7 Drinks for Lowering Blood Pressure

https://www.healthline.com/health/drinks-to-lower-blood-pressure#bottom-line

When blood pressure goes unchecked, it can lead to complications such as heart disease and stroke.

One of your first lines of defense against high blood pressure (hypertension) is your diet. Adopting a blood pressure-friendly diet may help keep your blood pressure within a healthy range without the side effects caused by medications.

In addition to certain foods that may help lower your blood pressure, some types of drinks may also be helpful.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into 7 different types of drinks that may help lower your blood pressure.

1. Tomato juice

Growing evidence suggests that drinking one glass of tomato juice per day may promote heart health.

In a 2019 studyTrusted Source, Japanese researchers evaluated the effects of drinking an average of one cup of tomato juice per day among participants with risk factors for heart disease.

They concluded that tomato juice improved both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as LDL cholesterol. Other recent studies have reported similar results among people with stage 1 hypertension and pregnant women.

To avoid unnecessary sodium, which can have the opposite effect on blood pressure, make sure to buy unsalted tomato juice.

2. Beet juice

Not only do these colorful, low-calorie vegetables contain a host of health-promoting vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, but they may also help lower blood pressure.

randomized pilot study from 2016Trusted Source found that the juice of both raw and cooked beets improved blood pressure. However, raw beet juice had a greater impact on blood pressure.

Beets are rich in dietary nitrates, a compound known to have blood pressure-lowering effects. In a 2017 reviewTrusted Source, researchers found that these benefits were greater than the effects of nitrates alone.

In other words, other heart-friendly compounds are likely at play as well.

Try this simple beetroot juice recipe to lower blood pressure.

3. Prune juice

Prune juice has long been known to help alleviate constipation. But one of prune juice’s lesser-known health benefits is that it also lowers blood pressure.

This effect was reported in a 2010 studyTrusted Source. Researchers compared three groups: one group ate three prunes per day, a second group ate six prunes per day, and a third group didn’t eat any prunes.

The researchers reported a significant reduction in blood pressure among people who ate a single dose of three prunes per day. People who ate six prunes per day experienced an additional reduction in systolic blood pressure.

Moreover, both three- and six-prune doses were found to also lower LDL cholesterol.

To take advantage of these effects, drink a glass of 100-percent prune juice or make your own by blending soaked prunes.ADVERTISING

4. Pomegranate juice

Not only are pomegranates rich in nutrients such as folate and vitamin C, they also boast potent anti-inflammatory effects. It may come as no surprise, then, that pomegranate juice can contribute to a heart-healthy diet.

2016 literature review of eight randomized, controlled trials found that consuming pomegranate juice may help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The effects on systolic blood pressure were independent of how long participants consumed pomegranate juice for and how much. The researchers recommend a dose of at least 240 milliliters to reduce diastolic blood pressure.

If you decide to add pomegranate juice to your diet, make sure it’s 100-percent juice with no added sugar.HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTERSign up for our daily nutrition tips and tricks

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5. Berry juice

Like pomegranates, berries — especially blueberries — are known for their antioxidant properties. However, less is known about their heart benefits.

2020 review reported that drinking cranberry or cherry juice may improve blood pressure.

Another reviewTrusted Source published in Nature in 2016 found that consuming berries lowered both systolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.

In both cases, the researchers concluded that berries likely have cardiovascular benefits, but more research needs to be done to clarify their role in preventing and controlling heart disease.

If you opt for store-bought berry juice, make sure it doesn’t contain any added sugar.

6. Skim milk

Low-fat dairy products such as skim milk and yogurt are a key component of Dietary Strategies to Stop Hypertension, a science-based set of recommendations for preventing and treating high blood pressure.

In a 2011 literature review involving 45,000 adults, researchers examined the intake of low- and high-fat dairy products and how each affected blood pressure.

They concluded that the consumption of low-fat milk was associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure.

Try to get two to three servings of low-fat milk products per day. You can drink a glass with your meals, or add it to cereal or a smoothie. Steamed skim milk also makes a great addition to coffee.HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTERGet our weekly Heart Health email

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7. Tea

When it comes to blood pressure, not all teas are created equal. A 2014 literature reviewTrusted Source of randomized controlled trials compared the effects of black and green tea consumption on blood pressure.

