Nutrients & Diet for High Blood Pressure

walking to prevent high blood pressureDid you know that untreated high blood pressure increases the risk, not only of heart attacks and strokes, but eye conditions such as advanced macular degeneration, glaucoma, and macular edema?

Studies support a target blood pressure for most people of 120/80 mm Hg, with an optimal level of 115/75 mm Hg for many people.1

After the 2015 landmark SPRINT trial found that lower blood pressure significantly improved cardiovascular outcomes, the threshold for high blood pressure (hypertension) was lowered from 140/90 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg. Researchers have pointed out that there is no “one size fits all” for blood pressure targets, so it is important to work with your doctor to manage hypertension.2

Hypertension is typically treated with medication. There are potential side effects to medications, so you should consult your doctor before taking them if you have any underlying health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. There are also complementary natural approaches to managing hypertension.

Lifestyle considerations

  • Exercise regularly. It is well known that exercise is a critical tool in reducing blood pressure3 as well as age-related eye disease.4 Aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure,5 protects the retina from deterioration, and reduces intraocular pressure, central retinal vein occlusion, and age-related macular degeneration.6 Isometric resistance training also reduces blood pressure, with an effect that may be greater than that of dynamic aerobic exercise.7
  • Manage stress. Take regular quiet walks. If you feel stressed, remember to stop and breathe. A gentle technique is to focus on your breath, five slow breaths in and 5 slow breaths out. Listening to soothing music can help with relaxation. Leisurely yoga can be very relaxing.  If you are upset, even a 5-minute walk around the block can be very helpful.
  • Meditation. Do some form of meditation and/or yoga daily. A recent review and meta-analysis show that meditation has a significant role in decreasing blood pressure in people older than 60, and yoga especially contributes to reducing blood pressure in people younger than 60.8 Mindfulness meditation,9 transcendental meditation,10 and other forms of meditation are effective.11

Dietary Considerations for Blood Pressure

Eat a healthy diet such as a Mediterranean Diet or DASH diet emphasizing veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.  Research shows DASH can reduce blood pressure in just four weeks and even aid weight loss. Include in your diet a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits. Take advantage of the benefits of the many herbs (fresh is best) and spices that add layers of flavor to your meals as well as blood pressure-normalizing benefits.

  • Reduce salt. Reduce your salt intake. Too much sodium also adversely affects the vasculature, heart, kidneys, skin, brain, and bone.12 Cap your daily sodium intake at 2,300 mg, with an ideal limit of that all-important 1,500 mg.
  • Add potassium. Add more potassium to your diet if you are hypertensive, especially for people with high salt intake.13 Potassium-rich foods include melons, oranges, apricots, avocados, tomatoes, tuna, salmon, beans, milk, and cream cheese.
  • Limit alcohol.  Some researchers feel that the benefits of moderate consumption do not outweigh the negative effects.14
  • Enjoy chocolate. Have some flavanol-rich dark chocolate or cocoa in your diet which causes a small but statistically significant reduction in blood pressure.15
  • Try fermented foods. You might like fermented foods in your diet such as kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut. These foods reportedly reduce hypertension in addition to other benefits, but there is not yet substantive research. Kombucha, for example, has antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits.16
  • Other foods include garlic (which also improves arterial flexibility and gut microbiota)17 and flax seed.18
  • Spices. Basil,19 cinnamon,20 cardamom, saffron, and ginger21 22 are examples of beneficial spices. People who consume the most ginger (up to 2–4 grams per day) have the lowest risk of developing hypertension.23
  • Herbs. Celery seed (extract)24 and parsley (contains apigenin)25 are examples of beneficial herbs.

Nutrients Helpful for Hypertension

Medicinal plants. Ginseng,26 astragulus,27 danshen,28 and gingko29 are some of many medicinal plants found to be helpful for hypertension in addition to their other benefits. A number of other herbal nutrients, such as hawthorn, taurine, coleus forskohlii, and cat’s claw, may help lower blood pressure.30 Bacopa monnieri is used to treat various ailments, including anxiety, memory issues, and hypertension in Ayurvedic medicine.31

Magnesium is effective in reducing blood pressure32 according to a meta-analysis of double-blind, placebo-based research.

The flavanones quercetin and rutin may be helpful. Quercetin is found in many fruits and vegetables. Multiple cases show that supplementation with quercetin lowers BP and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.33 In addition to rutin’s benefits in managing hypertension, it protects blood vessels from leakage, is antioxidant, and antinflammatory.34

The amino acids L-arginine and l-citrulline improve endothelium-derived nitric oxide production and function on cells that line blood vessels, reducing systemic blood pressure in some models of hypertension.35

CoQ10 is reported to be effective in reducing hypertension, but the quality of research is generally weak.36

High Blood Pressure: To Sum Up

There’s a lot you can do to manage hypertension.  In some cases (work with your doctor) you may be able to decrease the need for prescription medicines.  Paying attention to exercise, lifestyle, and diet goes a long way toward achieving a healthy balance.

Recommended Supplements

Blood Pressure Health 90 vegcaps – A supplement containing grape seed and hawthorn extracts for cardiovascular support.

Blood Nutrients 90 capsules – nutrients that nourish the blood.

Dr. Grossman’s Coleus Ultra Herbal Formula 2oz (60ml) – wild-crafted herbal tincture which contains coleus forskohlii with rutin.

Dr. Grossman’s Bilberry/Ginkgo Combination 2oz (60ml) – wild-crafted herbal tincture which contains with bilberry and gingko biloba to helps strengthen blood vessels and support healthy circulation.

Kidney Support Tonic helps reduce blood pressure, improve circulation and overall energy, support the immune system.

Advanced Eye & Vision Support Formula (whole food) 60 vcaps – our whole food, organic, GMO free formula for overall vision support.

Taurine Extra Strength 1000 mg 100 vcaps

Magna-Calm 16 oz  with Magnesium and potassium

Nitric Oxide Supplement – helps support oxygen flow, reduce inflammation and may help reduce blood pressure.


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