If you have hypertension, your doctor has probably prescribed medicine to lower high blood pressure. You may have gone through quite an extensive period of trial and error to find a drug that works without causing unacceptable side effects. As a result, you might be wondering whether there are foods that could help lower high blood pressure. The good news: the answer is yes.
Difficulty Trying to Lower High Blood Pressure:
Q. I have been dealing with high blood pressure for years. When I am under stress, my blood pressure goes up to around 150.
My doctor has prescribed lots of different drugs with mixed results. Atenolol caused fatigue and depression. Amlodipine made me dizzy to the point I couldn’t function. Lisinopril caused a horrible cough. Now I am on Diovan with no problems, but I read recently that drugs like this are linked to cancer.
I am ready to try a more natural approach. I heard that beets can lower blood pressure. How effective are they and what else might help?
Concerns About Blood Pressure Pills:
A. An article in Lancet Oncology (July, 2010) has raised questions about the safety of drugs like Atacand, Diovan and Micardis. The investigators analyzed many scientific studies and concluded that such drugs “are associated with a modestly increased risk of new cancer occurrence.” Drug regulators and clinicians don’t know what to make of this information.
That confusion has intensified since the research was published. More recent studies show that patients taking such drugs are actually less likely to die early of pancreatic cancer (Cerullo et al, World Journal of Surgery, online April 20, 2017). A similar drug, losartan, appears to protect mice from breast cancer (Coulson et al, Oncotarget, March 21, 2017). Drugs in this category of angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBS) also seem to provide some protection against prostate cancer (Woo & Jung, Oncology Letters, May 2017). As a result, doctors don’t want to blame these medicines for causing cancer.
Beet Root Juice to Lower High Blood Pressure:
An article published in the journal Hypertension (Sep. 2010) suggests that about 8.5 ounces of beet juice can significantly lower systolic blood pressure. Since then, there have been numerous other studies of how beet root juice affects blood pressure. One placebo-controlled trial confirmed that this juice can lower blood pressure even in healthy adults (Coles & Clifton, Nutrition Journal, Dec. 11, 2012). Another study showed that older overweight people drinking beet root juice had lower systolic blood pressure in their daily measurements (Jajja et al, Nutrition Research, Oct. 2014). A daily cup of beet root juice lowered blood pressure and kept it down for a month in a placebo-controlled trial including volunteers with untreated hypertension (Kapil et al, Hypertension, Feb. 2015).
Of course, beet juice shouldn’t be used as a substitute for blood pressure medication. One study shows that people who keep their blood pressure under control with medication may not get additional help from drinking beet root juice (Kerley et al, Irish Journal of Medical Science, online Jan. 3, 2017). Exercise may also lower high blood pressure enough to mask the benefit of beet root juice (Shaltout et al, Nitric Oxide, online May 23, 2017).
Still, drinking beet root juice, exercising, practicing slow breathing and other non-drug alternatives should help your effort to lower high blood pressure. We are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment with more information about beet and pomegranate juice plus other non-drug approaches to controlling hypertension.
Have you tried using beet juice to lower your blood pressure? Have you tried other ways to lower high blood pressure? We’d love to hear your stories. Share them in the comment section below.