High blood pressure happens when the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high – a mechanism that can lead to cardiovascular complications if steps are not taken to lower your reading. Fortunately, making healthy dietary choices can lower a high blood pressure reading, reducing the risk of developing life-threatening health complications.
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Herbal teas, for example, have been touted for their myriad health benefits, which include lowering high blood pressure – here are three such teas.
Hibiscus tea, which is derived from the hibiscus plant, has been shown to lower blood pressure in numerous studies.
In one study, 65 people with high blood pressure were given hibiscus tea or a placebo.
After six weeks, those who drank hibiscus tea had a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, compared to the placebo.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers – systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure systolic measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, whereas diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
According to Blood Pressure UK, systolic blood pressure is more important than diastolic blood pressure because it gives the best idea of your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
A review of five studies found that hibiscus tea decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 7.58 mmHg and 3.53 mmHg, respectively.
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Black tea, which is made from the leaves of a bush called Camellia sinesis has been linked to a reduction in blood pressure.
One study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that participants who drank three cups of black tea a day lowered their blood pressure levels by an average of two to three points.
Studies suggest drinking black tea can improve the function of the endothelial cells, which line the interior of blood vessels – endothelial dysfunction is an early indicator of blood pressure changes.
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Oolong tea – a traditional Chinese tea that is also derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant – has also been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, as well as a reduced risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood and a build-up of “bad” cholesterol has been shown to heighten the risk of heart disease.
Evidence suggests regularly consuming 4 oz (120 ml) of green or oolong tea per day may reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure by up to 46 percent.
In another study, people who drank more than 48 oz (1.4 litres) of tea per day were 51 percent less likely to have heart disease, compared to non-tea drinkers.
Bolstering the findings, one study of more than 76,000 Japanese adults observed that those who drank 8oz (240 ml) or more of oolong tea per day had a 61 percent lower heart disease risk.
What’s more, a study done in China reports a 39 percent lower risk of stroke – a complication of high blood pressure – in those drinking 16 oz (480 ml) of oolong or green tea per day.
Other key tips to lower blood pressure
It is also imperative to maintain a healthy weight to ward off the threat of high blood pressure, as the NHS explained: “Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.”
The health site added: “If you do need to lose some weight, it’s worth remembering that just losing a few pounds will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.”
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