Go green if you have high blood pressure

Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD

Healthy blood pressure acts as a silent guardian of our heart health. But high blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when blood flow pushes against vessels too forcefully. Picture blood pressure like the pressure of water flowing through a hose. Too much pressure can damage the hose, just as high blood pressure can harm our blood vessels and organs. 

Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Tea Every Day

To bring down blood pressure, what you eat and drink matters. Following certain diets, like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, is often recommended. This eating plan emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, while limiting salt, red meat, sweets and foods containing high levels of saturated fat. 

When it comes to drink choices to support blood pressure, tea is a stellar sip. But science appears to suggest that one type of tea rises above the rest when it comes to managing high blood pressure. 

The #1 Best Tea for Lowering High Blood Pressure

Tea is one of the most popular beverages consumed in the world—second to plain old water. True teas, which include teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant, include black, green, white and oolong. These true teas are distinct from herbal teas, which come from an assortment of other herbs, spices and plants. True teas are a natural source of plant compounds and antioxidants that support many aspects of our health, including our hearts.

Among the four varieties of true teas, green tea appears to have the most clinical data suggesting that sipping it regularly is linked to improved blood pressure, making it the No. 1 best tea choice for hypertension. A meta-analysis evaluating the effects of green tea (via a drink or supplement) on high blood pressure found that green tea was effective in lowering blood pressure levels. Specifically, people benefitted from 3 mmHg and 1 mmHg reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively.

An earlier meta-analysis showed similar results. After analyzing 13 trials, the results showed that green tea consumption significantly decreased systolic blood pressure by 2 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure also by 2 mmHg. Green tea contains catechins, a type of antioxidant that can improve blood vessel function and enhance heart health. They may do this by preventing the narrowing of arteries, improving nitric oxide production (which widens blood vessels) and reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, the researchers point out.

Additionally, the moderate amount of caffeine found in tea can stimulate a short-term increase in blood flow, potentially contributing to better overall cardiovascular health.

How to Include Green Tea in Your Diet to Support Hypertension

Green tea can be enjoyed simply by steeping green tea leaves in hot water for three to five minutes. (Remove the tea leaves or bag before sipping.) It also tastes great iced. However, there isn’t a specific recommendation for how much tea to drink to support healthy blood pressure. What is clear is that including green tea in your rotation, along with water, can be a good move.

If you need a little sweetness in the mix, you can add some sugar, such as a touch of honey. Just be mindful of how much you add, as consuming too much added sugar is linked to elevated blood pressure in certain folks.

Besides a classic cup of tea, try an Apple-Cider Vinegar Tonic or a Matcha Green Tea Latte. At breakfast time, whip up a Green Tea-Fruit Smoothie

Bottom Line

When it comes to what you drink, green tea appears to be one of the best blood-pressure-friendly choices out there. Green tea contains compounds that have important roles in relaxing smooth muscle contraction, enhancing blood vessel dilation, reducing vascular inflammation and combating oxidative stress, all of which are important to manage hypertension.

Read the original article on Eating Well.

2024-04-11T11:11:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd