These common foods are probably already in your kitchen, and all can play a role as a home remedy to keep your blood pressure down.
Home Remedies from the Counter
Bananas. The banana has been proved to help reduce blood pressure. The average person needs three to four servings of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables each day. Some experts believe doubling this amount may benefit your blood pressure. If bananas aren't your favorite bunch of fruit, try dried apricots, raisins, currants, orange juice, spinach, boiled potatoes with skin, baked sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and winter squash.
Home Remedies from the Cupboard
Breads. Be good to your blood with a bit more "B," as in the B vitamin folate. Swimming around the blood is a substance called homocysteine, which at high levels is thought to reduce the stretching ability of the arteries. If the arteries are stiff as a board, the heart pumps extra hard to move the blood around. Folate helps reduce the levels of homocysteine, in turn helping arteries become pliable. You'll find folate in fortified breads and cereals, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and beans.
Canola, mustard seed, or safflower oils. Switching to polyunsaturated oils can make a big difference in your blood pressure readings. Switching to them will also reduce your blood cholesterol level.
Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
Broccoli. This vegetable is high in fiber, and a high fiber diet is known to help reduce blood pressure. So indulge in this and other fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber.
Celery. Because it contains high levels of 3-N-butylphthalide, a phytochemical that helps lower blood pressure, celery is in a class by itself. This phytochemical is not found in most other vegetables. Celery may also reduce stress hormones that constrict blood vessels, so it may be most effective in those whose high blood pressure is the result of mental stress.
Milk. The calcium in milk does more than build strong bones; it plays a modest role in preventing high blood pressure. Be sure to drink skim milk or eat low fat yogurt. Leafy green vegetables also provide calcium.
Home Remedies from the Spice Rack
Cayenne Pepper. This fiery spice is a popular home treatment for mild high blood pressure. Cayenne pepper allows smooth blood flow by preventing platelets from clumping together and accumulating in the blood. Add some cayenne pepper to the salt-free seasonings listed in the Recipe Box below, or add a dash to a salad or in salt-free soups.
Home Remedies from the Supplement Shelf
Vitamin C. An antioxidant, vitamin C helps prevent free radicals from damaging artery walls, and it may help improve high blood pressure. Take a supplement or eat vitamin C-rich foods.
You should do everything you can at home to keep your blood pressure down. But in addition to these home remedies, be sure your doctor monitors your condition regularly.
For more information about battling heart problems, visit the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- High blood pressure is one aspect of heart disease -- the number one killer of Americans. Learn how to control your blood pressure with hers in Herbal Remedies for High Blood Pressure.
- Learn about cures you can use at home to improve the health of your ticker in Home Remedies for Heart Disease.
- If your cholesterol numbers are higher than you (and your doctor) would like, visit Home Remedies for High Cholesterol.
- To learn more about the science behind heart attacks, read How Heart Disease Works.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.