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Best Foods to Lower Blood Pressure: Think Mediterranean

6/2/2014 4:02:00 PM

Tags: food therapy, blood pressure, Mediterranean diet, Washington, Kathleen Jade ND

We’ve all heard about how a Mediterranean diet is linked to good cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure. Until recently, researchers could only speculate on which foods within a Mediterranean diet were responsible for its blood pressure-lowering effects and how they worked, but the results of a new study may solve the mystery.

Foods to Lower Blood Pressure

Olive Oil and Lettuce

Researchers from King's College London in the UK discovered that the combination of unsaturated fats and nitrate-rich vegetables is the key. In addition to olive oil, the typical Mediterranean diet comprises foods rich in unsaturated fats, such as fish, nuts, and avocados. When these fatty foods are eaten along with vegetables rich in nitrates, such as leafy greens and certain other vegetables like celery and red beetroot, the unsaturated fatty acids react with the nitrogen compounds in the vegetables to make what are known as nitro fatty acids. These nitro fatty acids then go on to block an enzyme called soluble epoxide hydrolase. Blocking this enzyme then inhibits a series of reactions that results in dilation of blood vessels and, consequently, lower blood pressure.[1]

The classic Mediterranean diet pairing of olive oil and green leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach is particularly good at producing the enzyme-blocking fatty acids, the researchers found.

Study Details

The authors, who published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, note that previous studies have already suggested that blocking soluble epoxide hydrolase lowers blood pressure. For their study, the researchers compared normal mice to mice engineered with a version of the enzyme that could not bind with nitro fatty acids. After inducing high blood pressure in the two groups of mice, the researchers then fed them a Mediterranean diet, which generated nitro fatty acid. Blood pressure went down in the normal mice but not in the genetically modified mice in which the nitro fatty acids could not bind to the soluble hydroxide hydrolase enzyme, showing that this is the mechanism by which the Mediterranean diet lowers blood pressure

"The findings of our study help to explain why previous research has shown that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular problems like stroke, heart failure and heart attacks," said Philip Eaton, one of the study authors and professor of Cardiovascular Biochemistry at King's College London.[2]

Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Vegetables High in Nitrates

Have you considered switching to a Mediterranean diet to help treat your hypertension? There are numerous books and online resources outlining various versions of Mediterranean diets and providing menu plans, recipes, nutritional information, and more. While none of them provide lists of fruits and vegetables high in nitrates, it’s important to make sure you include them in your diet plan if your goal is to lower blood pressure. The following table shows how different vegetables compare according to their nitrate content.[3]

Nitrate content (mg/100 g fresh weight)

Vegetables

Very low, <20

Artichoke, asparagus, eggplant, garlic, onion, green bean, mushroom, pea, pepper, potato, summer squash, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon

Low, 20 to <50

Broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, pumpkin

Middle, 50 to <100

Cabbage, dill, turnip, savoy cabbage

High, 100 to <250

Celeriac, Chinese cabbage, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, leek, parsley

Very high, >250

Celery, lettuce, rocket (arugula), spinach, red beetroot, watercress, chervil

Additional Foods to Eat to Lower Blood Pressure

Combine vegetables from the higher nitrate categories with olive oil, nuts, avocados, and fish to form your own favorite blood pressure-lowering combos. Make a salad with beets, celery, avocado, and olive oil-based dressing and voila! And don’t forget about additional specific foods to eat to lower blood pressure: pomegranate juice, berries, dark chocolate, hibiscus tea, and more. There’s no doubt about it, food is medicine. Use it to start treating your high blood pressure today.

References:

  1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 May 19.
  2. King’s College London. News Release. 2014 May 20.
  3. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):1-10.


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Barry
6/27/2016 8:18:33 AM
Hi Folks as I answer question on a couple of web sites and got myself out of ED by using a mix of cayenne pepper, turmeric, and garlic, so below is how I did it, and this is a post I put out a few times a week. Your see its good for lots of ailments starting with blood and plaque. The way out and clearing away plaque would be to get on Cayenne Pepper, Turmeric and garlic, take this each morning and see how you go. Its all very healthy for you. You just mix CP and Turmeric 50/50 in olive oil and then mix with tomato paste and thin it with olive oil, at first you just mix this to a heat that suits you, and over time you can slowly increase the CP and Turmeric. You take 3 teaspoonfuls each morning first thing, you wash each spoonful down with water, before anything else just after you get up, one thing it will warm you up, with this, which will also help would be very fine chopped garlic, just do a whole head, chopped fine, and keep in olive oil, with this you add dried parsley, a couple of good desert spoonful’s and mix, you just add a teaspoonful on top of the CP an turmeric mix, just mix into the top take as said. The Parsley its very good for the blood and helps keep your Cholesterol down. Please do keep both jars in the fridge, keeps a lot better that way. Now if you google and read up about all three, there very good for ED, your cholesterol, heart and its arteries, prostate and RA, garlic is also very good for your blood, so along with the CP and turmeric, your be doing your body the world of good. At first you really need to be taken this 3 times a day the other 2 times just before meals, for 2 weeks, then just twice a day for 2 weeks then just the once at first thing in the mornings, great way to start the day. And yes have had ED now in recovery and do take what is above daily along with other supplements and a hormone. So do hope this helps you. Good Luck PS This really needs a 12 week trail, to see if its going to work for you, if its for RA do increase it up, the stronger it is the better it works for you. Don’t forget to up the amount of CP and turmeric as you go on. One last piece of info, some CP I got out here in Greece was not very hot, so changed shops and using a 50/50 mix of CP and chilli powder this I put a heaped teaspoon on top each day along with a heaped teaspoon of turmeric, now from a site I’m on they say to help turmeric get absorbed to take a ¼ teaspoon of black pepper with it, and because if these extra amounts its now 4 teaspoon's each morning, what a great way to light a fire in your stomach to get the day started.







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