56 g of walnuts a day reduced systolic blood pressure and did not lead to weight gain. In another study, 28 subjects with high cholesterol showed reductions in systolic blood pressure after one serving of pistachios a day.

Beetroot juice
Beetroot juice contains dietary nitrate which may help relax blood vessel walls and improve blood flow. A study showed that a cup of beetroot juice a day may help lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Dairy foods
While additional research is still being conducted, several studies have showed that a diet with more dairy and nuts, but less meat, is related to a lower risk of developing hypertension, and associated with having lower systolic blood pressure.

During a 12-week study, researches gave 46 pre-hypertensive subjects raisins or other snacks equal in calorie value three times a day. At weeks four, eight and 12 weeks, subjects eating the raisins showed a significantly reduced systolic blood pressure.

A study examined the effects of dietary flaxseed on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in subjects with narrowed arteries (peripheral artery disease). After six months of 30g of milled flaxseed a day, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was lower.