More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure. The condition can lead to heart and strokes if left untreated, but luckily it can be improved by making certain lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes include getting more exercise, quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol and improving your diet. Limiting intake of foods high in salt and saturated fat is key to dietary improvements, but drinking hibiscus tea has also been linked to lowering blood pressure.
Hibiscus tea is a herbal tea made with parts of the hibiscus plant. It has a tart flavour similar to cranberries.
According to medical website Healthline, several studies have found hibiscus tea may lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
The systolic pressure is represented by the top number on a blood pressure monitor, and measures the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure is represented by the bottom number on a blood pressure monitor, and measures the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
In one study, 65 people with high blood pressure were given hibiscus tea or a placebo.
After six weeks, those who drank hibiscus tea had a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, compared to those on the placebo.
Similarly, a 2015 review of five studies found hibiscus tea decreased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 7.58 mmHg and 3.53 mmHg, respectively.
“One of the most impressive and well-known benefits of hibiscus tea is that it may lower blood pressure,” said Healthline.
The medical website warns, however, that hibiscus tea is not recommended for people taking hydrochlorothiazide, as it may interact with the drug.
Hydrochlorothiazide is a type of diuretic used to treat high blood pressure.
Although medication is available for the treatment of high blood pressure, in many cases the condition can lowered naturally through lifestyle changes.
According to experts, cutting down on salt is often enough on its own to reduce blood pressure.
Medication is usually prescribed to patients whose blood pressure is very high and who are unable to lower it via lifestyle changes.
Other studies into hibiscus tea have suggested it may aid with weight loss and protect against obesity, according to Healthline.
This is also important for people with high blood pressure as being overweight increases the risk of complications.
People who are overweight are also more likely to develop high blood pressure in the first place than those of a healthy weight.
High blood pressure: Four ways to lower blood pressure
High blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs. It increases the risk of some life-threatening heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
Hypertension can often be prevented, and blood pressure reduced, by making some diet or lifestyle changes.
Cutting back on the amount of salt in your diet is a great way to lower blood pressure.
Salt raises blood pressure, and the more you eat, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
Aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day – the equivalent to about a teaspoonful.
Blood pressure could be raised if you regularly drink too much alcohol.
Those most likely to have hypertension are people that regularly exceed the week recommended limits.
All adults are advised to drink less than 14 units of alcohol in a single week.
If you’re overweight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which raises blood pressure.
Losing just a few pounds could make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Staying active is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure.
It helps you to lose weight, while also keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
All adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.