High blood pressure medications are among the biggest-selling prescription drugs in the world. But what many people don’t know is that certain foods can lower blood pressure to the point that these drugs are no longer needed, a top cardiologist tells Newsmax Health.
“If you have high blood pressure, you must take its control seriously, and medication plays a key role,” said Chauncey Crandall, M.D., director of preventative cardiology at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic. “By eating the right foods, you can lower the amount of drugs you take – or even eliminate them completely.”
Here are Dr. Crandall’s top five foods for lowering blood pressure:
- Asparagus: This vegetable is the number one choice for lowering blood pressure because it is rich in potassium. Although many other foods are high in potassium – bananas, citrus fruits, dried apricots, fish, whole-grain, legumes – asparagus is also a natural diuretic, which gives it an extra hypertension-lowering punch.
- Hawthorn Tea: Made from the antioxidant-rich berries of the hawthorn plant (a common shrub in the rose family) hawthorn tea is known for a number of cardiac benefits, including helping the blood vessels to relax, which lowers blood pressure. Dr. Crandall, author of the , recommends a cup of hawthorn tea daily to his patients.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a star when it comes to lowering cholesterol, but it also reduces blood pressure. In one study, 88 people were divided into two groups, one that ate oatmeal and the other that ate a refined wheat-based cereal. The study found that those who ate oatmeal were twice as likely to either be able to eliminate their blood pressure medication or cut it in half. To get the most benefit, prepare cooked (non-instant) organic oatmeal.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which protect the heart, but they are also packed with anthocyanins, which are molecules that may also help to open blood vessels, which allows the blood to flow more freely and lowers blood pressure. Studies have found that people who eat blueberries regularly reduced their risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Potatoes: “Potatoes often get a bad rap, but they can actually help lower blood pressure because they are rich in potassium and magnesium,” says Dr. Crandall. The problem, he says, comes in how we prepare them. “Usually, potatoes are fried, or served as potato chips, or as potato salad. Even a simple baked potato, which is delicious, is usually covered with butter or sour cream.” This is a shame because the potato itself is a healthy food, and it can also lower blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry last year showed that 18 people who were overweight and had high blood pressure lowered their blood pressure by four percent by eating small, purple potatoes daily. However, Dr. Crandall cautions, “Eating boiled or baked potatoes can be beneficial, but once you fry that potato, the benefits disappear.”
© 2013 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.