The researchers reported that long-term intake of both types of tea lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, the reduction in blood pressure was more significant for green tea.

What about coffee and alcohol?

Both coffee and alcohol can have varied effects on blood pressure.

Coffee

The effect of coffee on blood pressure has been a longstanding source of controversy in the scientific community.

Caffeine appears to create a temporary spike in blood pressure. But this effect may be less pronounced among regular coffee drinkers.

Some past research has suggested that long-term coffee consumption is associated with an increased risk of hypertension.

But according to a 2017 literature review of 34 studies, moderate coffee consumption is safe, and perhaps even beneficial for both healthy people and those with high blood pressure.

If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, you probably don’t need to cut out coffee. With that said, it might not be the best time to start drinking coffee if you don’t already.

Alcohol

As with coffee, alcohol’s effect on blood pressure is complicated.

Moderate alcohol consumption — that’s one drink per day for women and two per day for men — was once thought to lower blood pressure. But recent research suggests that even moderate drinking may poses risks to heart health.

In addition, blood pressure medications and alcohol don’t mix.

When it comes to alcohol consumption, the recommendation likely isn’t the same for everyone. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor to find out what’s considered a safe level of alcohol consumption for you.

What else can help?

In addition to adding hypertension-lowering drinks to your diet, you can try the following to help lower your blood pressure:

  • Get moving. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine may be as effective at lowering blood pressure as some medications. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity for health benefits.
  • Shed excess pounds. If you’re overweight or obese, your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Even losing just a few pounds can help lower your blood pressure.
  • Check out the DASH diet. The DASH diet, which was specially designed to prevent and treat hypertension, emphasizes unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Quit smoking. Each cigarette you smoke triggers a short-term increase in your blood pressure. Over the long-term, tobacco use can harden your arteries which, in turn, can lead to high blood pressure.
  • Limit stress. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Avoid stressors when you can, and try to find healthy ways to manage your stress. While not all sources of stress can be eliminated, setting aside time for relaxation may help calm your mind and lower your blood pressure.

The bottom line

In addition to following a heart-healthy diet, some types of drinks may also be helpful when it comes to lowering your blood pressure.

According to research, several types of fruit and vegetable juices, as well as skim milk and green tea, may help to control your blood pressure, without any side effects.

If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, be sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your blood pressure and heart health.ADVERTISEMENThttps://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?gdpr=0&us_privacy=1YNY&gdpr_consent=tcunavailable&tcfe=3&client=ca-pub-4771166113579725&output=html&h=262&slotname=7867748827&adk=2554401342&adf=88950148&pi=t.ma~as.7867748827&w=750&lmt=1624419841&rafmt=12&psa=1&format=750×262&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.healthline.com%2Fhealth%2Fdrinks-to-lower-blood-pressure%23tomato-juice&flash=0&wgl=1&uach=WyJXaW5kb3dzIiwiMTAuMCIsIng4NiIsIiIsIjkxLjAuNDQ3Mi4xMTQiLFtdLG51bGwsbnVsbCxudWxsXQ..&dt=1624419726885&bpp=48&bdt=141372&idt=1121&shv=r20210621&cbv=%2Fr20190131&ptt=9&saldr=aa&abxe=1&cookie=ID%3Db8b4077e460a5b3c-22aefbc4a5c9004b%3AT%3D1624419727%3ART%3D1624419727%3AS%3DALNI_Ma5OAYkQGCrCLLkCfshLUMByblw2Q&prev_fmts=0x0&nras=1&correlator=3800429224397&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=1258012999.1624080189&ga_sid=1624419600&ga_hid=2005646395&ga_fc=0&u_tz=600&u_his=4&u_java=0&u_h=618&u_w=1098&u_ah=578&u_aw=1098&u_cd=24&u_nplug=3&u_nmime=4&adx=37&ady=7463&biw=1082&bih=507&scr_x=0&scr_y=10891&eid=31060840%2C31061335&oid=3&pvsid=2591207523968255&pem=833&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&eae=0&fc=896&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1098%2C0%2C1098%2C578%2C1098%2C507&vis=1&rsz=%7C%7CpEe%7C&abl=CS&pfx=0&fu=256&bc=31&ifi=16&uci=a!g&fsb=1&xpc=WUbCQmDkPo&p=https%3A//www.healthline.com&dtd=M

Last medically reviewed on September 17, 2020

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17 Effective Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is called the “silent killer” for good reason. It often has no symptoms, but is a major risk for heart disease and stroke. And these diseases are among the leading causes of death in the United States (1Trusted Source).

