Wouldn’t it be great to be able to manage your health risks through your choice of what to eat or drink? It turns out this is not a pipe dream. Elevated blood pressure responds very well to a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and low in red meat and sweet treats. This DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been extensively studied, and more than 400 publications about its effectiveness have been published in medical journals. It is recognized as reducing the risk of coronary artery disease (American Family Physician, June 1, 2016). In addition to the DASH dietary program, a delicious tea made from hibiscus flowers can also help with blood pressure control.
Hibiscus Flowers for Red Tea:
Q. One of my Mexican friends told me about hibiscus tea. They call it “jamaica,” and I get it loose at a Mexican market. It only costs about $4 a pound, and it doesn’t take much to make a cup of tea. It really brought down my blood pressure, and I love the taste.
A. Tea made from the dried flowers of the plant Hibiscus sabdariffa, known as “jamaica” in Mexico, has been reported to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and dangerous oxidation of LDL (Endocrinologia y Nutricion, online Jan. 17, 2014).
A few very preliminary studies have suggested that Hibiscus sabdariffa extracts may be beneficial in fighting obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Materia Socio-Medica, 2013; Food & Function, online Feb. 19, 2014). It is probably too much to expect that drinking hibiscus tea could be slimming, but it certainly seems like a healthful choice and a bright, tangy somewhat tart beverage. It is not difficult to find hibiscus tea; Celestial Seasonings offers several blends with hibiscus under the “Zinger” name.
If you are interested in other non-drug approaches to controlling hypertension, you may wish to review our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment. In addition, if you would like more information on how to follow a DASH diet, you will find it in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.