1. Green Tea Extract (Leaf)
My favorite from this list of five is green tea as it is the easiest to find, not costly, and also easy to enjoy every day.
Green tea has played a central role in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures for 4,000 years. Although a number of varieties of this tea have been created, it has only recently become popular in Western cultures. This much-studied extract, produced from Camellia sinensis leaves in China, is used as a source of antioxidants for the preservation of good health. Now, researchers find it can trim blood pressure levels, and do it so well that it might even be able to tame hypertension in borderline cases.
Researchers in Poland gave 56 obese patients with hypertension either 379 mg a day of green tea extract or a placebo. Three months later, the ones who got the extract shaved nearly 5 points each off both their systolic (“top number”) and diastolic (“bottom number”) readings.
Those on a placebo, on the other hand, saw drops of just 0.8 and 0.6 mmHg, respectively, or almost nothing at all.
In addition, the green tea drinkers had lower levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, improvements in LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, and even better blood sugar control.
Green tea is also used as an aid to promote weight management.
But if you’re obese and battling high blood pressure, your first step shouldn’t be to reach for a cup of green tea or a green tea extract — it should be to lose the weight.
In many cases, weight loss alone will bring your BP levels down to where they should be, however, green tea can help there, too. Studies have shown that green tea can help boost the body’s ability to burn off energy, which in turn could lead to weight loss.
Just don’t expect to sip some tea or take green tea extract and watch the pounds slip off by magic. You’ll need to improve your eating habits, too — and for that, I and many other nutritionists recommend the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet can also help normalize blood pressure if it’s high or prevent high blood pressure in people who don’t have it yet. It’s also great for weight loss, and can help prevent any number of diseases.
Green tea isn’t from the Mediterranean, but feel free to drink some just the same, iced or hot. I mix my own brew of some black tea with my green. Try green Earl Grey for example and black Earl Gray – just use one one tea bag each in a two cup pot!
Related: 9 Reasons to Drink Green Tea Daily