It’s no secret that heart disease is a major issue for millions across the U.S. In case you’re unfamiliar with what the medical condition really means, high blood pressure occurs when the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is too high for too long. This can lead to heart disease and stroke — two of the biggest killers in the country.
You know diet and exercise can impact your blood pressure for better or for worse. But it’s not just solid foods you should be considering. Here are drinks that can help keep you healthy.
Milk | Dash_med/iStock/Getty Images
Love dairy? Here’s some good news. The American Heart Association notes studies have shown that eating dairy daily might significantly reduce your odds of developing high blood pressure. Yogurt was the most effective dairy food for high blood pressure prevention, but there’s evidence to suggest low-fat milk is a great alternative option. And it seems the effects were particularly beneficial for women.
The juice of this superfood may be worth investing in. University Health News Daily reports clinical trials have shown drinking just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice a day can improve blood pressure. It also reportedly may have positive effects on cholesterol and arterial plaque build-up thanks to its powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Everyday Health notes high blood pressure can lead to a stiffer, thicker heart, and this can eventually lead to heart failure. And studies have shown that those with a stiffer heart typically have less nitric oxide in their body, which is a chemical that helps your blood vessels relax. Beetroot juice is rich in nitrates, which release nitric oxide when consumed. As you could guess, this is good news for your heart — and those who incorporate beetroot juice regularly into their diets have the best chance of seeing benefits.
Young woman enjoying a glass of iced tea | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus
If you’re going to pick any tea to drink, make it hibiscus. WebMD notes a 2008 study found drinking three cups of herbal tea containing hibiscus per day was enough to lower blood pressure. There were only 65 participants in the study, and the test lasted six weeks. Researchers found that those with the highest blood pressures at the beginning of the study were the ones who benefited the most by the end.
This fruit is more than just delicious — it’s also incredibly good for you. Not only is watermelon hydrating (it’s in the name, after all) but ScienceDaily says studies are finding that the juice of the melon may be able to significantly help reduce the blood pressure in overweight people.
Drinks to avoid
Barista making latte art | Thongsuk Atiwannakul/iStock/Getty Images
Alcohol: Sorry, but you’ll want to cut your happy hour habit short if you have high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic notes drinking too much can significantly raise your blood pressure over time. If you drink more than three beverages in one sitting, you’ll temporarily cause your pressure to rise — but if you make a habit of it, more long-term effects are likely.
Coffee: If you love coffee, you’ll want to make it decaf to protect your blood pressure from rising. Caffeine can cause a dramatic spike in blood pressure right after you consume it, the Mayo Clinic says. And while this isn’t a concern for those who don’t deal with blood pressure issues, those who do should be wary.
Weight gain is a risk factor for high blood pressure, and if you’re consuming too much sugar, weight gain is likely, Blood Pressure UK reports. For this reason, stay away from sweet drinks, like coffee shop beverages and soda, to keep your blood pressure and weight at a healthy level.
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