Stress management, physical activity, and a diet full of fruits and vegetables can help keep blood pressure within a healthy range. That’s why the DASH diet is often recommended as the best diet for lowering blood pressure. But, what is the best drink for high blood pressure?
While there isn’t a universally agreed upon drink recommendation, there are several beverages which can help lower blood pressure. In this article, we’ll touch on 7 of them.
But first, let’s quickly define high blood pressure, to make sure we’re on the same page.
What is High Blood Pressure?
When you get your blood pressure taken, you get two different numbers. For example, 116/70 is a blood pressure reading within the normal range.
The first number is your systolic blood pressure. This is the amount of pressure placed on blood vessels as your heart contracts, ejecting blood throughout the body. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the amount of pressure placed on the vessels during the relaxation phase of the heart.
It’s normal for your blood pressure to increase with exercise, but when it’s continually elevated, it can create problems, increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
The following table includes the resting blood pressure categories for adults.
|Category||Systolic Pressure||Diastolic Pressure|
|Normal||Less than 120||Less than 80|
|Elevated (Prehypertension)||120-129||Less than 80|
|High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)||130 or higher||80 or higher|
If you have elevated blood pressure, you’ll want to work with your physician to find a care plan that works for you. That can sometimes include medication, but what you eat and drink can also have a significant effect on your blood pressure.
So, let’s take a look at several drinks and their effect on blood pressure.
7 Drinks that Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
1) Hibiscus Tea
This is one of my personal favorite teas. I like it because it tastes kind of like cranberry juice, but without the sugar content. Plus, research also suggests that it can help lower blood pressure.
One study in 1999 showed that Hibiscus sabdariffa tea reduced participant’s systolic blood pressure by 11.2% and diastolic pressure by 10.7%. More recent studies have continued to show similar results.
In 2019, a study split 46 people into two groups. Both of the groups were counseled by nutrition specialists with recommendations on following the DASH diet, decreasing sodium intake, and exercising 5 days a week for 30 minutes each. However, a test group also consumed two cups of hibiscus tea per day, one at morning and night for one month. The results? Both groups had a decrease in blood pressure, but the test group saw a greater decrease.
You can often get dried Hibiscus Sabdariffa tea in bulk or buy it in tea bags. If using bulk tea, about one gram of tea is steeped in water and drank once or twice a day.
2) Beetroot Juice
Beets are high in nitrates, which are known to have a blood pressure lowering effect due to their eventual conversion to nitric oxide within the body. Nitric oxide has the effect of relaxing blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure.
A 2015 study took 68 patients with high blood pressure and split them into a placebo group and a test group receiving 250 mL (1 cup) of beet juice daily. The study found that those receiving beetroot juice had a mean blood pressure reduction of 7.7 mmHg.
Other sources of nitrates include green leafy vegetables like rhubarb, butter leaf lettuce, arugula, and chard.
3) Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranates contain a number of beneficial phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may reduce cardiovascular risk.
In a 2012 study, researchers found that people who consumed 330 ml of pomegranate juice per day had a reduction in systolic blood pressure (-3.14 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (-2.60 mmHg). A 2017 review of 8 studies further concluded that adding pomegranate juice to a heart healthy diet could be beneficial for managing high blood pressure.
4) Cranberry and Tart Cherry Juice
Several studies have suggested that both cranberry juice and tart cherry juice may have beneficial effects on blood pressure and have other heart protective qualities. A 2015 trial suggested that tart cherry juice could help lower LDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, and a separate study suggested that cranberry juice could help lower diastolic blood pressure.
A 2020 literature review also concluded that cranberry or cherry juice could help improve blood pressure, although more research is necessary to confirm the possible benefits.
5) Unsalted Tomato Juice
In a 2019 study, researchers found that drinking one cup of tomato juice per day could improve systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as LDL cholesterol.
Keep in mind that some store bought tomato juices contain sodium, which can increase blood pressure. To gain the blood pressure benefits of tomato juice, make it at home, or make sure you’re choosing a no sodium option.
6) Low-Fat Milk
One of the components of the DASH diet is low-fat milk. That’s because dairy contains several key nutrients for lowering blood pressure: calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Research suggests that milk may also help to lower blood pressure because of special dairy peptides that result in vasodilation of the blood vessels.
Aside from milk, the DASH diet also recommends eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains, which can also increase dietary calcium, magnesium and potassium.
7) What About Water?
What do all of these drinks have in common? Yup, the main ingredient is water.
Water can have the effect of both raising or lowering blood pressure. That’s because it contributes to blood volume. If your blood pressure is low, water can help increase your blood volume, therefore also increasing blood pressure.
However, dehydration can also be linked to high blood pressure. When your blood volume is low, and sodium is high, the pituitary gland releases a hormone called vasopressin. This causes the kidneys to reabsorb more water, instead of releasing it as urine. Vasopressin also causes the blood vessels to constrict, causing an increase in blood pressure.
The 8 cups a day rule is a pretty good target for hydration. You can also monitor the color of your urine. If you’re hydrated it should be clear. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are.
So, What is the Best Drink for High Blood Pressure?
All of the drinks above have been shown to help lower blood pressure. But, what is the best drink for high blood pressure?
As I said earlier, there is no consensus on the single best drink for high blood pressure.
Instead, it’s most important to find what’s going to work for your own dietary preferences and needs. For example, dairy is not a great option for my diet because I’m lactose intolerant. I also don’t enjoy drinking milk. There are several juice options, but I personally prefer the Hibiscus tea because it’s cheaper, and it contains no sugar. I also just really enjoy the taste of hibiscus tea.
It’s also important to remember that diet is just one piece of the blood pressure puzzle. It’s an important piece, but blood pressure can also be influenced by your genetics, age, diet, stress, physical activity and sleep.
If you’re concerned about blood pressure, discuss it with your doctor to help identify the proper treatment approach. You can also work with a dietitian to help make lifestyle and dietary changes to reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.