The People's Perspective on Medicine

How Can You Eat to Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Following a DASH diet rich in vegetables and whole grains, with minimal processed foods, can help lower your blood pressure.

Blood pressure is a key factor in good health, because it helps determine whether you will be susceptible to a heart attack or a stroke. There are a number of elements that can influence blood pressure, ranging from genetics to emotions such as fear. Diet can also play a role in affecting blood pressure. How can you eat to lower your blood pressure?

Eating to Lower Your Blood Pressure:

Q. I previously had untreatable high blood pressure. I tried many different meds (about ten). None helped and several had severe side effects.

Ten years ago I changed to a whole-food plant-based (vegan) diet and lowered my salt intake. My blood pressure now averages 120/75. My formerly high cholesterol is now also under control. At the last reading, my total cholesterol was 155 with HDL of 80.

The Impact of Diet and Exercise:

A. Diet (and exercise) can have a profound impact on both blood pressure and blood lipids for some people. For example, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular disease and improve inflammatory markers (Soltani, Chitsazi & Salehi-Abargouei, Clinical Nutrition, March 2, 2017).  We are learning that inflammation plays an important role in heart disease, as well as in diabetes and other chronic conditions.

People who would like to learn more about the particulars of the DASH and Mediterranean diets along with other ways to eat for good health will find recipes and guidelines in our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies. You have discovered what Hippocrates, the father of medicine, taught: “Let food be your medicine.”

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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My blood pressure was low when I was anemic…when I started taking B12 and folic acid it is now normal.

I would love to suggest an article on the reverse: Dietary strategies for raising one’s blood pressure. Mine is chronically low (80 / 50), which sounds better than the reality: Dozing off in meetings, fear I’ll fall asleep while driving, stumbling because of lightheadedness. I do not want to go on medication. I consume many times the RDA, and still struggle. Help!

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