8 Great Produce Picks That Lower Blood Pressure
Sunday, December 23, 2018
NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for all things health and wellness related.
When people experience hypertensive crises, one of the primary lines of treatment is the administration of nitrate tablets. However, nitrates are naturally occurring in beets.
This root vegetable is excellent for juicing and consuming during breakfast—the time of day when blood pressure tends to rocket. A 2015 study revealed that beetroot juice intake was able to decrease blood pressure in hypertensive patients by 7.7 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 5.2 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure. It was also able to improve blood vessel elasticity during the same time period, a factor that directly contributes to blood pressure (the stiffer the blood vessel, the higher the risk for hypertension, also called arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis). 
Other studies also found that beetroot intake through bread or juice could lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in both (a) young and healthy and (b) older and overweight subjects. 
Spinach and other green, leafy vegetables are rich in nitrates that fight hypertension.  However, they are also rich in ACE-inhibitors (angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitors), a primary component used in anti-hypertensive medications.
These peptides, which work against ACE work at doses of 20 to 100 mg per kg, are a very important discovery in the fight against hypertension. 
A study done on celery seed extracts was conducted in 2013 and found that they contained n-butylphthalide (NBP), an antihypertensive substance. The extracts were discovered to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive test subjects by improving blood pressure control and diuresis.
However, the extracts had no effect on normotensive subjects, implying that celery could only have positive effects on people with chronic hypertension. 
A newer study in 2015 included more variables in the study of celery’s antihypertensive properties, focusing as well on its effects on cholesterol. They study revealed the celery was not only able to effectively lower blood pressure, it was also able to lower triglyceride and LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) levels. 
The results of a 2012 study on hypertensive subjects revealed the potential anti-hypertensive effects of radish leaves, specifically their ethyl acetate extracts. Over a period of three weeks, consumption of radish leaves was able to reduce systolic blood pressure by almost 50 mmHg. The researches attributed this reduction of blood pressure to an increase in serum nitrates in the blood and sodium excretion in the feces (nitrates lower blood pressure and sodium increases it). 
Another way to look at the anti-hypertensive effects of radish is through its direct effect on cardiac function. Radish seed extract inhibits the force and contractions of the heart, thereby lowering blood pressure. 
Kale is a popular green, not only because of its favorable taste, but also because of its health benefits when it comes to blood pressure and glucose control. Kale is rich in a substance called glutathione, which is able to reduce blood pressure, improve lipid profiles, and reduce blood glucose levels. 
Kale is also able to protect the kidneys from damage due to a high salt diet, which directly reduces the risk for the progression of hypertension. 
Another salad green, lettuce has potent antihypertensive effects similar to spinach. Lettuce is a source rich in sodium nitrite, a substance that is able to improve blood pressure control and reduce the risk for hypertension. Nitrite is highly bioavailable from lettuce, meaning it is easily absorbed and processed by the body. 
ACE-inhibitory properties are also found in lettuce (again, similar to spinach). In a 2012 study, lettuce extracts had the highest ACE inhibition property compared to other vegetables. 
Arugula is another vegetable to add to your list of sources of dietary nitrate. It is one of the top five vegetables with high nitrate content, along with other vegetables on this list. 
Another factor to consider is that arugula has the least amount of glucose compared to other leafy greens, making it a better option for people suffering from weight, blood glucose, and blood pressure problems. 
8. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is known for its ability to lower blood glucose,  which contributes to the reduction of blood pressure through weight loss and prevention of diabetes. A 2002 study supports this by discovering Swiss chards’ protective and repairing effect on damaged blood vessels, also decreasing the risk for hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. 
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