About one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure (2Trusted Source).

Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, which is abbreviated as mm Hg. There are two numbers involved in the measurement:

  • Systolic blood pressure. The top number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.
  • Diastolic blood pressure. The bottom number represents the pressure in your blood vessels between beats, when your heart is resting.

Your blood pressure depends on how much blood your heart is pumping, and how much resistance there is to blood flow in your arteries. The narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.

Blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal. Blood pressure that’s 130/80 mm Hg or more is considered high. If your numbers are above normal but under 130/80 mm Hg, you fall into the category of elevated blood pressure. This means that you’re at risk for developing high blood pressure (3).

The good news about elevated blood pressure is that lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your numbers and lower your risk — without requiring medications.

Here are 17 effective ways to lower your blood pressure levels:

1. Increase activity and exercise more

In a 2013 study, sedentary older adults who participated in aerobic exercise training lowered their blood pressure by an average of 3.9 percent systolic and 4.5 percent diastolic (4). These results are as good as some blood pressure medications.

As you regularly increase your heart and breathing rates, over time your heart gets stronger and pumps with less effort. This puts less pressure on your arteries and lowers your blood pressure.

How much activity should you strive for? A 2013 report by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) advises moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for 40-minute sessions, three to four times per week (5).

If finding 40 minutes at a time is a challenge, there may still be benefits when the time is divided into three or four 10- to 15-minute segments throughout the day (6).

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) makes similar recommendations (7).

But you don’t have to run marathons. Increasing your activity level can be as simple as:

  • using the stairs
  • walking instead of driving
  • doing household chores
  • gardening
  • going for a bike ride
  • playing a team sport

Just do it regularly and work up to at least half an hour per day of moderate activity.

One example of moderate activity that can have big results is tai chi. A 2017 review on the effects of tai chi and high blood pressure shows an overall average of a 15.6 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure and a 10.7 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure, compared to people who didn’t exercise at all (8Trusted Source).

A 2014 review on exercise and lowering blood pressure found that there are many combinations of exercise that can lower blood pressure. Aerobic exerciseresistance traininghigh-intensity interval training, short bouts of exercise throughout the day, or walking 10,000 steps a day may all lower blood pressure (9Trusted Source).

Ongoing studies continue to suggest that there are still benefits to even light physical activity, especially in older adults (10).

2. Lose weight if you’re overweight

If you’re overweight, losing even 5 to 10 pounds can reduce your blood pressure. Plus, you’ll lower your risk for other medical problems.

A 2016 review of several studies reported that weight loss diets reduced blood pressure by an average of 3.2 mm Hg diastolic and 4.5 mm Hg systolic (11Trusted Source).

3. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates

Many scientific studies show that restricting sugar and refined carbohydrates can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure.

A 2010 study compared a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet. The low-fat diet included a diet drug. Both diets produced weight loss, but the low-carb diet was much more effective in lowering blood pressure.

The low-carb diet lowered blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic. The diet of low-fat plus the diet drug lowered blood pressure by only 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic (12Trusted Source).

A 2012 analysis of low-carb diets and heart disease risk found that these diets lowered blood pressure by an average of 3.10 mm Hg diastolic and 4.81 mm Hg systolic (13).

Another side effect of a low-carb, low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer, because you’re consuming more protein and fat.

4. Eat more potassium and less sodium

Increasing your potassium intake and cutting back on salt can also lower your blood pressure (14).

Potassium is a double winner: It lessens the effects of salt in your system, and also eases tension in your blood vessels. However, diets rich in potassium may be harmful to individuals with kidney disease, so talk to your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.

