Mainstream approaches to lower blood pressure readings have been all wrong, all along
The only drugs for blood pressure I’ve ever used (or recommended) are the old generic standbys. But I keep reading about how these generic drugs are now contaminated with carcinogens—and carry a whole host of potential side effects ranging from dizziness to diarrhea.
That’s why I can no longer recommend any drugs for hypertension (high blood pressure), unless your blood pressure reaches life-threatening levels. (Which makes controlling your blood pressure even more important.)
Of course, I recommend controlling it naturally. And, as usual, that begins and ends with your diet.
Indeed, there are reams of research showing that simple diet (and lifestyle) modifications can result in meaningful reductions in your blood pressure—without drugs.
And now, a pair of new studies found that eating certain vegetables (including one you’ll never guess!) can significantly lower your blood pressure—and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Nitrate-rich vegetables can affect your blood pressure at the cellular level
Foods that are high in naturally occurring nitrates, including leafy green vegetables (like kale and spinach) and beets, are already well known to lower the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
And now, new research from Denmark suggests they also act to lower blood pressure and substantially reduce the risk of heart disease.1
The study tracked 53,150 men and women, with a median age of 56, for 23 years. None of the participants had cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study, but by the end, 14,088 did.
The researchers measured how many nitrate-rich vegetables the participants ate. Along with leafy green vegetables and beets, the researchers noted that other nitrate-rich foods include potatoes, celery, and carrots. (Dietary nitrates have been shown in other studies to help the body produce nitric oxide, which appears to influence the cells that support the healthy function of blood vessels—including proper blood flow and blood pressure.)
The study showed that the participants who consumed the most dietary nitrates had about a 3 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a 12 to 26 percent lower risk of heart disease, compared with those who consumed the least nitrates.
Interestingly, the researchers noted that the reduction in blood pressure accounted for just about 22 percent of the total association between vegetable intake and incidences of cardiovascular disease.
Meaning that these vegetables hold many additional benefits. In fact, just as there are more than just nitrates in these foods, there’s more involved in the vegetable-blood pressure-heart health connections, too.
Of course, I always find it shortsighted to try to explain all of the effects of diet and nutrition by focusing on any one “magic bullet” ingredient, like nitrate. So, this finding makes perfect sense to me.
Another key finding from the study is that eating just one cup per day of raw nitrate-rich vegetables, or half a cup of cooked vegetables, conferred optimal benefits. And that eating more didn’t give the study participants any further blood pressure or cardiovascular advantages.
This illustrates what I note on page 6—that science shows it’s only necessary to eat moderate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables (three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits each day) for optimal health—including cardiovascular health.
The researchers also found that antibacterial mouthwashes and heartburn drugs like proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) can actually hinder the conversion of nitrates in vegetables to nitric oxide in the body. Which is yet another reason to avoid these products.
Potatoes’ one-two punch against high blood pressure
Potatoes are listed as a nitrate-rich vegetable in the Danish study. But this much-maligned vegetable also has blood pressure benefits beyond nitrates, as illustrated in another new study.
In fact, potatoes are an important source of potassium in the diet. And one medium-sized potato provides about 10 percent of our required daily potassium intake.
Potassium is key for a variety of body functions, including regulating fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. Research shows it also helps protect against strokes, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. And it may help lower blood pressure.2
That’s why I was intrigued, but not surprised, when I read that some researchers at Purdue University recently found that eating potatoes can actually help control blood pressure better than taking potassium supplements.2
The researchers gathered 30 men and women with hypertension or pre-hypertension. Then, they split the participants into four groups.
For 16 days, one group consumed a “typical” American diet that included 2,300 mg of potassium per day (which scientists consider to be too low in potassium). Another group ate the “typical” diet plus 1,000 mg of potassium a day from baked, boiled, or pan-heated potatoes, with no additional fat. The third group ate the “typical” diet plus 1,000 mg of potassium a day from a 330-calorie serving of baked French fries. And the final group ate the “typical” diet along with a 1,000 mg potassium supplement daily.
Results showed that the group that ate the baked, boiled, or pan-heated potatoes had the lowest systolic blood pressure levels. In fact, this group had lower blood pressure levels than the supplement group!
Also, eating French fries was not detrimental—the study showed that the French fry group didn’t have increased blood pressure. (Just remember, these were baked French fries, not deep-fried.)
The takeaway from these new studies is this: Potatoes are an important part of a heart-healthy diet, and focusing on sodium reduction for blood pressure control has been all wrong, all along.
Instead, getting enough healthy nutrients from the diet, like potassium and nitrate, appears to be the key—and helps explain the many health benefits of vegetables. Of course, vegetables also contain hundreds of additional vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are good for your overall health, too.
So, if you want to naturally lower your blood pressure—and coincidentally reap many other health benefits—follow a healthy, balanced diet full of fresh produce and hearty potatoes (prepared properly).
For additional, natural pathways to a healthy heart (and lower blood pressure), check out my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more about this innovative, online learning tool—or to enroll today—click here or call 1- 866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3X900.
1“Vegetable nitrate intake, blood pressure and incident cardiovascular disease: Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study.” Eur J Epidemiol (2021).
2“Short-Term RCT of Increased Dietary Potassium from Potato or Potassium Gluconate: Effect on Blood Pressure, Microcirculation, and Potassium and Sodium Retention in Pre-Hypertensive-to-Hypertensive Adults.” Nutrients. 2021 May 11;13(5):1610.