Three Drinks to Lower Blood Pressure

Worried about high blood pressure? Try adding these heart-healthy drinks to your diet. Combined with regular exercise and a smart eating plan, they can help prevent and control hypertension.

If you're serious about lowering your blood pressure, you may already know to ditch high-sodium foods like deli meats, full-sodium canned soups and frozen pizzas. Ditto for unhealthy fats and sugar-filled sodas and other beverages, which can add extra inches to your waist and hike up your risk of hypertension.

But what about foods you need to eat more of? Research shows that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables plus lean protein can help prevent and control high blood pressure. That's why many folks have turned to the plant-based DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, an eating plan that's been proven in clinical trials to lower blood pressure and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.

Of course, what you choose to drink matters, too. Here are three refreshing beverages backed by science to help lower blood pressure—plus one to avoid. Add these three to a nutrient-dense diet, get started with a safe exercise program, and you'll be on your way to better blood pressure and a healthier heart. Cheers!

1. Low-Fat or Nonfat Milk

2 glasses of peanut butter banana smoothies

Pictured Recipe: Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Raise your glass to milk. It's high in phosphorus, potassium and calcium—three nutrients associated with healthy blood pressure—and it's fortified with vitamin D, a vitamin that promotes healthy blood pressure. In a 2019 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that when males and females ate a high-dairy diet over six weeks that included 5 to 6 servings of reduced-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, participants reduced both their systolic and diastolic blood pressures, on average by 4.5 and 3 points respectively compared to when they ate one or fewer servings of dairy a day for six weeks. These study authors believe that including plenty of dairy in your diet may be able to play a role in the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

2. Hibiscus Tea

hibiscus tea
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Drinking hibiscus tea may help lower blood pressure, according to a 2019 study in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research. Participants in the intervention group drank 2 cups of hibiscus tea every morning for one month, which resulted in a significant reduction in blood pressure compared to the control group who did not drink the tea (both groups were advised on blood pressure reduction lifestyle and dietary changes, as well).

Hibiscus tea contains anthocyanins and other antioxidants. In a 2020 review in Frontiers in Pharmacology, researchers explain that anthocyanins (and other antioxidants) may help blood vessels resist damage that can cause them to narrow.

Many herbal tea blends contain hibiscus, which brews up bright red and delivers a tart flavor. Brew up a pot and sip to your heart's content.

3. Pomegranate Juice

pomgegranate arils in white bowl on grey background shot overhead
Manuela Bonci / EyeEm / Getty Images

If you're worried about your blood pressure, it's time you said hello to this sweet ruby-red fruit. Loaded with potassium and other heart-healthy nutrients, pomegranate juice has three times the antioxidant activity of green tea or red wine. It's no surprise, then, that a 2017 review published in Pharmacological Research found that regularly drinking pomegranate juice can significantly reduce blood pressure. One of the studies included in the review showed that drinking pomegranate juice improved systolic blood pressure (the higher number in a blood pressure reading) regardless of how many weeks participants drank it.

One Drink to Limit: Alcohol

A little wine every day may be good for your heart, but too much over time can make your blood pressure soar. And it's not just wine that's to blame—experts say any type of alcohol can make blood pressure rise.

For example in a 2020 review of the literature in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers found a connection between high alcohol intake and an increase in both blood pressure and heart rate over the long term.

The good news? Cut back on booze and your blood pressure can improve in as little as two to four weeks, some experts say. Follow the American Heart Association's guidelines for managing blood pressure: No more than two drinks a day for males and one drink a day for females.

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