Maintaining normal levels of blood pressure is a vital way to keep yourself healthy. Your blood pressure levels measure just how much force your blood is putting on the walls of your arteries throughout the day, so having too much of this pressure can become a problem.
When you have high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension, you increase your risk of severe health concerns like heart disease and stroke. This is why it is important to monitor your levels and do what you can to maintain normal numbers.
One of the ways you can do this is through your diet, and a great place to start is by looking at one of the most important meals of the day: breakfast!
We talked with Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starring YOU and author of The Everything Easy Prediabetes Cookbook about different breakfast foods and drinks that can help us lower our blood pressure, and the answer is a bit surprising!
"A breakfast drink that can lower your blood pressure is a delicious cup of hibiscus tea," says Pincus, "and if you want more added health benefits, you can sweeten your hibiscus tea with some pomegranate juice!"
"Hibiscus tea can be a soothing start to your morning with the added bonus of reduced blood pressure," says Pincus.
This is because studies continue to find that regular consumption of hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure levels in those who are pre-hypertensive or have stage 1 hypertension.
"One study showed that subjects drinking 3 cups of hibiscus tea per day experienced similar drops in levels to some standard medications," says Pincus.
This study, which can be found in the Tufts University Health&Nutrition Letter, monitored the blood pressure levels of adults with either pre-hypertension or mild hypertension, all between the ages of 30 and 70 years old.
The participants who drank three cups of hibiscus tea a day for six weeks saw an average of a 7.2 point drop in their blood pressure. This number is similar to what they believe they'd see if the participants had been given medication instead.
The leading researcher on this team mentioned that although some may consider 7 points a relatively small decrease, it's more than enough to make a long-term impact, especially because something as small as a 3 point drop in blood pressure can reduce a patient's risk of mortality.
More recent research, like a 2019 study published in The Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology&Research, found that drinking hibiscus tea twice a day can lower levels in those with stage 1 hypertension.
Adding pomegranate juice
According to a study from Atherosclerosis Journal, patients with hypertension were able to lower their blood pressure by up to 5% with daily consumption of pomegranate juice.
"Pomegranate juice contains antioxidants called polyphenols, and whole pomegranates contain more than one type," says Pincus. "The deep red pomegranate arils have anthocyanins, while the rind and white pith surrounding the arils have ellagitannins."
These antioxidants make pomegranates a great source of nutritional value, especially when it comes to lowering our blood pressure.
So whether you have high blood pressure and would like to lower it, or if you'd like to take some preventative measures, start tomorrow off with a cup of hibiscus tea and take one step closer to a healthier life!
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