High Blood Pressure – Foods & Supplements

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A 2008 Canadian study on 50 patients assessed the effect of certain foods on hypertension. The study lasted a year and participants were prescribed diets high in plant sterols (1.0 g/1000 kcal), soy protein (22.5 g/1000 kcal), viscous fibers (10 g/1000 kcal) and almonds (22.5 g/1000 kcal). Results showed that blood pressure reductions occurred within the first 2 weeks, with stable blood pressures 6 weeks before and 4 weeks after starting the diet. They concluded that a diet of plant-based cholesterol-lowering foods reduced blood pressure significantly, related to almond intake.


There are numerous studies the world over on the effects of Cacao on blood pressure heart rate and metabolic syndrome. One of the most significant studies is a huge US study in 2011 which included 14,310 adults. Each person reported their weekly intake of dark chocolate and this was classified into mild (1-2 bars/week), moderate (3-4 bars/week), and high intake ( > 4 bars/week) and their blood pressure was assessed. Results showed that all measured blood pressure values were significantly decreased for participants who reported higher dark chocolate consumption. (N.B. the chocolate did not affect heart rate). An important point – the chocolate has to be high in Cacao content and low in sugar!

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

A group in Australia reviewed all of the published studies to date (2007) on the overall efficacy and consistency of therapeutic action and side effect incidence of Co Q10 for the treatment of hypertension. The group concludes that coenzyme Q10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side effects.


There are numerous studies showing the beneficial effects of garlic in reducing blood pressure, however a recent Cochrane study stated that results of many studies were inconclusive. The most recent study that Patient QI found was May 2013. In this Japanese study the effect of a traditional Japanese garlic homogenate-based supplementary (GH) diet on blood pressure in people with prehypertension and mild hypertension was tested. Results showed that the GH diet induced significant reductions of systolic and diastolic compared with the placebo group after 8 and 12 weeks in people with mild hypertension.


A July 2013 study evaluated the antihypertensive potential of 30 recipes and 10 different traditional Thai-Lanna medicinal plants. Mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate were measured after ingestion. Most recipes that showed antihypertensive activity contained plants in the ginger and pepper families. Of the ten plants that were selected for study, cassumunar ginger extract exhibited the maximum decrease of mean arterial blood pressure.

Green Tea

Patient QI found the best patient trial was a Japanese study carried out in 2012. The study is interesting because the effect of green tea on blood pressure was assessed along with a genetic component that is associated with modifying the effects of alcohol and coffee consumption on the risk of hypertension. Results showed that the association between the genetic component and hypertension was dependent on green tea consumption. In the over 50s, hypertension was significantly lower in those who consumed more than 6 cups of green tea per day than in those who consumed 1 cup per day.


In 2010 a placebo controlled clinical trial treated patients with prunes. Patients drank prune juice and ate the whole fruit (dried plums) while either 3 (about 11.5 gm) or 6 prunes were soaked overnight in a glass of water. The control group took only a glass of plain water. There was significant reduction of blood pressure by single dose of prunes daily. The control group had significantly increased serum HDL whereas test groups had significantly reduced serum cholesterol.

 In  2014 a  meta analysis of  studies investigating the use of Arginine supplements for high blood pressure during pregnancy was published. The review looked at results of studies where supplements were given to women who were at risk of  pre-eclampsia and eclampsia during pregnancy.  The research team concluded that arginine supplements did help women with high blood pressure  to carry their babies for longer than women who had taken placebo.

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