It’s easy to eat more potassium — so many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:

Note that individuals respond to salt differently. Some people are salt-sensitive, meaning that a higher salt intake increases their blood pressure. Others are salt-insensitive. They can have a high salt intake and excrete it in their urine without raising their blood pressure (15).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends reducing salt intake using the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet (16Trusted Source). The DASH diet emphasizes:

5. Eat less processed food

Most of the extra salt in your diet comes from processed foods and foods from restaurants, not your salt shaker at home (17Trusted Source). Popular high-salt items include deli meats, canned soup, pizza, chips, and other processed snacks.

Foods labeled “low-fat” are usually high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food taste and makes you feel full.

Cutting down on — or even better, cutting out — processed food will help you eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this can result in lower blood pressure.

Make it a practice to check labels. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a sodium listing of 5 percent or less on a food label is considered low, while 20 percent or more is considered high (17Trusted Source).

6. Stop smoking

Stopping smoking is good for your all-around health. Smoking causes an immediate but temporary increase in your blood pressure and an increase in your heart rate (18).

In the long term, the chemicals in tobacco can increase your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessel walls, causing inflammation, and narrowing your arteries. The hardened arteries cause higher blood pressure.

The chemicals in tobacco can affect your blood vessels even if you’re around secondhand smoke. A study showed that children around secondhand smoke in the home had higher blood pressure than those from nonsmoking homes (19Trusted Source).

7. Reduce excess stress

We live in stressful times. Workplace and family demands, national and international politics — they all contribute to stress. Finding ways to reduce your own stress is important for your health and your blood pressure.

There are lots of different ways to successfully relieve stress, so find what works for you. Practice deep breathing, take a walk, read a book, or watch a comedy.

Listening to music daily has also been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure (20). A recent 20-year study showed that regular sauna use reduced death from heart-related events (21). And one small study has shown that acupuncture can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (22).HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTERSign up for our daily nutrition tips and tricks

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8. Try meditation or yoga

Mindfulness and meditation, including transcendental meditation, have long been used — and studied — as methods to reduce stress. A 2012 study notes that one university program in Massachusetts has had more than 19,000 people participate in a meditation and mindfulness program to reduce stress (23).

Yoga, which commonly involves breathing control, posture, and meditation techniques, can also be effective in reducing stress and blood pressure.

A 2013 review on yoga and blood pressure found an average blood pressure decrease of 3.62 mm Hg diastolic and 4.17 mm Hg systolic when compared to those who didn’t exercise. Studies of yoga practices that included breath control, postures, and meditation were nearly twice as effective as yoga practices that didn’t include all three of these elements (24).

9. Eat some dark chocolate

Yes, chocolate lovers: Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure.

But the dark chocolate should be 60 to 70 percent cacao. A review of studies on dark chocolate has found that eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and inflammation. The benefits are thought to come from the flavonoids present in chocolate with more cocoa solids. The flavonoids help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels (25).

A 2010 study of 14,310 people found that individuals without hypertension who ate more dark chocolate had lower blood pressure overall than those who ate less dark chocolate (26Trusted Source).

10. Try these medicinal herbs

Herbal medicines have long been used in many cultures to treat a variety of ailments.

Some herbs have even been shown to possibly lower blood pressure. Although, more research is needed to identify the doses and components in the herbs that are most useful (27).

Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal supplements. They may interfere with your prescription medications.

Here’s a partial list of plants and herbs that are used by cultures throughout the world to lower blood pressure:

  • black bean (Castanospermum australe)
  • cat’s claw (Uncaria rhynchophylla)
  • celery juice (Apium graveolens)
  • Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
  • ginger root
  • giant dodder (Cuscuta reflexa)
  • Indian plantago (blond psyllium)
  • maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster)
  • river lily (Crinum glaucum)
  • roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
  • sesame oil (Sesamum indicum)
  • tomato extract (Lycopersicon esculentum)
  • tea (Camellia sinensis), especially green tea and oolong tea
  • umbrella tree bark (Musanga cecropioides)

11. Make sure to get good, restful sleep

Your blood pressure typically dips down when you’re sleeping. If you don’t sleep well, it can affect your blood pressure. People who experience sleep deprivation, especially those who are middle-aged, have an increased risk of high blood pressure (28Trusted Source).

