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High blood pressure is an extremely common health condition that leads to further diseases of the heart. An estimated 2,000 people die of heart disease every day in the United States and 30% of adults are already hypertensive. (1)
Apart from medication and lifestyle modification, diet and exercise also play a vital role in the management of high blood pressure. (1)
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is recommended to manage high blood pressure and includes the daily consumption of: (1)
- 5 servings of vegetables (green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli)
- 5 servings of fruits
- 7 servings of carbohydrates (preferably whole grain and high fiber)
- 2 servings of low-fat dairy
- 2 or fewer servings of lean meat (chicken, fish, and eggs)
- 2–3 servings of nuts (per week)
Some other recommendations include using good fats such as omega-3, flaxseeds, avocados, and olive oil.
Smoothies to Lower Blood Pressure
The following smoothies can help reduce high blood pressure levels.
1. Berry medley
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 cup cherries
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- ½ cup coconut water
Berries are replete with antioxidants and polyphenols. They provide healthy fiber and nutrients that can reduce overall disease risk. Blueberry and cherry have both been found to reduce blood pressure significantly in multiple 1-week studies. (2)
Raspberry, frozen strawberries, cranberry juice, and pomegranate juice were also found to have blood pressure-lowering effects (2) and can be used according to taste preference.
Coconut water is rich in electrolytes and is useful in raising potassium levels in the body. It also works by clearing excess sodium from the body via urine and can effectively reduce blood pressure. (3)
Hemp seeds provide some fiber and healthy fats that have a protective effect on the heart in animal studies. (4)
2. Brownie batter
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp roasted flaxseeds
- 2 tbsp oats
- 1 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
Banana is a potassium-rich fruit and contributes to daily fiber intake. Its consumption has been found to lower blood pressure in one population study. (5)
Oats provide soluble fiber such as beta glucans, and its consumption has been recommended in the DASH diet. Some animal studies have identified oats to have potential blood pressure-lowering ability. (6)
Flaxseeds are high in soluble fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. A 6-month-long study that included people with moderately high blood pressure showed that daily consumption of flaxseeds reduced their systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and 7 mmHg respectively. (7)
Cocoa powder in this recipe not only adds a deliciously rich flavor but also helps in lowering blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. (8)
3. Green goddess
- 1 pear
- 1 avocado
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 cup baby spinach
- Coconut water for blending
Pear is a good fruit to consume as part of the DASH diet. In a study that included 40 men and women, consumption of a fresh pear every day effectively reduced their blood pressure after 12 weeks. (9)
Just half an avocado has 345 mg of potassium, and the fruit is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which has a protective effect on the heart. Due to its high potassium and low sodium content, it can be effective in lowering blood pressure. (10)
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable that is abundant in dietary nitrates, which are responsible for relaxing blood vessels that can reduce the pressure of flowing blood.
In one study, participants who consumed spinach soup for a week experienced a reduction in blood pressure. (11) The benefits of hemp seed and coconut water have been discussed above.
4. Tropical delight
- 1 cup diced papaya
- ½ cup diced pineapple
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Papaya is a sweet fruit with a unique flavor and texture that work really well in smoothies. But it also is an antihypertensive fruit. The fruit has the same effect as popular blood pressure-lowering drugs and inhibits an enzyme called angiotensin II, which narrows blood vessels and increases blood pressure. (12)
Orange juice has been widely studied for its effect on reducing blood pressure. In one particular study of 22 healthy adults, consumption of orange juice resulted in reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5%. (13)
Pumpkin seeds are also effective antihypertensive foods similar to a blood pressure-lowering drug and have a protective effect on the heart. (14)
5. Watermelon cooler
- 1 cup diced watermelon
- 1 peeled and deseeded tomato
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
Watermelon and tomato are rich in red-colored lycopene, which has many nutritional benefits. One of them is lowering blood pressure.
One study reported that the consumption of lycopene-rich food decreased blood pressure in 54 patients with hypertension. Lycopene is also a strong antioxidant and protects the heart from oxidative damage. (15)
Chia seeds also have a blood pressure-lowering effect with daily consumption. (16)
How often can I drink these smoothies?
You can have one of these smoothies every day.
What liquid should I use for blending?
Stick to coconut water, orange juice, or other fresh juices. Avoid adding milk as it may not sit well with acidic fruits.
Can I add sugar?
Avoid adding sugar and instead use sweet fruits such as bananas, papayas, or dates.
What can I do at home to immediately lower high blood pressure?
To immediately lower blood pressure, try to lie down and take calming breaths. The reduction in stress will help in reducing blood pressure. If it still doesn’t lower or if it is too high, seek medical attention immediately.
Does lemon water bring your blood pressure down?
Lemon juice is a rich source of potassium, which can be effective in lowering blood pressure. You can sip on a cold glass of lemonade or lemon water to keep your blood pressure in check.
Will adding honey to my smoothie help in reducing high blood pressure?
Animal studies have shown the effect of honey in reducing systolic blood pressure by reducing oxidative stress in the kidneys. However, not enough human research has concluded the same results. Thus, you may take honey for its many health benefits. However, it cannot be considered a remedy for high blood pressure. (17)
Do milkshakes raise blood pressure?
Depending on the ingredient, a milkshake may raise blood pressure. Using ingredients like chocolate syrup, ice cream, caramel syrup, heavy cream, or candied fruits can increase the caloric value of the milkshake, making it a high-fat meal.
This in turn will increase fat deposits in the blood vessels, which can cause constriction and raise blood pressure.
Dietary modifications that involve the use of foods low in salt and containing nutrients that can lower blood pressure are important in managing hypertension.
Making a smoothie is a better alternative to fruit juices as it contains the whole blended fruit and some fiber.