For some people, getting a good night’s sleep isn’t easy. There are many ways to help you get restful sleep. Try setting a regular sleep schedule, spend time relaxing at night, exercise during the day, avoid daytime naps, and make your bedroom comfortable (29).

The national Sleep Heart Health Study found that regularly sleeping less than 7 hours a night and more than 9 hours a night was associated with an increased prevalence of hypertension. Regularly sleeping less than 5 hours a night was linked to a significant risk of hypertension long term (30).

12. Eat garlic or take garlic extract supplements

Fresh garlic or garlic extract are both widely used to lower blood pressure (27).

According to one clinical study, a time-release garlic extract preparation may have a greater effect on blood pressure than regular garlic powder tablets (31).

One 2012 review noted a study of 87 people with high blood pressure that found a diastolic reduction of 6 mm Hg and a systolic reduction of 12 mm Hg in those who consumed garlic, compared to people without any treatment (32Trusted Source).

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13. Eat healthy high-protein foods

A long-term study concluded in 2014 found that people who ate more protein had a lower risk of high blood pressure. For those who ate an average of 100 grams of protein per day, there was a 40 percent lower risk of having high blood pressure than those on a low-protein diet (33). Those who also added regular fiber into their diet saw up to a 60 percent reduction of risk.

However, a high-protein diet may not be for everyone. Those with kidney disease may need to use caution, so talk to your doctor.

It’s fairly easy to consume 100 grams of protein daily on most types of diets.

High-protein foods include:

A 3.5-ounce (oz.) serving of salmon can have as much as 22 grams (g) of protein, while a 3.5-oz. serving of chicken breast might contain 30 g of protein.

With regards to vegetarian options, a half-cup serving of most types of beans contains 7 to 10 g of protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter would provide 8 g (34).

14. Take these BP-lowering supplements

These supplements are readily available and have demonstrated promise for lowering blood pressure:

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid

Adding omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or fish oil to your diet can have many benefits.

A meta-analysis of fish oil and blood pressure found a mean blood pressure reduction in those with high blood pressure of 4.5 mm Hg systolic and 3.0 mm Hg diastolic (35).

Whey protein

This protein complex derived from milk may have several health benefits, in addition to possibly lowering blood pressure (36).

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is related to higher blood pressure. A meta-analysis found a small reduction in blood pressure with magnesium supplementation (37).

Coenzyme Q10

In a few small studies, the antioxidant CoQ10 lowered systolic blood pressure by 17 mm Hg and diastolic up to 10 mm Hg (38).

Citrulline

Oral L-citrulline is a precursor to L-arginine in the body, a building block of protein, which may lower blood pressure (39).

15. Drink less alcohol

Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, even if you’re healthy.

It’s important to drink in moderation. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure by 1 mm Hg for each 10 grams of alcohol consumed (40). A standard drink contains 14 grams of alcohol.

What constitutes a standard drink? One 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (41).

Moderate drinking is up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks per day for men (42).

16. Consider cutting back on caffeine

Caffeine raises your blood pressure, but the effect is temporary. It lasts 45 to 60 minutes and the reaction varies from individual to individual (43).

Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption, or try decaffeinated coffee.

Research on caffeine, including its health benefits, is in the news a lot. The choice of whether to cut back depends on many individual factors.

One older study indicated that caffeine’s effect on raising blood pressure is greater if your blood pressure is already high. This same study, however, called for more research on the subject (43).

17. Take prescription medication

If your blood pressure is very high or doesn’t decrease after making these lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend prescription drugs. They work and will improve your long-term outcome, especially if you have other risk factors (44Trusted Source). However, it can take some time to find the right combination of medications.

Medically reviewed by Judith Marcin, M.D. — Written by Marjorie Hecht — Updated on January 31, 2020

2 thoughts on “7 Drinks for Lowering Blood Pressure

  1. This is thorough and wealth of beneficial information, Uta. Thank you! I have recently started drinking green tea every day, and although I don’t have high blood pressure, I’d like to keep it that way! I see some other changes I could also advance. Every suggestion would be good for a person even without blood pressure concerns!

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